Neo-Functionalism and Supranational Governance

Wayne Sandholtz and Alec Stone Sweet

in The Oxford Handbook of the European Union

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199546282
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

 Neo-Functionalism and Supranational Governance

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This article focuses on neo-functionalist theory, which offers a coherent, parsimonious explanation of the evolution of the EU. Section 2.1 begins by discussing the rebirth of neo-functionalist theory following its presumed death in the 1970s. Section 2.2 clarifies the aims and essential logic of the theory – what it proposes to explain and what it does not. Section 2.3 discusses how the present authors modified neo-functionalism, in particular, in light of theories of delegation and institutionalization. Section 2.4 briefly reviews some of the empirical research that, over the years, has confirmed neo-functionalism's primary causal claims. Section 2.5 compares neo-functionalism with other theories of integration.

Keywords: neo-functionalist theory; EU; delegation; institutionalization; integration

Article.  7076 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; European Union

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