Chapter

The concept of the ESM and supranational legitimacy-building<sup>1</sup>

Maria Jepsen and Amparo Serrano Pascual

in Unwrapping the European social model

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9781861347985
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447304135 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781861347985.003.0002
The concept of the ESM and supranational legitimacy-building1

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This chapter aims to discuss the concept of the European social model (ESM) as it is understood in the academic literature and as it occurs in the discourse of the European Union (EU) institutions. The concept is analysed and deconstructed in order to identify the main understandings and various dimensions of the model in question. The second section summarises, classifies and discusses the ways in which the ESM is most frequently construed and proposes a new approach to its understanding. The third section examines the concept of the ESM as a political project and argues that it is a key factor in legitimising the European institutions. The conclusion reached is that the polysemy surrounding the concept might be explained by its rhetorical use by supranational institutions as a means of gaining and negotiating political legitimacy, while it is also the result of the complex status of the European arena.

Keywords: Europe; social model; polysemy; rhetoric; politics; European Union; sociology

Chapter.  8055 words. 

Subjects: Comparative and Historical Sociology

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