Structure or agency? Measuring the EU effect

Scott James

in Managing Europe from Home

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780719085123
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702635 | DOI:
Structure or agency? Measuring the EU effect

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Having considered the nature and effectiveness of network adaptation under Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern, this final chapter reconnects these important empirical and comparative insights with the wider conceptual debate about the impact of European Union (EU) membership at the national level. It employs the innovative strategic-projection model of Europeanisation to examine the extent to which strategic adaptation in the UK and Ireland can be attributed to wider domestic reform processes or to developments at the EU level. In other words, do the changes outlined in this study simply reflect the political decisions and distinctive leadership styles of Blair and Ahern (agency) or can they be attributed, at least in part, to the shared, longer-term impact of European integration (structure). It considers five potential independent variables: national change agents, domestic administrative opportunity structures, domestic political opportunity structures, technological change, and European integration. In order to disaggregate the potential EU effect further, the section on European integration is broken down into the four modes of Europeanisation: effective obligation, strategic adaptation, intergovernmental learning, and administrative optimisation.

Keywords: European Union; UK; Ireland; Tony Blair; Bertie Ahern; strategic adaptation; agency; structure; national change agents; European integration

Chapter.  11532 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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