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Nationalism, Integration, and Discourse: The Recurrent Rejection to the Signification of an “European Constitution” in the European Union Integration Discourses

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Abstract:

The failure of France and the Netherlands to approve by referendum the Constitutional-Treaty of Leuken proposed by the Convention on the Future of Europe in 2005 surprised much of European elites and political analysts alike, who then pointed out the deficiencies of an already fragile process of political integration. In general, the French and Dutch “No” to the European Constitution is usually explained by traditional literature in terms of economic and political factors. While materialist approaches attribute the failure to approve the treaty to a broad rejection to its neoliberal economic content, institutionalist approaches argue that it was due to provisions for establishing a supra-nationality which would disrupt the Member-States’ sovereignty. Finding fault with both approaches for not taking into account the system of meanings constructed by the discourse on European integration, and the feeling those meanings evoke on people’s sense of their own nationalities, we will argue that the failure to approve the Constitutional-Treaty of Leuken is better understood by looking into the discourse on European integration. Inspired by Laclau and Mouffe literature on discourse and hegemonic ideology, we claim that the rejection of the treaty is due to the unsuccessful discursive strategy of articulating two elements - “constitution” and “treaty” – that already stood in opposition within a competing underlying discursive formation. Moreover, as we develop further our argument, we will point out that the discursive formation which led to a popular rejection to the idea of an “European Constitution” is not recent. By employing discourse analysis methods, we will show that, since the founding treaties of the EU, the discourse on European integration has always been resistant to this kind of discursive articulation.
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Association:
Name: ISA - ABRI JOINT INTERNATIONAL MEETING
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http://www.isanet.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p381590_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Guerra Cavalcanti, Flávia. "Nationalism, Integration, and Discourse: The Recurrent Rejection to the Signification of an “European Constitution” in the European Union Integration Discourses" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ISA - ABRI JOINT INTERNATIONAL MEETING, Pontifical Catholic University, Rio de Janeiro Campus (PUC-Rio), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jul 22, 2009 <Not Available>. 2014-11-29 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p381590_index.html>

APA Citation:

Guerra Cavalcanti, F. , 2009-07-22 "Nationalism, Integration, and Discourse: The Recurrent Rejection to the Signification of an “European Constitution” in the European Union Integration Discourses" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ISA - ABRI JOINT INTERNATIONAL MEETING, Pontifical Catholic University, Rio de Janeiro Campus (PUC-Rio), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil <Not Available>. 2014-11-29 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p381590_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: The failure of France and the Netherlands to approve by referendum the Constitutional-Treaty of Leuken proposed by the Convention on the Future of Europe in 2005 surprised much of European elites and political analysts alike, who then pointed out the deficiencies of an already fragile process of political integration. In general, the French and Dutch “No” to the European Constitution is usually explained by traditional literature in terms of economic and political factors. While materialist approaches attribute the failure to approve the treaty to a broad rejection to its neoliberal economic content, institutionalist approaches argue that it was due to provisions for establishing a supra-nationality which would disrupt the Member-States’ sovereignty. Finding fault with both approaches for not taking into account the system of meanings constructed by the discourse on European integration, and the feeling those meanings evoke on people’s sense of their own nationalities, we will argue that the failure to approve the Constitutional-Treaty of Leuken is better understood by looking into the discourse on European integration. Inspired by Laclau and Mouffe literature on discourse and hegemonic ideology, we claim that the rejection of the treaty is due to the unsuccessful discursive strategy of articulating two elements - “constitution” and “treaty” – that already stood in opposition within a competing underlying discursive formation. Moreover, as we develop further our argument, we will point out that the discursive formation which led to a popular rejection to the idea of an “European Constitution” is not recent. By employing discourse analysis methods, we will show that, since the founding treaties of the EU, the discourse on European integration has always been resistant to this kind of discursive articulation.


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