The relationship between European integration and political science has always offered a very good case study of the intersection between novel developments in the ‘real world’ and the evolution of the academic study of politics. The area of political science now usually dubbed EU studies has, of course, been driven routinely by the unfolding story of the object it seeks to analyse. Put simply, without the EU there would be no EU studies. The emergence of integration theory in the 1950s and 1960s was a bold attempt to build a general comparative framework out of the inductive study of the European experience that commenced with the inauguration of the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951. Subsequent bursts of integrative activity such as the single market project of the mid 1980s and the progress towards monetary union and significant enlargement in the 1990s have provided cues for more analysts of politics to ply their trade (at least partly) in relation to the EU. The EU’s importance as a supplier of binding decisions and as perhaps the key agent for the governance of the European economy have demanded the study of the polity/governance system through which such authoritative outputs emerge. By any reckoning, the proliferation of specialist journals and the membership levels of relevant professional associations suggests a field in robust health, even if some sceptics openly question the overall quality or ‘scientific value’ of the aggregated output of EU studies
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