Europeanization: Do We Still Miss the Big Picture?

The Centre d’Etude de la Vie Politique (CEVIPOL) of the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences and the Institute for European Studies (IEE) of the UniversitĂ© libre de Bruxelles are organizing an international conference “Europeanization : Do we still miss the big picture?” on March 29 and 30, 2012 in Brussels.

Description of the Conference
The concept of Europeanization can be considered as a tremendous success in the field European Studies of the last 20 years. Already early on the number of approaches to analyze how and “when Europe hits home” has multiplied. While this variety certainly is a strength, it runs a methodological risk: no common definition of Europeanization has been found and more precisely the danger of conceptual stretching occurs. Meanwhile, the first generations of definitions have been abandoned due to their conceptual proximity to concepts European integration, but more comprehensive definitions imply again the complexity of processes of Europeanization and mutual impacts of Europeanization and European Integration.

This development points at a complex facet of europeanization research: do we want to limit ourselves to use Europeanization as the explanans for change? Is it not also necessary to explain Europeanization itself, i.e. treating it as the explanandum? Instead of assuming that we find a linear process in either direction, shouldn’t we take into account that processes of construction, diffusion and institutionalization do not necessarily follow a stringent or coherent pattern? Furthermore it is questionable that these processes will have the same impact on the ‘classical’ 3 P’s of Political science: policies, politics and polities.

We still seem not to know a lot about the black box of the national and subnational level, i.e. how actors deal with the EU’s direct and indirect impact every day and the relationship of Europeanization and European Integration.

Do we still miss the big picture of Europeanization? Is such a picture desirable? Or does it become much more of a mosaic given its plethora of analytical approaches? Hence a discussion on research methods and case selection is needed as the emphasis on complexity runs the risk of losing the analytical capacity to determine causality in Europeanization.

This conference will try to develop answers to these questions by dealing with the above mentioned complex processes of Europeanization:
o Do we still miss the “big picture” of Europeanization?
o How can we improve theory in Europeanization studies?
o What methodology for opening the black box?
o How do complex processes of Europeanization relate to European integration?

The conference structure will follow this threefold focus of attention with three panels:
(a) Improving theory
(b) Europeanization and European Integration
(c) Case Studies on Europeanization.

Abstracts (max. 300 words) should be submitted, along with contact information (name, institutional affiliation, department, e-mail address), to Thomas Kostera ( by November 15, 2011. Submissions must be in an electronic form as PDF format or as a Microsoft Word document. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by December 10, 2011. For more information, please contact or 

The full paper (max. 8000 words) must be submitted by March 1st, 2012.

A publication of the conference papers is planned.