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Getting Socialized to Build Bridges: Constructivism and Rationalism, Europe and the Nation-State

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 October 2005

Michael Zürn
Hertie School of Governance, Berlin, Germany, and the Science Center Berlin,
Jeffrey T. Checkel
University of Oslo, Norway, and the ARENA Centre for European Studies,
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Building on the empirical findings of the preceding articles, we advance three arguments. First, while socialization research has typically been construed as constructivism's home turf, this volume's emphasis on mechanisms and scope conditions reveals that rational choice has much to contribute here as well. We develop this claim by undertaking a “double interpretation” of each essay, which allows us to advance more fine-grained arguments connecting the two social theories. Second, while there are good conceptual reasons for expecting a predominance of international socialization in Europe, the empirical cases instead suggest that its effects are often weak and secondary to dynamics at the national level. We make sense of this puzzle by reasoning more explicitly in longitudinal terms, by drawing on work on European identity, and by noting that students of European socialization—as well as integration—have much to gain by “bringing the domestic back in.” Finally, while our collaborators have demonstrated the empirical and theoretical benefits of combining a social ontology with a positivist epistemology, this comes at a cost, with normative perspectives neglected. This matters—and all the more so in a Europe marked by supranational constitution- and polity building. Socialization dynamics may well take us beyond the nation-state, but their legitimacy and governance implications bring us back—forcefully—to it.We are grateful to the project participants and contributors to this volume for valuable discussions on the themes addressed here. For detailed comments on earlier versions of this essay, we thank two anonymous reviewers, the IO editors, Peter Katzenstein, and Ron Mitchell.

Research Article
© 2005 The IO Foundation and Cambridge University Press

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