10th Jyväskylä Symposium on Political Thought and Conceptual Change

10th Jyväskylä Symposium on Political Thought and Conceptual Change

11-12 June 2015, Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä

Organised by the FiDiPro project Transformations of Concepts and Institutions in the European Polity (TRACE)

Theorising the European polity: Conceptual and institutional transformations

The aim of this year’s Jyväskylä Symposium on Political Thought and Conceptual Change is to contribute to developing a political theory of the EU – political theory with an emphasis on the political and an approach to the European integration as a process creating new spaces for political action and new interpretations of political struggles and debates.

The key argument of the symposium is that both the EU and the processes of European integration bring about politicization in several new respects and dimensions, as they question established conceptions of political identities, institutions and practices. The political processes of polity formation around the EU, and an increasing fusion of what formerly was named ”internal and external political structures”, not only transform those established conceptions – the EU also is to be seen as a major agent of politicisation.

But, so far, these political aspects of European integration have been weakly theorised. Besides the debates around the ”normative turn” in EU studies, the attempt to apply deliberative democratic theory to international organisations, or the study of Europeanisation, theoretical approaches to European integration such as Federalism, neo-functionalism, constructivism, or intergovernmentalism do not address integration as a new space for political action.

Our argument, then, is that a political-theoretical approach to the EU should, first, make sense of the growing complexity and the development of novel structures and opportunities for political action that the European integration entails: political theorising should recognise the European polity as an eminently political phenomenon. Second, we argue that a political-theoretical approach to the EU must take into account the conceptual, historical and institutional transformations brought about by European integration. Third, while theorising the European polity has been underdeveloped, so has the linkage between political philosophy and political theory. The symposium aims to fill these gaps in current scholarship, and invites scholars working on European studies, political theory, history of political thought, political rhetoric and other disciplines to participate in this endeavour.