Bleak Prospects? Varieties of Europessimism and their Application to the Eurozone Debt Crisis and the Future of Integration

Andrew Glencross*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article argues that pessimistic analyses of integration constitute a distinct category of critique separate from euro-scepticism or the democratic deficit literature. Drawing on an interdisciplinary analysis of law, political science, and international relations theory, three strands of europessimism are identified: realist, federalist, and social-democratic. The analysis of these varieties examines how the grounds for europessimism differ and how these can be applied to understand the causes and consequences of the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis. This application reveals how europessimism finds its vindication whilst also exposing evolution in how pessimistic each analytical tradition is. Indeed, whereas realism has never been optimistic about integration the article shows how federalism and social democracy are associated with optimistic or transformative visions of integration. Yet, the analysis concludes by showing the increasing pessimism of the social democratic tradition alongside the enduring optimism of federalism. By extension, the conceptual analysis of europessimism promises to have applications for the study of other research questions in European integration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-408
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of European Integration
Volume36
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2014

Keywords

  • debt crisis
  • Euro-scepticism
  • Europessimism
  • Eurozone
  • federalism
  • integration theory
  • realism
  • social democracy

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