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The mythical EUropean: Elucidating the EU's Powerful Integration Instrument of Discursive Identity Construction

Anne Bostanci

Drawing on Thomas Kuhn's (1962) seminal analysis, this paper illustrates that European integration theory fulfils the characteristics of a scientific paradigm and is no less arbitrary than it is hegemonic. This is not a criticism in itself, as scientific paradigms are a necessary prerequisite for postulating and testing cause-effect relationships. However, simultaneous to opening up opportunities for study in some areas, closure occurs regarding others. Because mainstream European integration theories are unified by certain ontological and epistemological assumptions, certain methodological approaches, such as those resulting from a social and discursive constructionist understanding, and foci of study, e.g. the contradictions and power relations that European integration gives rise to, remain underexplored. The value of identifying mainstream European integration theory as a paradigm is to enable researchers to overcome said limitations of mainstream integration theory.

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