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Pathways to Integration: Primary and Secondary Institutions in Europe

Killian Spandler

The English School of International Relations has repeatedly been identified as a promising approach to study regionalism in general and Europe in particular. However, despite some accounts of Europe as a regional international society, theorizing about Europe in English School terms seems to have reached an impasse. I argue that a reason for this is that the English School so far offers little to no theoretical account of how institutions of international governance - or secondary institutions, in the English School terminology - fit into the larger fabric of international society.To draw on the full potential of the English School as an enrichment of European Studies, therefore, secondary institutions have to be acknowledged as features of international society in their own right. I use a refined English School framework, which engages with radical constructivist claims about the constitutive nature of all institutions (including regimes and international organizations), to analyze continuity and change in European regional institutions since the end of WWI. The analysis draws a picture of a dynamic regional international society which is multi-layered and embedded in a complex spatiotemporal context. The added value of this reformulated English School theory for the field of European Studies is that it points to the historical evolution of its institutional configuration, and to the social structures and processes underlying these dynamics.

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