Lectionis et Seminario – De sociali et politica in Europea

European Integration – a failed political and social union?

2017 S. BA-Course at the University of Vienna, Department of Political Science.

A series of fifteen sessions delivered at the University of Vienna, Department of Political Science. The series is looking at the process of European integration – a wide topic looked at under the guiding question if EUrope failed to deliver the ambitious perspective of establishing a political and social union. The answer is by the present author given in somewhat negative terms: we cannot really say that the EU-institutions failed to reach the target of a political and social union … – it is worse: such targets never existed. So, we have to be clear in our critique. This means not least that we are challenged – and may gain sufficient insight – to develop the EU to something meaningful – meaningful not for the people but a reflection by the people – men make their own history, but it is not only the nightmare of the past, it is also a matter of the conditions of the still present hegemons who employ gatekeepers of different kind – even if the princes today wear the clothes of normal people, it is very much about behind the veils of the most expensive princely garments.

The various sessions, of which the recordings [German language] are available, present the historical development, some key issues and relevant theories in a more or less narrative way.


Dulcinea …

PS: why we all need our Dulcinea … – or: carrying on the dream.
May-day not anymore … – back to everyday …!! ??
Facts are the enemies of truth
as Cervantes says in his defense … – And he says
it is the most severe frenzy to see life as it is and not as it should be.
Sure, there are two versions of it … the one idealistically glorifying things by what washing, the other demanding, fighting for the visions that are hidden as germs in the dung heap through which, according to Dulcinea, we walk.
And this is, why at the end, she beckons to be Dulcinea, not Aldonza anymore ….
… nous sommes …
– at least we have to try! Try together … as
only when everything is said and done, one is alone
[as I found it remarked in the Schiele-exhibition, at the moment in the Albertina]


or: learning and living and teaching Europe …

To be more precise: it is not May-Day but the evening before the 1st of May – Uli said the other day: it is in Vienna a special cultural event and if you are around you have to go to the town hall … – surely not the same as one year ago when I gathered on the Plaza de la Revolución in La Havana.

Indeed, I am around, teaching European Integration – latest on the 9th the recordings should be here.

So, may-evening then – I am sitting in a tiny park, munching my Simit while I am waiting for the volksoper – the people’s opera – to open its door.

Thoroughly enjoying the moment – anticipating the tale of the

Man from La Mancha

Sitting there, I am also thinking about the programme of the next days – teaching, writing, rushed trip to Bremen for a presentation and  … Vienna again …

Le nozze di Figaro

…. the upcoming performance …. – while waiting that day for the doors to open, I will most likely sit in the small resto-bar opposite of the venue, sipping some wine, tasting a canapé …

… May-Evening …. And I am asking myself if I am wondering or not: why is the one place named people’s opera, the other – the one for the higher echelons of society, the bourgeois – is called state-opera.

Les Distinctions

as Pierre Bourdieu called them – hadn’t been small at the end (as the German translation suggests) …, they had been about the nearness, even the identification with the centres of power.

L’état c’est moi

Not yet …. The evening of the first of May ….
…. And I am teaching about European Integration …. Indeed

Commodification of labour power and appropriation of surplus value cannot be thought of without an outside, by which they profit in social, economic and  ecological terms
(Brand, Ulrich/Wissen, Markus: imperiale lebensweise; Muenchen: oekom: 63)

Which is another formulation of what Dulcinea probably meant:

The world is a dung heap and we are grubs walking through …

So it is a long way until we will say

Je suis e aussi moi es nous sommes le peuples



isn’t there such discussion in political science and sociology? The EU is trendy and we all are creating and shaping Europe now.

Listening to what the leader says and looking at how they expand on it is as rich in content as what we are all asked do now.

Some of my earlier, though recent thoughts on the EUropean question can be found herehere and here.

Quo Vadis Europe

Part of the previous story is of course the question mentioned above … – and a small contribution to push the direction can be made here, where the

IASQ is calling scholars to support our Declaration that was published om March 8, 2017. The Declaration, titled The Post Brexit Declaration on Social Quality In Europe, deals with the pressing needs of European society after last year’s victory of the Leave camp in the Brexit vote.



forward, right- or upwards or where should we go?

Yesterday we stood a step back from the abyss … – today we are looking for The progressive way, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the EU.

It is frightening that the linked article, explicitly claiming a social democratic orientation, is even opened by a photo, making direct reference to the pattern that has in the meantime even a name: Trumpism or Trumponomics.
Is this really the way to go?
All this, including the address with which the pope addressed yesterday the heads of state of a somewhat crumbling EU-member states, comes just in time while I am preparing both, the teaching of an intensive course on European Integration at the University of Vienna, department of political science end of the coming month, and a debate at the Rosa-Luxemburg-Foudation to which I want to contribute later this year.
There are some short reflections and questions that come to my mind.
  • Why can’t we move back, taking up on the traditions?
  • But do we really have to move forward instead, forgetting about the old wisdom that characterises linearity in economic thinking
  • There is more to be done, and in particular there is still some serious thinking to be done, resisting a subjectivist and voluntarist turn – be it to the right or also left populism, the one aiming on making nations great again, the other on making the EU great again.
  • And it is surely also about the rejection of platitudes, equalising right and left populism in a way in which earlier in history the thesis of totalitarism was put forward – there is surely left populism though it is surely an issue that needs some reflection – interesting is at least when ISI [import substitution industrialisation] is rejected while such sides rarely question the manifold ways of subsidies and new indirect protectionism of multi-speed policies. And equally interesting that such proposal of an entrepreneurial state is indeed something that made an earlier proponent, namely J. A. Schumpeter and his opus magnum highly contestable.
My tiny and humble contribution, planned to make the next 60 years something of which the positive results, which surely had been made already, are more then appreciated side effects of a structurally defunct model are outlined in the following:
Some of this employs my thinking in the realm of economics, under the title
– in close cooperation with Vyacheslav Bobkov from the Plekanov University in Moscow, currently as well with the College of Public Administration, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou and it is also playing a role in some preparation of this years G20, I have to do.
Another strand is employing me already now, and especially from September onwards, when taking up work at the Max-Planck-Institut für Sozialrecht und Sozialpolitik/Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy under the title
Still, at the moment it is about teaching students economics – and a decisive challenge remains to resist the number-crunching mind snatchers in a tiny village at the coastline of Wales, even unable to communicate, but trying to creep into the CORE.
see also here for some small but important action

Reviving Schaeuble’s Augean Stables?

The other day, I was writing in a mail to colleague, saying I would soon send some comments on what had been suggested to be

the great vision on E future ! A very stimulating
document !

the White Paper on the future of Europe announced here, actually not agreeing with such an assessment. In that mail I stated as well:
We have had last weekend the annual meeting of the European academy – by accident I could take part. Surely many good “large visions”, but again some lack of realism – you may have read the Europe-book I published several years ago – it was not about providing a vision, but at least I guess some of the obstacles that remain in place and play a fundamental, i.e. structural role.
And indeed it is a challenge to present “the large vision”, and be nevertheless concrete and also vice versa, to ending in some trap of policy making technology.
And just when I revisited Juncker’s meagre ‘vision’, I received a mail, with the link to Paul Mason’s article. Though I may agree in both cases with many details, I do not agree with the point of departure also of the “6th vision”, i.e. Paul’s proposal (https://www.socialeurope.eu/2017/03/option-six-a-europe-of-democracy-and-social-justice/), suggesting

What follows, the Option Six Proposal, is a genuine attempt to preserve the EU and the Eurozone as global institutions.

Why is such attempt worthwhile? Isn’t any analysis challenged first and foremost to state that any of these goals is first and foremost asked to define and clearly answer cui bono, not least in terms of what is the overall and genuine “benefit”, the common wheal, the additional value … . in the present formulation it sounds very much like “we have to have it because …. we have to have it was everything else did not work and seems not to work …, and paradoxically: we always have had it, more or less as matter of Rostow in Brussels  (to allude to Arrighi’s “Smith in Beijing”).

In this way, the Juncker proposal is very much abut accepting “the end of history”, making a few more or less technical proposals to manage this end.

  • It is about the economic “model”
  • not the economic reality which is characterised by being able to utilise indeed exceptional conditions to establish – name it as you like: a strong city or a tentatively emerging world empire
  • So far, in other words, the “success” was by and large established as systematically driven by exception, (at most) only little by a a stabled, lasting, and sustainable normality (including norm)
  • This supposed strength is defined as matter of emerging from defining itself against others, not by taking a suggested genuine “own stronghold” as point of reference
  • and in reality it is just contrary to what is stated as needed for the future: “they deliberately make no mention of legal or institutional processes – the form will follow the function.” (page 15)
  • That suggests to change – but does not really reflect from the outset why this is/was so far exactly the instituionalist perspective, determining even most of the (affirmative and critical) theoretical reflection, few exceptions granted (as of course most the SQ work, humbly my own work etc., but missing here are many approaches that would claim to be fundamentally critical …)

State of the Union Address 2016: Towards a better Europe – a Europe that protects, empowers and defends

is little convincing, suggesting that

The next twelve months are the crucial time to deliver a better Europe: 

a Europe that protects;

a Europe that preserves the European way of life;

a Europe that empowers our citizens,

a Europe that defends at home and abroad; and

a Europe that takes responsibility.

A very benevolent reading suggesting at most the vision of an institutionalist setting FOR the citizens, but not of Europe and by Europeans.
And speaking there also about
overlooks that this way of life is characterised more and more and systematically by tensions, exclusion, and a process of peripheralisation of many, allowing a Mr Schaeuble (referring now to the metaphors of those disrespect they use) to act as if he would be herdsman of PIIGS, forgetting that HE and the likes are those who behaved like King Augeas – mind what the story says:
Now King Augeas owned more cattle than anyone in Greece. Some say that he was a son of one of the great gods, and others that he was a son of a mortal; whosever son he was, Augeas was very rich, and he had many herds of cows, bulls, goats, sheep and horses.
Every night the cowherds, goatherds and shepherds drove the thousands of animals to the stables.
It is not very likely from this that the King was hard working – not to obtain the large numbers and not by looking after the animals…
I guess, more has to be done than waiting for better administrators.