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From Integration to Fragmegration: political symbols and the emergence of differentiated European identities.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Differentiation in the European Union
EditorsBenjamin Leruth, Stefan Gaenzle, Jarle Trondal
Number of pages35
Accepted/In press1 Mar 2022

King's Authors


From its inception as the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951, symbols have been a prominent but understudied dimension of European integration. Academic studies of European integration have focused on the roles of policymakers and institutions at national and transnational levels, while theories of integration such as neofunctionalism, intergovernmentalism, and liberal intergovernmentalism, have emphasised ‘rational’ dimensions of statecraft. With the Brexit process and the rise of politically powerful Eurosceptic movements across the EU in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis and Migration Crisis, academic studies of European integration must also account for European dis-integration, a realm in which symbols are as important, if not more so, than European integration from the 1950s to the 2010s. This chapter argues that postfunctionalist theory illuminates how the EU’s symbols are integral not only to the processes of European integration, but to the differentiated paths of European disintegration.

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