Petros Nousios, Henk Overbeek and Andreas Tsolakis (eds.): Globalisation and European Integration: Critical Approaches to Regional Order and International Relations.

Author:Bruff, Ian
Position:Book review

Petros Nousios, Henk Overbeek and Andreas Tsolakis (eds.) Globalisafion and European Integration: Critical Approaches to Regional Order and International Relations, Routledge: London, 2012, 280 pp: 9780415-611848, 80 [pounds sterling] (hbk)

This collection of papers is rooted in a conference held at the University of Warwick in June 2009. As such, it is aimed at a fast-moving target: the swift and sometimes unexpected developments across Europe during the ongoing global and especially Eurozone crises, and what this means for the study of European integration. Nevertheless, any disadvantages that may accrue from being unable to cover new developments and twists in the crises--because they occurred after the manuscript was completed--are overcome by the case for critical approaches to European integration that the current period makes much more apparent.

Critical political economy perspectives on European integration have become increasingly prominent over the last 15 years, but within the field of European studies, they are very much a minority view. As an example, I recently had a debate with a doctoral student who asserted that this state of affairs was due to the unwillingness of critical political economy scholars to engage with the mainstream literature. My view was that these attempts have been made, yet the field is largely impervious to alternative viewpoints. Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, a number of the papers in this volume are written by authors whose earlier arguments--on both European integration and/or the field of European studies--have been vindicated to a large degree. Therefore, it is possible that some readers will not find much value-added in the volume, because chapters by (for example) Alan Cafruny and Magnus Ryner, Kees van der Pijl, Hans-Jurgen Biding and Henk Overbeek contain arguments that are well-known among critical political economy researchers. In my view, this would be a mistake, for there are still a number of new elements--not least the post-2007 period of crisis; and the chapters dovetail nicely with those written by authors who have come to this topic more recently (Owen Parker, Hubert Buch-Hansen and Angela Wigger, Jan Drahokoupil and Martin Myant), or bring new aspects to the discussion (Werner Bonefeld, Bob Jessop, Andreas Bieler). Furthermore, the concluding chapter by Peter Nousios and Andreas Tsolakis does an excellent job in looking forward to the years ahead.

In essence, many of the chapters...

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