EU460      Half Unit
European Society and Politics beyond the Nation State

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Jonathan White COW. J109


This course is available on the MSc in European Studies: Ideas and Identities, MSc in European Studies: Ideas and Identities (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Global Politics, MSc in Political Sociology, MSc in Politics and Government in the European Union and MSc in Politics and Government in the European Union (LSE and Sciences Po). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The course has three main sections. Part A explores how transnational integration weakens the overlap typically assumed of modern polities between socio-cultural identities, economic practices, and state boundaries, and examines the conceptual challenges this raises. Part B looks closely at competing perspectives on what these new conditions mean for the possibility of democracy, and critically examines the main proposals for reconceiving society and its relationship to the political sphere. Perspectives which minimise the social component by focusing on material interests, those which look to cultural allegiances of the kind associated with nationalism, and those which re-imagine the collective in terms of shared values, practices of solidarity and the adversarial pursuit of political projects, are each discussed in depth. Part C of the course looks at different understandings of how the bonds of collectivity may form and be sustained over time, linking historical perspectives on state formation with contemporary debates on the EU and the emergence of a European society.

Provisional course outline: A) Reopening the social and the political: Emergence of the Nation-State Ideal; Conceptual Challenges of a Transnational Order; Towards a European Polity? B) Perspectives on transnational citizenship and the demos: Interest-based conceptions; Culturalist conceptions; Civic conceptions. C) Transnational collective bonds - their formation and reproduction: In the Minds of Europeans: Observations from public-opinion research; Mobility, Social Encounter and Behavioural Change; Constitutions, communication and the public sphere; Political mobilisation and contention.


20 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

One 2,500 word unassessed essay.

Indicative reading

Stefano Bartolini (2005) Restructuring Europe; Jürgen Habermas (2001) The Post-National Constellation; Joseph Weiler (1999) The Constitution of Europe; Claus Offe (2003) Is there, or can there be, a "European Society"?; Richard Bellamy, Dario Castiglione & Jo Shaw (eds.) (2006) Making European Citizens; William Outhwaite (2004), The Future of Society; Jonathan White (2011) Political Allegiance after European Integration.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Student performance results

(2009/10 - 2011/12 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 17.7
Merit 61.3
Pass 19.4
Fail 1.6

Key facts

Department: European Institute

Total students 2012/13: 20

Average class size 2012/13: 10

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving

Course survey results

(2010/11 - 2012/13 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 98.3%



Reading list (Q2.1)


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Integration (Q2.6)


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