UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Crises, learning capacity, and integration : the case of the EU Campisi, Julian M


The history of European Union integration has viewed different types of crises as important events that facilitate the integration process, as many apparent ‘leaps’ in integration have been preceded by a crisis situation. This thesis seeks to position different strands of literature on European integration amongst a variety of discourses on crises and organizational learning capacity. It appreciates the connection between crises and the integration process, but argues that the latter is not just another typically observed functional outcome to exogenous shocks, and rather it involves an intricate process of learning and change, actor interactions and knowledge bases. This project compares the major approaches to European integration and uses constructivist ideas to demonstrate that the social constructs of different actors and discourses in post-crisis interactions are an important aspect of the learning that takes place therein. This thesis analyzes particular conceptions of the EU, forms of integration, and the different types of crises that can affect the polity. It offers ideas on a new way of looking into crisis-driven integration from a novel standpoint. By using theories, new concepts and illustrative cases of recent European events, it argues that there is essentially a traceable process of interaction and learning in the aftermath of EU crises, and these in fact are the real reasons behind the decision-making and policy changes that spur crisis-driven integration. Offering new concepts of crisis, change, and learning capacities in the EU, is in fact useful for an exploration of the complex dimensions of European integration.

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