Bo Stråth


Bo Stråth (Curriculum Vitae) was 2007-2014 Finnish Academy Distinguished Professor in Nordic, European and World History and Director of Research at the Department of World Cultures / Centre of Nordic Studies (CENS), University of Helsinki. 1997-2007 he was Professor of Contemporary History at the European University Institute in Florence, and 1991-1996 Professor in History at the University of Gothenburg. He is a member of The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

The Political History of European Integration

by | Jun 16, 2010 | Monographs, Publications

The hypocricy of democracy-through-market. London: Routledge 2010.
Co-authored with Hagen Schulz-Forberg


The Maastricht Treaty in 1992 was based on neoliberal ideas of a market-driven European
economy and democracy and continues to be seen as a new step towards a new stage of
unification: towards a more federal Europe based on market integration. The book
demonstrates that European integration as a federal project actually ended around that time.

Harmonization of rules between the member states accompanied the work on the Maastricht Treaty. Harmonization connoted federal ideas and harmonization along the most ambitious standards. However, soon after 1992, the rhetoric of harmonization shifted to one of benchmarking, open methods of coordination, and best practices with promises of competition for market power through lowing social standards. Democracy would not come from high social standards and public welfare but from the market.

The European Economic Community (EEC), the precursor of the EU, was never
thought of as a democracy. The book locates a shift in thinking about legitimacy and further
integration in the 1980s when the idea of a European democracy was connected with a plan
for the internal market: the market would pave the way for democracy. Since then, there has
been growing tension between the official line about a democratic EU and the institutional
capacity to carry it through. This tension has undermined integration. The book suggests that,
instead of democracy through the market, there are signs of increasing social disintegration,
political extremism and populism in the wake of economic integration. The book argues for a
more realistic historical understanding of European integration.

Break in the writing of The Political History of European Integration. Sailing in the Danish archipelago in July 2008 with Hans-Åke Persson and James Kaye


  • Monographs
  • Anthologies
Creating Community and Ordering the World
A European Memory
A European Memory?
European Solidarities
European Solidarities
Reflections on Europe
Reflections on Europe
The Economy as a Polity
The Economy As a Polity
A European Social Citizenship
A European Social Citizenship?
Representations of Europe and the Nation in Current and Prospective Member States
States and Citizens History Theory Prospects
States and Citizens
The Meaning of Europe
The Meaning of Europe
From the Werner Plan to the EMU
From the Werner Plan to the EMU
Europe and the Other and Europe as the Other
Europe and the Other and Europe as the Other
Myth and Memory in the Construction of Community
Myth and Memory in the Construction of Community
AFTER FULL EMPLOYMENT European Discources on Work and Flexibility
After Full Employment
Enlightenment and Genocide Contradictions of Modernity
Enlightenment and Genocide, Contradictions of Modernity
Department of History and Civilization Nationalism and Modernity EUI Working Papers
Nationalism and Modernity
The Postmodern Challenge Perspectives East and West
The Postmodern Challenge
The Cultural Construction of Norden
The Cultural Construction of Norden
Comparativ Wohnungsbau im Internationalen Vergleich Heft 3-1996
Wohnungsbau im internationalen Vergleich
Language and the Construction of Class Identities
Language and the Construction of Class Identities
Idylle oder Aufbruch
Idylle oder Aufbruch?
Democratisation in Scandinavia in Comparison