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European Integration: Popular Sovereignty and a Politics of Boundaries

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The problem raised by popular sovereignty in the framework of the EU is not whether it is relevant to European integration; it is. The problem is another, namely the identity and, thus, the boundary of a democratic polity. The very idea of ‘European’ integration suggests that integration is only imaginable by reference to the closure provided by an identity, a boundary that is normative rather than merely geographical. In this minimal sense, a European people is the necessary presupposition of integration, not merely its telos. Bluntly, there is no integration without inclusion and, also, no integration without exclusion. This, then, is the real problem raised by popular sovereignty in a European context: if there is no such thing as non-exclusionary integration, how can a reflection on the boundedness of European integration be more than a rationalisation of exclusion?

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Faculty of Philosophy, Tilburg University, the Netherlands

Publication date: September 1, 2000


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