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European IntegrationFrom Nation-States to Member States$
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Chris J. Bickerton

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199606252

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199606252.001.0001

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The Member State Paradigm

The Member State Paradigm

(p.51) 2 The Member State Paradigm
European Integration

Christopher J. Bickerton

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 argues that the concept of member state, defined as a legal title obtained upon entry into the EU, is a distinctive form of statehood. The chapter focuses on the associative dimensions of statehood, arguing that the originality of member statehood lies in the idea of limiting power through external frameworks of rule. Whilst the limiting of power is central to the political theory of the modern state, these limitations were thought of as internal expressions of sovereignty. For member states, the limits are understood as external constraints upon popular will. In the imaginary of member states, state and society relate to each other antagonistically and not as an integrated totality as was the case with the modern nation state. The EU serves as a tool via which this conflictual state–society relationship is managed. Resting on this internal conflict, member statehood is a fundamentally unstable form of state.

Keywords:   nation state, member state, external constraints, separation of powers, state–society relations, popular sovereignty

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