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104 Working Paper

Elements for a Structural Constructivist Theory of Politics and of European Integration

Mar 2, 2024 – Niilo Kauppi


Pierre Bourdieu’s structural constructivist theory of politics offers powerful instruments for a critical analysis of political power. In this paper, I explore structural constructivism as a theory of politics and of European integration. By structural constructivism I refer to a mostly French research tradition that develops some of Bourdieu’s theoretical tools. In European studies, social constructivism has provided an alternative to traditional approaches such as intergovernmentalism and neofunctionalism. Structural constructivism remedies some of the weaknesses of most versions of social constructivism, such as their diffuse conception of power and ideational notion of culture. This paper develops a structural constructivist approach that examines the European Union as a multileveled and polycentric emerging political field.