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74 Working Paper

Globalization, Social Movements, and the Construction of Europe: The Example of the European Parliament Elections in France

2000 – Niilo Kauppi


Though social scientists have lately devoted themselves to the study of globalization (Waters 1995; Hirst and Thompson 1999), most of these studies have concentrated on its economic and social consequences. Globalization is often seen as a fundamentally unjust process that causes confusion and destroys more than it creates. In many areas, the substantive implications of globalization are left untouched. In this paper, I examine the link between regional integration in Western Europe and the transformation of domestic politics through the example of the European Parliament elections. I argue that globalization through European integration is having a significant impact on French domestic politics. More precisely, the elections to the European Parliament, a supranational political institution, have contributed to the political mobilization of traditionally voiceless groups such as the unemployed and to the introduction into public discussion of new issues tied to Europe, transforming political culture and the relationship between national politics and multinational bargaining (Keohane and Hoffmann 1990, 295).