Europeanization: New Research Agendas , edited by P.Graziano and M.Vink ( Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan , 2008 , ISBN 9780230204317 ); xii + 419pp. , £21.99 pb .
The paper version of Europeanization: New Research Agendas is very welcome. As the field of Europeanization research further consolidates, easier access to one of the significant contributions to its refinement has benefits for students and scholars alike. The editors have produced a work in which each chapter follows an exact format: introduction, core research questions, key problems and conclusion. By having all contributors stick to this format, the reader can easily search for common issues that may arise regarding fundamental research questions and associated problems. Further, the chapters are organised along what has come to be a (nearly) standard division of the dimensions of Europeanization, namely politics, polity and policies.
The added value of the book is an initial section consisting of four chapters addressing conceptual and methodological issues. Within this section, two chapters are especially notable. The chapter by Simon Bulmer is excellent in addressing the theory of Europeanization and its development to date, and succinctly pointing to key concepts such as the ‘misfit’ hypothesis as well as some alternatives, all in the space of 12 pages. In addition, the following chapter by Markus Haverland on methodological issues related to Europeanization research, whilst drawing attention to the tricky issue of how to isolate the ‘EU effect’ on domestic change from competing pressures, does a commendable job in presenting possible research strategies, such as process tracing and counterfactual reasoning.
The coverage of politics, polity and policies in the rest of the book is fairly comprehensive. The application of the Europeanization research agenda to post-communist Member States is dealt with, highlighting the radically different effects of the EU on these countries, especially during their pre-accession phase. A very useful chapter on courts is presented and as this area of Europeanization studies is – as far as national institutions go – the least investigated from this research agenda, its inclusion in the volume is another advantage. With regard to policies, a chapter on foreign policy, one of the least amenable areas to ‘top-down’ pressures from the EU, deals admirably with the question of how to approach a policy area that is primarily in the hands of Member State executives. The concluding chapter by Dirk Lehmkuhl is a wide-ranging chapter, reviewing key issues that still append to Europeanization research – in particular causality and domestic issues, the contribution that Europeanization research has made so far to approaches such as institutionalism, and areas of research that could benefit from a Europeanization approach, especially state–society and non-EU geographic foci. All in all, a book that ought to be on the shelf of anyone preparing to engage in Europeanization research.