Integrating the subject: narratives of emancipation in regionalism
Paul Scholten Centre Colloquium with Floris de Witte (LSE). Discussant Christina Eckes (UvA ACELG) . This colloquium is jointly organised with Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance.
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The purpose of this paper is to understand how different regional organisations structure their understanding of the subject (the individual). It does so in two steps. The first part of the paper fleshes out why emancipation might be an interesting lens through which to look at projects of regional integration. Emancipation, at the highest level of abstraction, is concerned with the capacity of (public) power to dominate the subject in the ways in which she understands or realises herself. The starting premise for this paper is that all integration projects have a selective vision of how the subject understands or realises herself, and that this selective vision needs to be appreciated in order to understand the organisation and process of integration.
The second part of this paper looks at the European Union, the African Union, and MERCOSUR through this lens, and traces different visions of emancipation and of the relationship between the subject, state, and regional integration. In the EU context, the citizen – primarily through the right to free movement – has in some sense emancipated from the state. The underlying logic, here, is that state power and state authority are understood to be problematic in so far as it prescribes a very particular kind of subject. Crucially, in the EU context, emancipation does not mean emancipation into another polity or identity. The legal structure through which emancipation is secured suggests that the EU is not trying to create a transnational identity as much as trying to liberate the individual from state coercion in their capacity to become who they want to become.
Research colloquium, organised by the Paul Scholten Centre and the Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance. This colloquium is open to all, no registration required. A copy of the paper can be obtained via email@example.com.
Floris de Witte is Associate Professor at the LSE. His research deals with the interaction between EU law and political theory, with particular emphasis on free movement, the Euro-crisis and the role of the individual in the EU. Floris holds a PhD from London School of Economics and Political Science. He is co-editor of LSE Law Policy Briefing Papers and an affiliated member of the LSE European Institute.