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The Politification and Politicisation of the EU


Niilo Kauppi ,

University of Jyväskylä, FI
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Kari Palonen,

University of Jyväskylä, FI
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Claudia Wiesner

University of Jyväskylä, FI
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In this article, we suggest a novel conceptual framework for understanding and analysing EU politicisation. Recent studies on EU politicisation argue that the post-Maastricht era led to the politicisation of EU integration via an increasing citizens’ dissatisfaction. Contrary to this account, we argue that European integration has been from the beginning linked to politicisation, but in an unusual way. To capture its uniqueness we introduce the concepts of politisation as a precondition of politicisation and of politification as a depoliticised modality of politicisation. Politicisation is then not something new to EU integration but rather it is constitutive of EU integration itself. We further claim that understanding politicisation requires taking a closer look at its relationship to “politics” or “political”, as the interpretation of what is considered as politicisation depends on the interpretation of what is politics/political. It is thus essential to spell out the respective understanding of this key concept – Grundbegriff in Reinhart Koselleck’s sense. We aim at an understanding of EU politicisation that is at once broader than what is currently discussed, more historically based, and related to an actor-oriented perspective on the political. On this basis we discuss the main conceptual weaknesses of current studies on EU politicisation and conclude by illustrating our alternative conception.

How to Cite: Kauppi, Niilo, Kari Palonen, and Claudia Wiesner. 2016. “The Politification and Politicisation of the EU”. Redescriptions: Political Thought, Conceptual History and Feminist Theory 19 (1): 72–90. DOI:
Published on 01 May 2016.
Peer Reviewed


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