Progress, democracy, efficiency: normative narratives in political science EU Studies

Richard McMahon

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This article identifies influential political narratives in the 73 currently most highly cited political science articles on the EU. It is based on systematic analysis of expressions of normativity, which signal that European integration, or its institutions or policies, are bad, good, flourishing or declining. A normative narrative of continuous progress in integration, connected with a 1990s grand theoretical debate in EU studies, accounts for much of the positive tone of EU studies until about 1998. Narratives about the EU’s democratic deficit and its impact beyond its borders help explain the subsequent negative turn in EU studies normativity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-249
Number of pages19
JournalNational Identities
Issue number2
Early online date26 May 2017
Publication statusEarly online - 26 May 2017


  • European intergration
  • democratic deficit
  • European Union
  • EU studies
  • narratives
  • progressive narrative


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