Translating Austerity. The Formation and Transformation of EU Economic Constitution as Discourse


Abstract


The European Constitution is not a single text. Rather, it emerged, changed over time, and developed an incomplete and constantly transforming ensemble of texts, rules, institutions, competences and implementation procedures. The notion of dispositif grasps the form, outlook and logic of European economic governance and agenda-setting practices to analyse the logic of economic constitutionalism based on complex translation processes. With the ‘discursive pentagon’ model, the paper will show how an economic idea, grounded within the European constitution, was implemented by Greece, Italy, and Portugal through different forms of translation in the aftermath of 2009 financial crisis. The paper argues that austerity was part of the EU constitutional system moved through a mechanism of interpretation consisting of different stages, tools and discourses before it was finally (un)realised in different member states. The interpretative flexibility of the EU economics apparatus is finally illustrated by a discourse analysis of the European semester.


DOI Code: 10.1285/i20398573v7n1p61

References


Apeldoorn, B van 2002, Transnational Capitalism and the Struggle over European Integration, Routledge, London; New York.

Arrighi, G 1994, The Long Twentieth Century: Money, Power, and the Origins of Our Times, Verso, London.

Boldyrev, I & Ekaterina, S 2016, Enacting Dismal Science: New Perspectives on the Performativity of Economics, Palgrave Macmillan, London; New York.

Bruff, I 2014, ‘The Rise of Authoritarian Neoliberalism’, Rethinking Marxism, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 113–129. https://doi.org/10.1080/08935696.2013.843250

Busch, K, Troost, A, Schwan, G, et al. 2016, A Europe Built on Solidarity Is Possible! Pamphlet for Another European Union, VSA, Hamburg.

Callon, M 1998, ‘Introduction: The Embeddedness of Economic Markets in Economics’, in M Callon (ed), The Laws of the Market, Blackwell, pp. 1–57.

Chasoglou, J 2015, ‘Griechenland. Umbau Oder Abriss Des Wohlfahrtsstaates’, in H-J Bieling & D Buhr (eds), Europäische Welten in der Krise. Arbeitsbeziehungen und Wohlfahrtsstaaten im Vergleich, Campus, pp. 243–272.

Cecco, M de 1997, ‘Splendore e Crisi Del Sistema Beneduce: Note Sulla Struttura Finanziaria e Industriale Dell’Italia Dagli Anni Venti Anni Anni Sessanta’, in F Barca (ed), Storia del Capitalismo Italiano dal dopoguerra ad oggi, Donzelli, pp. 389–404.

Cohen, A 2007, ‘Constitutionalism without Constitution: Transnational Elites between Political Mobilization and Legal Expertise in the Making of a Constitution for Europe (1940s–1960s)’, Law & Social Inquiry, vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 109–135. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1747-4469.2007.00052.x

Costantini, O 2017, ‘Political Economy of the Stability and Growth Pact’, European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 333–350. https://doi.org/10.4337/ejeep.2017.03.05

Cozzolino, A & Giannone, D 2019, ‘State Transformations and Neoliberalization in Italy: ‘A Critical Discourse Analysis of Governments’ Political Economy, 1988–2009’, New Political Science, vol. 41, no. 3 pp. 443–458. https://doi.org/10.1080/07393148.2019.1642724

Dardot, P & Christian, L 2013, The New Way of the World. On Neoliberal Society, Ver-so, London.

Desrosières, A, 1998, The Politics of Large Numbers: A History of Statistical Reasoning, Oxford University Press, Cambridge; London.

Dezalay, Y & Garth, B 2009, ‘National Usages for a “Global” Science: The Dissemination of New Economic Paradigms as a Strategy for the Reproduction of Governing Elites’, in G Mallard, C Paradeise & A Peerbaye (eds) Global science and national sovereignty. Studies in historical sociology of science, Routledge, pp. 143–167.

Dyson, K & Featherstone, K 1996, Italy and EMU as a ‘Vincolo Esterno’: Empowering the Technocrats, Transforming the State’, South European Society and Politics, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 272–299. https://doi.org/10.1080/13608749608539475

Fitzgerald, JK & O’Rourke, BK 2016, ‘Legitimising Expertise: Analysing the Legitimation Strategies Used by Economics Experts in Broadcast Interviews’, Journal of Multicultural Discourses, vol. 11, no. 3 pp. 269–282. https://doi.org/10.1080/17447143.2016.1218889

Fligstein, N & Sweet, AS 2002, ‘Constructing Polities and Markets: An Institutionalist Account of European Integration’, American Journal of Sociology, vol. 107, no. 5, pp. 1206–1243. https://doi.org/10.1086/341907

Foucault, M 1980, Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972–1977, Pantheon, New York.

——— 2008, The Birth of Biopolitics. Lectures at the Collége de France, 1978–1979, Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

Gill, S 1998, “European governance and new constitutionalism: Economic and Monetary Union and alternatives to disciplinary Neoliberalism in Europe”, New Political Economy, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 5–26. https://doi.org/10.1080/13563469808406330

Hall, P 1989, The Political Power of Economic Ideas: Keynesianism across Nations, Prince-ton University Press, Princeton.

Hirsch, J 1995, Der Nationale Wettbewerbsstaat: Staat, Demokratie Und Politik Im Globalen Kapitalismus, Edition ID-Archiv, Berlin.

Huffschmid, J 1994, Wem Gehört Europa?: Wirtschaftspolitik Und Kapitalstrategien, Distel-Verlag, Heilbronn.

Jessop, B 1993, ‘Towards a Schumpeterian Workfare State? Preliminary Remarks on Post-Fordist Political Economy’. Studies in Political Economy, vol. 40, no. 1, pp. 7–39. https://doi.org/10.1080/19187033.1993.11675409

Karamessini, M 2015, ‘Greece as an International Test-Case: Economic Adjustment through a Troika/State-Induced Depression and Social Catastrophe’, in S Lehndorff (ed), Divisive integration The triumph of failed ideas in Europe — revisited, European Trade Union Institute (ETUI), Bruxelles, pp. 95–126.

Levi-Strauss, C 1966, The Savage Mind, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Lühmann, M 2015, ‘Auf dem Weg in die Austeritätsgesellschaft?’, in H-J Bieling & D Buhr (eds), in Europäische Welten in der Krise. Arbeitsbeziehungen und Wohlfahrtsstaaten im Vergleich, Campus, pp. 191–215.

MacKenzie, DA, Fabian, M & Lucia, S 2007, Do Economists Make Markets? On the Performativity of Economics, Princeton University Press, Princeton; Oxford.

Maesse, J 2015, ‘Economic Experts: A Discursive Political Economy of Economics’, Journal of Multicultural Discourses, vol. 10, no. 3 pp. 279–305. https://doi.org/10.1080/17447143.2015.1050029

——— 2018, ‘Globalization Strategies and the Economics Dispositif: Insights from Germany and the UK’, Historical Social Research, vol. 43, no. 3 pp. 120–146. https://doi.org/10.12759/hsr.43.2018.3.120-146

——— 2020a, ‘The Discursive Political Economy of Europe: Hybrid Formation of Nationalist Populism through Economics’, DiscourseNet Collaborative Working Paper Series no. 3, viewed 20 September 2020, https://discourseanalysis.net/sites/default/files/2020-09/Maesse_2020_DNCWPS_3.pdf

——— 2020b, ‘The Euro Crisis Dispositif: Heterogeneous Positioning Strategies in Polycentric Fields’, in C Schmidt-Wellenburg & S Bernhard (eds), Charting Transnational Fields: Methodology for a Political Sociology of Knowledge, Routledge, pp. 219–239.

Maesse, J, Pühringer S, Rossier, T & Benz, P 2021, Power and Influence of Economists: Contributions to the Social Studies of Economics, Routledge, London.

Miró, J 2017, ‘European Integration, Social Democratic Europeanism and the Competitiveness Discourse: A Neo-Poulantzian Approach to Discursive Policy Analysis’, Palgrave Communications, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1057/palcomms.2017.60

Moravcsik, A 1997, ‘Warum Die Europäische Union Die Exekutive Stärkt: Innen-politik Und Internationale Kooperation’, in W Klaus Dieter W (ed) Projekt Europa Im Wandel, Baden-Baden, pp. 211–269.

Morgan, MS 1990, The History of Econometric Ideas, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Mudge, SL & Vauchez, A 2012, ‘Building Europe on a Weak Field: Law, Economics, and Scholarly Avatars in Transnational Politics’, American Journal of Sociology, vol. 118, no. 2, pp. 449–492. https://doi.org/10.1086/666382

Pahl, H & Sparsam, J 2015, ‘Models of Macroeconomic Control and Regulation. On the Construction of Governability in the Hydraulic-Keynesian Dis-course’, in I Boldyrev & E Svetlova (eds), Enacting Dismal Science: New Perspectives on the Performativity of Economics, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 149–178.

Pijl, van der K 1984, The Making of an Atlantic Ruling Class, Verso, London.

Pühringer, S & Griesser, M 2020, ‘From the “Planning Euphoria” to the “Bitter Economic Truth”: The Transmission of Economic Ideas into German Labour Market Policies in the 1960s and 2000s’. Critical Discourse Studies, vol. 17, no. 5, pp. 476–493. https://doi.org/10.1080/17405904.2019.1681283

Rossier, T & Bühlmann, F 2018, ‘The Internationalisation of Economics and Business Studies: Import of Excellence, Cosmopolitan Capital, or American Dominance?’, Historical Social Research, vol. 43, no. 3, pp. 189–215. https://doi.org/10.12759/hsr.43.2018.3.189-215

Schmidt-Wellenburg, C 2017, ‘Europeanisation, Stateness, and Professions: What Role Do Economic Expertise and Economic Experts Play in European Political Integration?’, European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 430–456. https://doi.org/10.1080/23254823.2017.1335222

Seikel, D & Truger, A 2019, ‘Die Blockierte Vollendung Der Europäischen Währungsunion: Plädoyer Für Eine Pragmatische Nutzung von Fiskalischen Handlungsspielräumen’, Wirtschaft Und Gesellschaft, vol. 45, no. 1, pp 43–65.

Trenz, H-J, Ruzza, C & Guiraudon, V 2015, Europe’s Prolonged Crisis: The Making or the Unmaking of a Political Union, Palgrave, London.


Full Text: pdf

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.