The idea that Europe does not represent just a territory, but a community of destiny is quite old.Yet it is just after the two world wars that this idea was implemented through a political project oriented towards European unification. Indeed, after the Second World War, a process of increasing economic and institutional integration starts in Europe.
However, while furthering the cooperation in the field of monetary and economic integration, European policy-makers left behind the institutional, social, cultural and political dimension of integration. For this reason, the goal of a united Europe is far to be achieved in the short-term. So, let’s work together for it!
Individuals – either on their own, or aggregated in groups – continuously take choices. If a constitutionally legitimized government exists, collective choices are delegated to elected representatives, who lead the government on people’s behalf. If a democratic system lacks a binding system of rules through which people might come to collective decisions, some mechanisms of “governance” should be established.
Governance is a complex of non-binding rules, whose aim is to take collective choices, even in the absence of a legitimate government. Governance is needed at international level, given the absence of a supra-national government. Global governance is thus the result of attempts aimed at taking global collective choices whereby international norms are missing.
ACTIVE MULTI-LEVEL CITIZENSHIP
The relationship between individuals and public powers has been changing throughout History. In the last centuries, because of the monopolization of power by national states, individuals have been deemed “subjects”. Subjects are people who, in exchange for the payment of taxes, receive state military and social protection (such as, respectively, public defense, and provision of certain public goods such as schools, health care, and the administration of justice).
Yet the growing inter-dependence and complexity characterizing the current globalization era makes somewhat obsolete the univocal relationship between individuals and national states. Indeed, the individual is part of a multilevel system of collective decisions, affecting both local and supranational organization. The citizenship status and democratic participation thus go beyond the national dimension, since they entail a multilevel one. Hence, so as to make citizens’ participation in this new global environment possible, it is necessary to create, develop, and implement new political and institutional mechanisms.
Traditionally, Social and Human Sciences have deemed the national state the “natural” key actor of political, economic, cultural, and historical processes. However, because of that, essential aspects of these processes are today ignored or misunderstood. This is why many have criticized such a nationally-based approach. For example, Ranke and Dehio believed that a national history was impossible, given that national and international system evolutions are inextricably linked. In Economics, Robbins criticized those liberals who adopted a national perspective, instead that a global-federalist one. Similarly, Gellner disapproved the use of nationalist approaches within Sociology. In the field of political philosophy, Albertini highlighted the need to overcome the nation-state paradigm. But it was only with Ulrich Beck that this critic has been generalized and popularized through the concept of “methodological nationalism”. He also attempted to develop the idea of “methodological cosmopolitism”; yet this concept is still open.
The concepts of “methodological nationalism” and “methodological cosmopolitism” are coherent with the complexity of contemporary world, which is characterized by a plurality of levels and areas of analysis, which ask researchers to identify, each time, the most relevant levels and actors. This perspective – which recalls Norbert Elias’s studies - is embedded in the research activity carried out by CesUE.