Rethinking European Integration

Research focus

A starting point for the research group is the need to reconsider the processes of European integration in a broader social, cultural and historical context going beyond mainstream research. The European Union is a central focus of the research group. However, to understand the nature of the EU it is necessary to analyze it within a broader societal framework and as part of a wider European history. With this as a point of departure, the three main clusters for investigation of the research group will be:

  • First, processes of European integration have shaped the development of European (nation) states during the twentieth century – those within the EU as well as those staying outside. At the same time regional European integration is part of wider globalization processes as well as a particular response to them.
  • Second, processes of European integration go beyond European Union integration. As an international organization the EU follows from, overlaps and coexists with, or competes for influence with other international organizations including: The League of Nations, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the GATT/WTO, the OEEC/OECD and others.
  • Finally, European integration has been a response to conflict in the European state system and within European societies. Conflicts over the role of identity, historical memory, borders and the interaction of these issues with the broader social and political developments of European societies are of central importance here. Crucially while some of these conflicts have provided impetus for further integration, they have also hampered its progression.

Purpose of the research group

The purpose of this research group is to rethink research on European integration on the basis of an interdisciplinary approach. Research on European integration has until fairly recently been dominated by a few disciplines – politics, law and economics – which have generated a wealth of studies, but for the most part have a restricted focus on the European Union, its law and its policies. Other disciplines including sociology, ethnology, anthropology, history and cultural studies have made inroads into European integration studies but not managed to become influential enough to contribute to the larger research agenda. Despite the plurality of disciplines now studying the process of European integration, interdisciplinary efforts are few and far between. It is imperative therefore to rethink the study of European integration through a truly interdisciplinary debate including all disciplines contributing to European integration studies. 


You can find upcoming and past events of the research group here.


Morten RasmussenLektor, Saxo-Instituttet, University of Copenhagen (
Haakon A. Ikonomou, Lektor, Saxo-Instituttet, University of Copenhagen (

For questions regarding activities or membership of the research group, contact the group's coordinators. 

Research group members

You can find members of the group here.

Research networks

The Rethinking European Integration (REI) Research Group is associated with several networks. Among our partners are the RICHIE and HEIRS networks of European integration historians; EURECO (Copenhagen University); the De Gasperi Centre of the European University Institute and Historical Archives of the European Union; Polilexes (Copenhagen University) and the Centre for Global and Regional Ethnographies (Aarhus University).