In my research, I study the political, economic, social, and cultural processes of European integration and Europeanization since the Second World War. Using transnational and comparative frameworks, I explore how the states, elites, and peoples of the British Isles and Continental Europe have come to grips with the transformative effects of the drive since 1945 towards European unification. However, instead of examining the process as it relates to the minutiae of intergovernmental negotiations, nation-state diplomacy, and technocratic administration, I seek to broaden my scope of inquiry beyond this more traditional scholarly approach. In particular, I am interested in understanding the manner in which the processes of European integration have informed, influenced, and interacted with European peoples outside the elite national level. This is an understudied historical topic that has become ripe for further investigation as the current European Union (EU) continues to struggle with the nature of its connection to the European populace (i.e. the so-called democratic deficit). My work focuses predominantly on the relationship between nationalist ideologies and European integration, the impact of Europeanization upon sub-national/regional actors, and the attempted top-down development of a common European civic identity as key concerns. Thus, in examining the intersecting questions of nationalism, identity, and Europeanization, my research is both interregional and international in scope.
Currently, I am working on one large project, the components of which more fully explore aspects of my wider thematic approach:
“The Ghost State: European Integration and Struggles over Space and Place in Europe, 1950 to the Present”
With this project, I am attempting to develop and articulate a distinct spatial history of European integration in the late 20th century. Still in its early stages, this project explores the process by which European integration has and has not been successful in creating throughout Europe decidedly transnational EU physical and social spaces and an EU civic/spatial consciousness. Using methodologies from recent urban, spatial, and architectural history, historical geography, and sociology, it investigates how this integration process has altered the social, cultural, and urban landscape of European cities (with a focus primarily on select cities in the British Isles and Western Europe) since 1945. As such, it analyzes not only the receptors of Europeanization (i.e. European cities and the European populace), but also those European actors, institutions, discourses, and forces that instigated the process, which one could describe as spatial colonialism. Topically and thematically transnational in scope, this project will explore such areas as the architectural messages encoded in EU buildings, the historical growth of the physical EU state (using GIS and data visualization), the recasting of civic urban spaces, the Europeanization of European economic spaces, and the comparative effects of spatial Europeanization in the British Isles versus Western Continental Europe. Beyond being disseminated through regular academic publishing channels, the results of this research will also appear on a dedicated website (Europeanintegration.net, which is not currently active) starting sometime in 2014.
Blog Research Output
“The Wolfe Affair: Nationalist Networking on the Celtic Fringe” — blog essay turned conference paper that involved two different archival reports in two different countries about the same meeting between an Irish diplomat and a Scottish nationalist politician
“One Britain, One Europe, One World: The Socialist Internationalism of Arthur Woodburn, 1960-1970″ — Former conference paper in which I attempted to play around with historical biography, later repurposed into a series of blog posts