Legitimising Europe with the Social Sciences and Humanities? The European University Institute and the European Integration Project (1976-1986)

Thibaud Boncourt, Oriane Calligaro


This article analyses the conditions under which political attempts at influencing the activities of scientists succeed or fail. It does so by assessing the impact of European politics on the development of the social sciences and humanities. More specifically, it focuses on the creation of the European University Institute (EUI) and studies the extent to which European institutions succeeded in orientating EUI scholars’ scientific agenda, in a direction favourable to European integration. The article argues that this attempt only enjoyed limited success. It shows that the increasing autonomy of the disciplines under study meant that political injunctions had trouble gaining currency. The politicisation of sciences thus appears to be hampered by the changing structure of disciplinary fields.

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