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Integration and Disintegration in the European Union

Module titleIntegration and Disintegration in the European Union
Module codePOL2075
Academic year2020/1
Module staff

Dr Sandra Kroger (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

The European integration process has seemed to be a one-way street which goes in the direction of an ‘ever closer Union’ and therefore more integration. Accordingly, European integration theory also offers a number of competing explanations of why European integration occurs. This teleological approach has been contested for some time. With the Euro debt and financial crisis, this kind of reasoning seems more challenged than ever whilst scenarios of disintegration seem more plausible in the current political climate. In this course, you will familiarize yourself with core approaches to European integration. You will discuss how well equipped they are to address scenarios of integration and disintegration. You will use contemporary examples of integration and disintegration to illustrate the usefulness of the available theoretical tools. No prior knowledge is needed for this course.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module familiarizes you with basic approaches to European integration and helps you to apply these approaches to current topics of integration and disintegration. It aims at providing you with the skills to apply core theories to current debates of European integration, and to critically evaluate the usefulness of these theories. In doing so, it aims to equip you with the analytical and presentation skills required to describe and explain the emergence, development and current state of the EU. Case studies are used to illustrate the topic of integration and disintegration in the EU. The first part of the module deals with the historical development of the EU as well as with core theories of European integration and critically challenges them. The second part focuses on the empirical analysis of chosen cases of integration and disintegration.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. demonstrate understanding of core theories and approaches to European integration and capacity to apply them to concrete policies;
  • 2. demonstrate understanding of the historical development and the institutional architecture of the EU;
  • 3. show knowledge of contemporary issues of the EU and of concrete cases of integration and disintegration;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. construct arguments which show an understanding of key theories and justify own choice of theory;
  • 5. Apply arguments to empirical case studies in European integration;
  • 6. Analyse primary and secondary source material;

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 7. research & critically evaluate ideas and debates;
  • 8. construct reasoned argument;
  • 9. Demonstrate the ability to communicate clearly and deliver presentations to peers;
  • 10. work independently and in collaboration with peers;
  • 11. use IT for the retrieval and presentation of information.

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:
  1. Introduction
  2. History of European integration – why integrate in the first place?
  3. History of European integration – from 15 to 28. The impact of the last enlargements on integration
  4. European integration theory I
  5. European integration theory II
  6. The democratic deficit debate (1): Issues of compound representation
  7. Example (1): The Euro and the financial crisis
  8. Example (2): Schengen
  9. Example (3): The UK (1)
  10. Example (3): The UK (2)
  11. The rise of Euroscepticism

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities2211 x 2-hour lectures with a mix of lecture, student-led seminar, collective discussion and presentations
Guided independent study78Preparation and completion of course work
Guided independent study50Reading for seminars


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay plan500 words1-11Written feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay602500 words1-11Written feedback
Textual commentary20800 words1-11Written feedback
In-class group presentation2015-20 minutes1-11


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay (2000 words, 60%)1-11August/September re-assessment period
Textual commentaryText Comment (800 words, 20%)1-11August/September re-assessment period
In-class presentationOral presentation, length depends on whether it is a group or an individual presentation (7-20 minutes, 20%)1-11Term 3


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading:

Cini, M. and Perez-Solorzano Borragan, N. (eds.) (2013) European Union Politics, 4th edition, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Dinan, D. (2010) Ever Closer Union? An Introduction to European Integration, 4th Edition, London: Palgrave Macmillan

Wiener, A. and Diez, T. (eds.) (2009) European Integration Theory, 2nd edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

The compulsory readings for each session will be available on ELE as well as additional material linked to the main themes covered.

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

EU, integration, disintegration, governance

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date