Against the backdrop of a global trend towards neoliberal constitutionalism, the EC/EU became, from the mid-1980s, an important supporter of a Europeanised fraction of the capitalist class showing first signs of transnationalisation. This development was a result of the emergence of the competition state. It is also manifest in the formation of a European power bloc, for which European and transnational institutions are of increasing importance.
In contrast to mainstream state theory, materialist state theory does not perceive the state as a unified actor. Here, the state represents a material condensation of social relations of forces, which includes international constellations of forces. The individual apparatuses are linked, in a specific form, with the social relations of forces; as a result, the state has to be viewed as a complex ensemble of competing power and decision-making centres within and between state apparatuses. Accordingly, this ensemble consists of a “multiplicity of diversified micro-policies” (Poulantzas). The EU can be seen as a new state project, on whose terrain a new scalar structure and hierarchies between state apparatuses emerge. This concerns both the European and national state apparatuses. The relationships between and the positions of the various apparatus are fairly flexible; they result from a constant process of negotiating. Notwithstanding the dynamic of this new state project there is still no consensus on the hierarchy of scales in the EU. As a result, the EU and the national and European apparatuses are not only pervaded by social contradictions, but also, and to a stronger degree, by the competition between the different scales and different state projects. The emergence of a European border regime and the production, at a European level, of processes of inclusion and exclusion transform the EU into a territorial entity.
In this context a new control regime of global mobility evolves producing specific zones of stratified rights.
Jens Wissel is a Fellow at the Institute for Social Research at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt, currently employed as a Research Associate at the University of Kassel.
Against the backdrop of a global trend towards neoliberal constitutionalism, the EC/EU became, from the mid-1980s, an important supporter of a Europeanised fraction of the capitalist class showing first signs of transnationalisation. This development was a result of the emergence of the...