This article advances a heterodox understanding of 'construction' as a way of theorising European integration. The first section sets out this version of construction, which is derived from the work of Bruno Latour and which emphasises the techne of inscription. This new view of construction is contrasted with the typical understandings of construction and deconstruction within European Union studies. The article then demonstrates the value of a focus on inscription in terms of a case study: the construction of Justice and Home Affairs as a sphere of EU competence. A concern with inscription does not amount to anything like a new theory of European integration. Instead, it gestures towards a microsocial engagement with some of the materials of integration. This undertaking does not reveal the broad dynamics or processes of European integration, and it certainly does not explain policy outcomes. Instead, it suggests a series of local and situated accounts concerning some of the myriad ways in which Europe is composed as a knowable space of rule, in which the actions of diverse agents might be coordinated in such a way as to promote Europe.
Millennium: Journal of International Studies
Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Walters, W. (2002). The power of inscription: Beyond social construction and deconstruction in European integration studies. Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 31(1), 83–108. doi:10.1177/03058298020310010501