The project GEDI

Team

Scientific Context and Project Objectives

Developed by political scientists and economists working on four industries –cars, wine, pharmaceuticals and aquaculture- this project is based upon the following observation: the government and administration of European productive activity remains understudied and poorly understood, thus supporting the absurd myth of European integration as above all an economic process. Founded on the conviction that the integration of economies in Europe has been, on the contrary, a governed process, the principal objective of this research project is to generate systematic knowledge on the European government of industries which will enable analysis of the type of integration that has actually occurred.

As regards the existing literature, we have chosen to challenge the dominant perspective which continues to reproduce the idea that the nation-state remains the most powerful scale of regulation in Europe and that national political economies are still clearly separated from what is regulated at the scale of the European Union (EU). This paradigm has serious consequences: it prevents research from systematically examining the actors who participate in the European government of industries, their operating modes and the effects that this has on both the instruments of public policy and the behaviour of firms. This project’s overall objective is to change paradigms and consider instead that:
 

  • a single government of the EU exists;
  • despite its fragmentation, this government possesses consistent features which effect all industries in Europe;
  • intersectoral comparison is the most stimulating means of generating knowledge about these effects and their causes.


Description of project and its methodology


Our analytical framework conceptualizes industries as being governed by institutionalorders made up of four fundamental instituted relationships which concern ways of mobilizing and managing respectively employment, finance, supply and marketing. If these relationships feature some stability, they are nevertheless dynamic because they are constantly the object of politicalwork in order to institutionalize, deinstitutionalize or reinstitutionalize them.

Our intersectoral comparison of this European political work will be ‘cross-cut’ by hypotheses concerning the impact of four European trans-industry policies.

  • Competition policy;
  • Sustainable development policy;
  • Actions on employment policy labelled ‘flexicurité’;
  • External trade.


According to existing research, two of the industries we have selected experienced early ‘Europeanization’ (cars and wine), whereas the others have undergone Europeanizations that are generally described as ‘late’ (pharmaceuticals, aquaculture). In this project, the government of each of these industries will be studied at the scale of the EU, ie. by analyzing all the arenas of deliberation and negotiation involved (be they ‘community’ ones, ‘national’, ‘transnational’ ‘subnational’ etc.).
Financed by the French Agence nationale de la recherche (ANR), and ‘staffed’ by political scientists, economists and historians who work essentially in two research centres based in Bordeaux (SPIRIT, GREThA), our team will apply a single research design using semi-structured interviews, statistical analysis, and archives.
 
Results anticipated
 
First, in terms of empirical results for each industry the project will generate new data which will be useful for research but also for decision-makers (public authorities, trade unions, firms).
Second, through validating or invalidating our transversal hypotheses, and through giving rise to at least three books and numerous journal articles, the project will enable the researchers involved to participate actively in three major international scientific debates:

  • the links between politics and economics;
  • the causes of European integration;
  • the structure and the substance of the European government of industry.