University of Sussex
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Beyond immaturity and victimisation: the European periphery and the Eurozone crisis

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posted on 2023-06-09, 01:35 authored by Neil DooleyNeil Dooley
One of the most striking aspects of the eurozone crisis is its asymmetric impact. Detrimental economic and political consequences have resonated across Europe, but peripheral countries have been most severely affected. Individual peripheral countries have followed dramatically different paths to crisis, making it difficult to speak of the crisis as a single phenomenon. Bringing literature from Comparative Political Economy (CPE) on capitalist diversity into dialogue with scholarship on Europeanisation, this thesis develops the concept of modernisation via Europeanisation in order to explore the much overlooked ways in which the negotiation of European integration has been generative of divergence of the European periphery. To capture this asymmetry, I investigate the origins of the eurozone crisis across three cases – Greece, Portugal and Ireland. I study the active attempt by these countries to negotiate and adapt to a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model of European integration. This approach sheds light on how adaptation to Europe inadvertently resulted in the generation of fragile, hybrid, models of growth in each of the three countries. These findings have significant implications for how we understand the origins of the crisis. They suggest that it has been the European periphery’s attempt to ‘follow the rules’ of European Integration, rather than their failure or inability to do so, that explains their current difficulties. This novel reading of the origins of the eurozone crisis directly challenges settled common-senses in existing literature. The eurozone crisis cannot be explained by narratives which stress the ‘immaturity’ of the countries of the European Periphery. Neither can it be explained by more critical narratives which understand the periphery as a victim of German ‘economic domination’. Instead, the relative severity of the crisis in the periphery can be explained by the EU’s obstinate promotion of a single model of convergence which has generated a variety of different European economic trajectories.


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University of Sussex

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