Cracks in the Ceiling? Contradictions of Ordoliberal Hegemony in the EU – Part I

Johan Ekman is a BA (Hons) student in European Politics with EIS Copyright: private

Johan Ekman is a BA (Hons) student in European Politics with EIS Copyright: private

An essay by Johan Ekman (@jgekman), BA (Hons) student in European Politics. Part II will be published next week.

The crisis of the southern Eurozone periphery – in itself an offspring of the great crisis of 2007-2008 – has highlighted German-led ordoliberalism as the dominant theory behind European integration after the adoption of the Single European Act (SEA) and the Maastricht Treaty. This piece suggests that the contradiction between the social effects of the implementation of the strict rules of economic governance in the southern Eurozone periphery and the ideals of solidarity as expressed in the EU treaties has put German-led ordoliberal hegemony under severe strain in the EU as discontent has increased.

First, I will roughly outline how the integration project has developed, from the post WWII Keynesian welfare state centric model of Western Europe towards neoliberal hegemony in the Neo-Gramscian sense, underpinned by German-led ordoliberal theory. I will then illustrate how the development of a freer market has taken place without – and often to the detriment of – a progressive agenda aiming to strengthen social rights as an essential part of the integration project. Finally, the effects of the crisis pose the question whether access to social rights is compatible with the European integration project in its current format. To adequately address that question, there is, following Magnus Ryner, a need to look beyond a “positivist evolutionary” approach to European integration that takes the rationality of economic, political and social integration for granted.[1]

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New staff members

This academic year, several new members of staff have joined the Department. This is who they are.

Baines 2016 09 19 - Photo

Joseph Baines


Joseph Baines is a lecturer in International Political Economy:

“It has been a long journey to get to the position of lecturer in IPE here at King’s College London. My interest in the subject was sparked when I studied politics and IR as an undergraduate at the University of Warwick. I pursued my fascination with the study of contemporary capitalism, first through doing an MA in global political economy at the University of Sussex, and then through undertaking a PhD at York University in Toronto.

It was during my doctoral studies that I developed a commitment to doing research that is both unerring in its empirical rigor and unwavering in its critical orientation. My areas of specialism include agri-food studies, global value chain analysis, and the political economy of energy. As well as contributing to the core course for the International Political Economy MA, I will be leading the Masters courses in Global Economic Governance and the International Political Economy of Oil and Gas.”

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The Department of European and International Studies at King’s College London launched in September 2011. It builds on the achievements of European Studies, which since 1992 has earned an internationally-renowned reputation as a dynamic and challenging programme for those who want to deepen their knowledge and understanding of modern Europe.