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ValEUR

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François Foret
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This book explores what drives value politics and the way in which it redraws political conflict at the EU level. Based on case studies and analyses of statistical data, the book shows what the uses and roles of values have been at the EU level over the past decades in both market-related policies and in identity, cultural and morality policies. It challenges the common assumption that the latter is more driven by value conflicts. The research shows the intrinsic similarities between all policy areas regarding the agency and limits of values as drivers of change or continuity. It argues that European values are a broad and flexible symbolic repertoire instrumentalised to serve as a resource for mobilisation, legitimation/delegitimation and the conquest and conservation of power.
François Foret
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Since its origins, the European Union (EU) has increasingly relied on prizes to highlight the values and principles channelling European integration. In the last two decades, such symbolic tools of governance have shifted away from the kind of distinctions granted by elites to elites and aiming to honour prominent figures offered as role models mainly in the field of identity, memory and cultural policies. In an increasingly market-oriented Europe, prizes are used as incentives and disciplining instruments to enhance self-compliance of economic and social actors with an ethos of competitiveness and innovation. They work as a magnifying glass of the evolution of the EU towards a government at distance through policy instruments. The focus is on four areas where prizes have multiplied since the 2000s: research and innovation, economic governance, territorial and environmental policies, and communication policies. The article draws on a qualitative analysis of a corpus of ninety-one prizes, institutional documentation, parliamentary debates and media controversies related to prizes.
François Foret
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The conclusion synthetises findings of the collective reflection regarding the definition of values; their impact; their continuity and stability over time; their conservative or transformative effects (a factor strongly correlated with the actors that mobilize it); their distribution between materialist or post-materialist incentives; their political affiliation between right and left; their relation to religion; their autonomy and the way they display the tension between affirmation of the Self and community-building and contribute to draw boundaries in a constantly changing game of opening and closure. In short, the uses and effects of European values are framed by the characteristics of the EU governance, especially by the absence of a strong symbolic centre able to enforce political and policy narratives, but do not differ substantially from value politics at the national or global levels. Some transversal conclusions emerge from the various contributions to the book regarding the definition of values; their impact; their continuity and stability over time; their conservative or transformative effects, a factor strongly correlated with the actors that mobilise it; their distribution between materialist or post-materialist incentives; their political affiliation between right and left; their relation to religion; their autonomy and the way they display the tension between affirmation of the Self and community-building and contribute to draw boundaries in a constantly changing game of opening and closure. Overall, European politics appear as a singular but not specific field as the political uses of values.
Redefinitions of EU borders (enlargements, Brexit), geopolitical challenges (conflicts, migrations, terrorism, environmental risks) and the economic and financial crises have triggered debates on the common values that hold European countries and citizens together, justify public action and ensure the sustainability of European governance. This book discusses the genesis of and increasing references to "European values", their appropriation by diverse groups of actors and their impact on public action. It argues that European values are a broad and flexible symbolic repertoire, instrumental to serving diverging ends, and a resource for both negotiation and conflicts. Looking at the broader picture, the book reflects on the role of values in the institutionalization of the EU as a political order and paves the way to an assessment of its singularity in comparison with other polities across time and space. This text will be of key interest to scholars, students and practitioners in EU politics, comparative politics, IR, public policy, sociology and cultural studies.