The Political Culture(s) of the European Union

This series of lectures by visiting European officials and scholars is organized by Vivien Schmidt, Jean Monnet Professor of European Integration and director of the Center for International Relations at Boston University. The lectures explore the diversity of political perceptions and traditions among the citizens and member-states of the European Union, addressing philosophical issues as well as empirical ones. They consider the creative tensions at the heart of Europe across a wide range of domains. In particular, however, the series of discussions focus on the political-economic cultures of Europe. The philosophical issues focus around the question: What is “liberalism”? Is it a purely economic doctrine? Or is it also a set of political values related to the acceptance of a pluralistic approach to deciding the kinds of political-economic and socioeconomic policies of the European Union? The empirical questions focus on how the European Union’s economic liberalism has been understood in different European Union member-states—whether as a good thing, freeing up markets, unleashing the creative potential of labor, and encouraging the innovative forces of business, or as a bad thing, undermining social policies, jeopardizing worker security, and reducing the availability of public services.