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European Parties and the European Integration Process, 1945–1992


Edited By Lucia Bonfreschi, Giovanni Orsina and Antonio Varsori

The present volume brings together three different traditions of historical study: national politics, European integration, and political parties. Since the 1980s, there has been an enlargement of the scope of political history. This attempt to transcend national boundaries can intersect with the new strands of European integration history, paying much more attention to transnational perspectives and forces. The chapters comprised in this book attempt to forge a dialogue between these new methodologies and the study of political parties in manifold ways. Firstly, in the study of party foreign and European politics – how parties have perceived themselves as belonging not only to the national political game, but also to a wider transnational, and European one. Secondly, party history can transcend national boundaries through the study of international and European party cooperation. Thirdly, it can offer worthwhile avenues of study on how political families deal with European integration not along ideological cleavages but along national ones. This volume fills a crucial gap of European historiography by comparing parties’ discourses/platforms/policies on European integration and by developing national, comparative and transnational approaches.
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Lucia BONFRESCHI, Giovanni ORSINA, and Antonio VARSORI

This book brings together three different traditions of historical study and is centred respectively on national politics, European integration, and political parties.

Since the 1980s – in the Italian and French cases1 – there has been much debate among “national” political historians concerning transnational/comparative history/histoire croisée. During the last decade this discussion has become quite lively in Anglo Saxon and German scholarship too.2

This debate intersects with that of a modified notion of politics: from politics to “the political”.3 This second notion is not only much wider, bringing within its scope phenomena that a more traditional idea of politics would exclude, but it also has a much stronger social and cultural dimension (linguistic turn, debate in the public sphere, Begriffsgeschichte, emphasis on communication,4 etc.). It is much more loosely connected with national political and institutional environments, and therefore is a better fit when it comes to discussing transnational/comparative history/histoire croisée.

This debate also tackles a more theoretical political history. Both the widening of the scope from politics to “the political” and the switch from national to transnational/comparative history/histoire croisée are pushing ← 19 | 20 → scholars to studying historical objects that are not already “out there”, but must – to a certain extent – be theoretically built up.

Both the enlargement of the scope of political history and its attempt to transcend national boundaries must be considered good news. To a certain...

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