European Transnational Social Fields and Identifications
5. European bureaucratic social fields
The term ‘bureaucrat’ is commonly known; it can hold many connotations, but in general it is a neutral definition of someone who is working within an institution of government. But, when attaching the prefix ‘euro-’, the word becomes misleading in a way. Since its emergence, the meaning of the term has varied significantly. It has been acknowledged that the meaning was once attached to civil servants of the EU, to political elites who work and act in Brussels as well as to a non-transparent system of power, which replaced democratic institutions; however, in all contexts, the notion describes the distance between ordinary citizens and the European polity (e.g. Georgakakis and Rowell 2013, p. 3). Who, then, are the Eurocrats, and why is this question important for this study? There are many different approaches to tackle the issue that range from studies of elites, perspectives of international relations, and institutionalisation to the socialisation of individuals into European administrative machinery (extensive review in Georgakakis and Rowell 2013, pp. 3–6). Recent, (and most inspiring) perspectives studied the European bureaucracy as a transnational example of the European bureaucratic field as explored by Pierre Bourdieu (e.g. collection of studies edited by Georgakakis and Rowell 2013). The important contribution of these studies is their breaking with the unified picture of ‘Eurocrats’. It has been argued that building EU institutions as a social field allows to better define EU institutions, their internal dynamics and their relative location in the political system of the European...
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