Abstract

Idealism, realism and western European integration. A case study"In this article I employ a sort of narrative policy analysis in order to evaluate the idealistic turn in integration studies. I investigate those policy scripts about European monetary integration and German reunification that were written and enacted by French and German policy-makers in the period from 1986 to 1990. Two theoretically significant questions are at the center of this investigation. First, was the relationship between France and Germany at the time a security community, in which the attitude of the Hobbesian gladiator had disappeared from the foreign policy repertoires of the two countries? Second, was the debate about European monetary integration only about welfare, or is there any evidence that power political considerations entered into the policy deliberations? In my case study I find that both Hobbesian fear and traditional power political reflexes influenced policy choices regarding integration. The idealistic turn in integration studies, so my conclusion, is premature."