By Joel T. Shelton
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Extra resources for Conditionality and the Ambitions of Governance: Social Transformation in Southeastern Europe
According to the ‘external incentives model’, ‘Europeanization’ is ‘a process in which states adopt EU rules’ (Schimmelfennig and Sedelmeier 2005a: 7). Rule adoption requires ‘the authoritative decision of the target government, which seeks to balance EU, domestic, and other international pressures in order to maximize its own political benefits’ (2005a: 12). Domestic political space is thus a marketplace of interest-based bargaining, characterized by a status quo of institutional rules based on an existing configuration of interests; the status quo is ‘conceived as a “domestic equilibrium” reflecting the current distribution of preferences and bargaining power in domestic society and, possibly, the constellation of bargaining power between international and domestic actors and different international actors promoting divergent rules’ (2005a: 11).
Conditionality aims to constrain, evoke, or remake these dimensions, encouraging persons to take up different subject positions as adaptable, life-time learner, mobile worker, entrepreneurial bearer of human capital, rational, efficient administrator, and tolerant, inclusive citizen. To paraphrase Foucault, governance cannot be reduced to a theory of right or the application of law – conditionality as a technique of governance is concerned with the conduct of conduct. The claim is not that all such interventions succeed – merely that they are integral to the ambition of consolidating a cohesive political economy of Europe capable of delivering prosperity, Introduction: Conditionality in Crisis?
5 The ambitions of conditionality A central claim of this book is that conditionality is best understood as a contemporary technique of political-economic governance – a set of practices (chiefly: prioritization, programming, and evaluation) aimed at consolidating a particular ‘vision’ of political-economic life. In much the same way that a set of political and economic ideas known as ‘neofunctionalism’ provided a rationale for ever-intensified European integration via ‘spillover’, conditionality in its latest phase is substantially informed by a neoliberal understanding of political-economic life,4 which entails particular ontological claims about the state, subject, and society (Brown 2005) that are embedded in the EU’s priorities, membership requirements, and the aims of EU-funded programming designed to prepare candidate states for meeting the obligations of membership.