British Journal of Political Science

Research Article

A Postfunctionalist Theory of European Integration: From Permissive Consensus to Constraining Dissensus

Liesbet Hooghe and Gary Marks*


Preferences over jurisdictional architecture are the product of three irreducible logics: efficiency, distribution and identity. This article substantiates the following claims: (a) European integration has become politicized in elections and referendums; (b) as a result, the preferences of the general public and of national political parties have become decisive for jurisdictional outcomes; (c) identity is critical in shaping contestation on Europe.


* Department of Political Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the Free University of Amsterdam (email: and Earlier drafts of this article were presented at the Free University of Amsterdam, the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington, D.C., 2005, the Steiner discussion group at the University of North Carolina, the University of Antwerp, Bremen University, the University of Edinburgh, Leiden University, the Max Planck Institut in Köln, New York University, Pompeu Fabra University, Sciences Po in Paris, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Washington, and the University of Zurich. The authors are grateful for comments by participants at these seminars and would especially like to thank Tim Büthe, James Caporaso, Ben Crum, Amitai Etzioni, Lawrence Ezrow, Nicolas Jabko, Karl Kaltenhaler, Hanspeter Kriesi, Ivan Llamazares, Catherine de Vries, Andreas Nölke, Henk Overbeek, Arjan Schakel, Philippe Schmitter, Jacques Thomassen, Milada Vachudova and participants of the Steiner seminar. The authors are responsible for any remaining errors and inconsistencies. [Comments on this article by Philippe Schmitter, by Tanja A. Börzel and Thomas Risse, and by Hanspeter Kriesi are being published by Cambridge University Press in 2008 online at doi: 10.1017/S0007123408000483, doi: 10.1017/S000712340800046X and doi: 10.1017/S0007123408000471 respectively, and in British Journal of Political Science, 39 (2009). Ed.]