Social Mechanisms in the Establishment of the European Economic and Monetary Union
This paper investigates the reasons, the transformative processes and the social mechanisms involved in the establishment of the European economic and monetary union (EMU). Contrary to commonly accepted theories and approaches used to explain institutional change, it argues that the establishment of the EMU has not simply been the product of historical paths, the rational choices of actors, or social construction of new economic ideas and preferences, as new-institutionalists or social constructivists would emphasize, but also and, perhaps, even more importantly, it has been the product of self-fulfilling prophecies that have facilitated and accelerated the process of institutional change. By adopting a Sociology of European Integration perspective, this paper also discusses the role of four crucial forces that initiating a causal chain of social mechanisms have helped in the establishment of the EMU: context-bounded rationality, embodied institutions, reflexivity and double-contingency.
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