European Union Studies Association Lifetime Achievement Award

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I have learned that I will be receiving the European Union Studies Association (EUSA) Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2019 EUSA International Biennial Conference in Denver next May.

The plenary honoring Schmidt at the conference will include Tanja Börzel (Freie Universität Berlin), Matthias Matthijs (Johns Hopkins University), Kalypso Nicolaïdis (University of Oxford), Fritz Scharpf (Max Planck Institute and recipient of the 2007 EUSA Lifetime Achievement Award), George Ross (Université de Montreal and recipient of 2017 EUSA Lifetime Achievement Award), and Alberta Sbragia (University of Pittsburgh and recipient of 2013 EUSA Lifetime Achievement Award).

More information about the prizes can be found here: https://www.eustudies.org/about/eusa-prizes

The Lifetime Achievement Award honors a scholar in the field of EU studies whose lifetime of research and writing have been important, enduring, and widely felt influences on EU scholarship.

Keynote in Finland

finlandI was at the University of Tampere, Finland, August 27-29 to deliver a keynote presentation entitled “Theorizing the Power of Ideas and Discourse in Governance beyond the Nation-State” for the Sixth Conference on “Power & Governance: Forms, Dynamics, Consequences” at the Institute for Advanced Social Research (IASR). 

The agenda of the conference was to probe whether something general can be said about the forms, dynamics and consequences of power and to study what the alternative ways to approach the issue are and what kind of irreconcilable contradictions there are. Plenary sessions were held on the following topics: power relations, global governance, power and knowledge, and critique of power.

Vivien Schmidt Awarded Chevalier of the Ordre National de la Légion d’honneur

I am deeply honored to have been named Chevalier (Knight) in the French Legion of Honor. The prestigious designation, honoring individuals who have contributed to the advancement of French arts and culture, will be presented at a decoration ceremony in the fall of 2018 by Valéry Freland, Consul General of France in Boston.

The French Legion of Honor is an order of distinction first established by Napoleon Bonaparte in May of 1802. It is the highest decoration bestowed in France.

Guggenheim Fellowship

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Great news! I was just awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for a book on the ‘rhetoric of discontent,’ a transatlantic investigation of the populist revolt against globalization (and Europeanization).

Guggenheim Fellowships are intended for individuals who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts.

Link to Guggenheim Fellows Profile: https://www.gf.org/fellows/all-fellows/vivien-a-schmidt/

Link to article on Pardee School website: Prof. Vivien Schmidt Awarded Guggenheim

Populism, Nationalism, and Democracy

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I am participating this week in the 25th International Conference of Europeanists (March 28-30) at the InterContintal Chicago. The theme of this year’s gathering, organized by the Council for European Studies, is Europe and the World: Mobilities, Values, and Citizenship.

I was honored to be the discussant for Craig Calhoun’s opening keynote speech “Populism, Nationalism, and the Fate of Democracy.” Calhoun is President of the Los Angeles-based Berggruen Institute, which works globally to advance knowledge of great transformations shaping the human future.

Is Differentiated Integration Unavoidable in Europe’s Future?

2018-IdeasLab-Page-HeaderOn February 22, I took part in a panel discussion entitled “Is Differentiated Integration Unavoidable for Europe?” at the CEPS IDEAS LAB 2018 “Europe — Back on Track”, an annual event of the Center for European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels gathering Europe’s top decision makers and thinkers to discuss all the major issues confronting the EU. The EU might now move forward on a number of fronts as indicated in major speeches by President Macron and other European leaders: securing the external border, reforming the governance of the euro and creating a common capacity in the field of defense and external security.

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker opened the debate, to which several of his colleagues contributed together with a number of prominent MEPs and national policy makers. The Foreign Minister of Belgium, Didier Reynders, gave the closing remarks, together with Lilyana Pavlova, the Bulgarian Minister for EU Presidency. Ivan Krastev delivered the final academic lecture.

My panel discussed differentiated integration as one method of striking a balance between unity and asymmetry that also has the merit of preventing political gridlock. At a time when Europe is being buffeted by various countervailing forces, should we expect more inclusivity or differentiated integration in the EU27? How can we accommodate more flexible ways of integration without creating a hard dichotomy and isolating certain member states? Do the EU institutions need to adapt their composition and procedures to accommodate various differentiated integration modes? How can political, legal and administrative unity be assured overall? I was joined by Frank Schimmelfennig, Professor of European Politics, ETH Zürich, and CEPS Researcher Sophia Russack, who moderated. 

Is There a Deficit of Throughput Legitimacy in the EU?

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On February 15, I presented a paper entitled, “Is There a Deficit of Throughput Legitimacy in the EU?” at a conference on “The Future of Constitutional Democracy in Europe – A Legal Assessment” at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. The conference was organized by the European Legal Studies Department and brought together world-leading academics and practitioners to reflect critically yet constructively on the current state of constitutional democracy in the European Union, and its future.

[Download conference program]

2010 Article Ranked Fifth in Web of Science Citation Index

An article that I wrote in 2010 was recently ranked fifth of all articles published in Political Science in the Web of Science citation index between 2010 and 2014 (out of a total of 29,881 articles).

The article, entitled “Taking Ideas and Discourse Seriously: Explaining Change Through Discursive Institutionalism as the Fourth ‘New Institutionalism,” was published in the European Political Science Review in March 2010.

Abstract: All three of the traditionally recognized new institutionalisms – rational choice, historical, and sociological – have increasingly sought to ‘endogenize’ change, which has often meant a turn to ideas and discourse. This article shows that the approaches of scholars coming out of each of these three institutionalist traditions who take ideas and discourse seriously can best be classified as part of a fourth ‘new institutionalism’ – discursive institutionalism (DI) – which is concerned with both the substantive content of ideas and the interactive processes of discourse in institutional context. It argues that this newest of the ‘new institutionalisms’ has the greatest potential for providing insights into the dynamics of institutional change by explaining the actual preferences, strategies, and normative orientations of actors. The article identifies the wide range of approaches that fit this analytic framework, illustrating the ways in which scholars of DI have gone beyond the limits of the traditional institutionalisms on questions of interests and uncertainty, critical junctures and incremental change, norms and culture. It defines institutions dynamically – in contrast to the older neo-institutionalisms’ more static external rule-following structures of incentives, path-dependencies, and cultural framing – as structures and constructs of meaning internal to agents whose ‘background ideational abilities’ enable them to create (and maintain) institutions while their ‘foreground discursive abilities’ enable them to communicate critically about them, to change (or maintain) them. But the article also points to areas for improvement in DI, including the theoretical analysis of processes of ideational change, the use of the older neo-institutionalisms for background information, and the incorporation of the power of interests and position into accounts of the power of ideas and discourse.

Latest Talks and Presentations

Here is a roundup of my latest talks:

On November 1, 2017, I gave a talk at the Center for German and European Studies entitled “What leadership for Germany in the EU, faced with rising populism and euro-fatigue?”

The talk centered around the following questions: What leadership will Germany bring to the EU in coming years, given a weakened Chancellor, a potentially fractious government coalition, and a rising populist opposition in the Bundestag for the first time?  How will Merkel respond to the new French leader’s ideas about deepening integration, in particular on the Eurozone?  How will she deal with the on-going refugee crisis, and the growing divisions between East and Western Europe? How Merkel deals with these challenges may very well determine the future of Europe in the near term.

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On October 12-13, 2017, I presented a paper entitled “Politicization in the EU: Between National Politics and EU Political Dynamics” for the University of Amsterdam Workshop “Transformation or Collapse? Politicization and Integration in Postfunctionalist Times.” This international conference, convened by Jonathan Zeitlin and Francesco Nicoli, dealt with two urgent dilemmas facing the European Union today: integration versus disintegration and positive politicization versus negative politicization. [Download Program]

On October 11, 2017, I delivered the annual  lecture for the International Business Program of the Copenhagen Business School on “Europe’s (Euro) Crisis of Legitimacy.”

Lastly, on October 5-7, 2017, I participated in the WZB Workshop Polarization, institutional design and the future of representative democracy in Berlin, where I presented a paper entitled “The Political Dynamics of EU Intra-Institutional Relations in Response to Crisis:  Toward More or Less EU Legitimacy?”

Angela Merkel Wins a Fourth Term – Interview on BloombergQuint

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I was just interviewed for aa September 25, 2017 news segment on BloombergQuint on the recent elections in Germany, Angela Merkel’s victory, and her upcoming fourth term as Chancellor. You can watch the entire segment below: