Neofunctionalism & Regional Integration

What is neofunctionalism?  

Neofunctionalism is a theory of international relations introduced by Ernst B. Haas in ‘The Uniting of Europe: Political, Social and Economic Forces 1950-1957’. His goals were to give an explanation to a regional integration of Europe after the World War Two. It became popular in the 1950s and 1960s, obsolete in the 1970s, and virtually disappeared in the 1980s and 1990s.

Characteristics of neofunctionalism include:   the ‘Spillover effect’ high and low politics.   The spillover effect is the notion that integration between states in one economic sector will create strong incentives for integration in further sectors, in order to fully capture the perks of integration in the sector in which it started. And there are two types : functional and political.   The term high politics covers all matters that are vital to the state’s survival: namely national and international security concerns while low politics is the opposite. (explain: for example   US would have gone to war over a bomb threat, but would’ve ignored a boycott over the Olympic Games)

Differences Between Neofunctionalism and Functionalism

‘Functionalism aims   to form a social-psychological consensus at the popular level, neo-functionalism only wants to bring about elite socialisation. This gives neo-functionalism a more pluralist character as compared to functionalism because it still leaves some space for conflict. While functionalism wanted to achieve substantial community, neo-functionalism limited itself to a procedural consensus. This elite socialisation is achieved via a process of engrenage - bureaucratic interpenetration. This last term should however be defined in a broad sense, since it not only concerns the political bureaucratic elites, but also social and economic elites. And when speaking about a political elite, this only concerns political elites operating on a decentralised level. National political and administrative elites are no longer the...