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Title: European integration reassessed : a grounded theory approach
Author: Howell, K. E.
Awarding Body: Bournemouth University
Current Institution: Bournemouth University
Date of Award: 1998
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This thesis investigates the mechanics and predominant theories (neo-functionalism and intergovernmentalism) at work in the process of European integration. Indeed, it provides an illustration of the difficulties in achieving the harmonisation of Member State legislation and identifies the intricacies and practicalities of successful decision-making in the European Union (EU). In the aftermath of the Single European Act (SEA), the beginnings of the Single European Market (SEM) and the Maastricht Treaty, it has become evident that financial service sectors need to involve themselves in the creation of the EU. Through grounded theory methodology, an empirical study of the European life insurance industry in general and of the Third Life Assurance Directive in particular, this thesis investigates the extent of sector involvement in the EU's decision-making processes and in doing so, critically analyses theoretical understandings of European integration. Grounded theory methodology is illustrated by the thesis in the following ways. First, through a comparative analysis which was achieved through the open coding (conceptualisation, categorisation and dimensionalisation) of individual Member States' life insurance regulations. Open coding leads to the formulation of a regulation table and matrix. Further coding, through a survey of Member State life insurance industries, refined and verified the matrix. This investigation raised questions as to how the legislative differences (that underpin regulatory structures) between Member States may be resolved. Secondly, through an interview programme, process was verified and illustrated through a series of models. The tables, models and the matrix provide the building blocks of the substantive theory. Thirdly, axial coding is illustrated by the matrix and models fitting together around the core category of European integration. The core category was identified through selective coding and is the category around which sub-categories are integrated. Axial coding draws all parts of the analysis together: it is the pivot or the axis of theory building. Finally, substantive theory is formulated through grounded theory techniques in relation to the formal theories of neo-functionalism and intergovernmentalism; this allows a reassessment of European integration and provides a clearer understanding of the formal theories.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Economics