The authors aim at initiating a dialogue between European integration theory and gender studies. The contributions illustrate if and how gender scholarship has made creative use of integration theories and thus contributes to a vivid theoretical debate. They are designed to make gender scholarship more visible to integration theory and to stimulate the theoretical debate by adding a gender perspective.
The process of European integration has always been accompanied by theory-building. A wide range of integration theories, from classical theories such as federalism, neofunctionalism, and intergovernmentalism to more recent approaches such as multi-level governance, critical theory, neoinstitutionalism, and Europeanization, as well as sociological, legal and social constructivist perspectives, continue to define the theoretical landscape. Despite their diversity, these theories share a basic neglect, i.e. the theoretical implications of the relationship between European integration and the restructuring of gender relations in European member states. At the same time, a rich body of gender studies on the EU and European integration has evolved; yet, this literature has generally neglected to engage with theorizing integration itself. The authors take these blind spots as a starting point and initiate a dialogue between European integration theories and gender studies. Investigating the whole range of integration theory with a gender lens, the authors illustrate if and how gender scholarship has made or can make creative use of integration theories.