Cosmopolitan Government in Europe: Citizens and Entrepreneurs in Postnational Politics, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Cosmopolitan Government in Europe

Citizens and Entrepreneurs in Postnational Politics, 1st Edition

By Owen Parker


259 pages

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The invocation of ‘the market’ has been omnipresent in media discussions of ‘crisis Europe’. On the one hand, ‘the market’ is presented as that to which EU member states must collectively respond. It is the very purpose of a post-national government and that which dictates individual and collective identities. The expansion of market is that which guarantees and constitutes peace in Europe. On the other hand, ‘the market’ is that which government must seek to tame. It is the servant of government and ought not be permitted to undermine collective identities and solidarities associated with the juridical imaginary of social contract and sovereign nation-state. It is, from this perspective, the expansion of the social institutions of nation-state into the post-national arena that will constitute a lasting peace in Europe.

Cosmopolitan Government in Europe uses a Foucauldian lens to consider the ethics of the scholarly and institutional discourses associated with these apparently divergent market and legal cosmopolitan visions of Europe. It reflects on attempts to reconcile or move beyond these discourses, particularly through the invocation of more pluralist modes of governance, but claims that such moves have been largely unsuccessful in both practice and theory. It argues that the very ambiguity in the relationship between the ideal subjects that these market and legal visions promote – respectively, post-national ‘entrepreneur’ and ‘citizen’ – is that which permits a space for resistance and politics. Thus, the book argues for a pragmatic politics which is cognizant of the violent potential inherent in any cosmopolitan attempt to govern Europe, while recognising the contemporary dangers associated with the dominance of a market cosmopolitan Europe.


This work is an important and timely intervention in contemporary debates about democratic Europe and its shortcomings and will be of great interest to scholars of international political theory, European studies and international political economy.


'Owen Parker has developed an important, timely and original argument about varieties of ethical reasoning in the area of cosmopolitanism and has shown how the EU project consists of a series of contests around rival cosmopolitanisms. This superb book makes very significant contributions to both international theory and European integration studies.' - Professor Ben Rosamond, University of Copenhagen

'In Cosmopolitan Government in Europe, Owen Parker hits the sweet spot between sophisticated theory and rich empirical analysis. A serious contribution to EU analysis, his Foucauldian take on the relationship between the market and the social in Europe deserves a wide readership among scholars and students of international theory and IPE.' - Daniel Wincott, Blackwell Professor of Law and Society, Cardiff Law School.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Ethics Of Cosmopolitan Government In Europe PART I: MARKET EUROPE 1. Foucault on liberal government 2. The expansion of liberal government PART II: SOCIAL EUROPE 3. Habermas’s ‘constitutional patriotism’ 4. Postnational citizens and their ‘others’ PART III: PLURAL EUROPE 5. The turn to ‘new governance’ 6. Postnational citizen meets postnational entrepreneur Conclusion

About the Author

Owen Parker is a Lecturer in European politics at the University of Sheffield. His work addresses the governance of political economy, security and identity in the EU and has been published in such outlets as Journal of European Public Policy and Journal of Common Market Studies.

About the Series


The Series provides a forum for innovative and interdisciplinary work that engages with alternative critical, post-structural, feminist, postcolonial, psychoanalytic and cultural approaches to international relations and global politics. In our first 5 years we have published 60 volumes.

We aim to advance understanding of the key areas in which scholars working within broad critical post-structural traditions have chosen to make their interventions, and to present innovative analyses of important topics. Titles in the series engage with critical thinkers in philosophy, sociology, politics and other disciplines and provide situated historical, empirical and textual studies in international politics.


We are very happy to discuss your ideas at any stage of the project: just contact us for advice or proposal guidelines. Proposals should be submitted directly to the Series Editors:

‘As Michel Foucault has famously stated, "knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting" In this spirit The Edkins - Vaughan-Williams Interventions series solicits cutting edge, critical works that challenge mainstream understandings in international relations. It is the best place to contribute post disciplinary works that think rather than merely recognize and affirm the world recycled in IR's traditional geopolitical imaginary.’

Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Political Parties
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / General