Crisis, Contestation and Social Order in Europe: A Sympoietic Analysis
Europe is facing multiple existential crises at once. I argue that these crises are rooted in larger, older patterns of structural contestation that have always animated the EU. Drawing from these patterns, I contend that there are at least two conceptions of social order at work within the EU – an autopoietic model based on bounded hierarchy and a sympoietic model based on decentralization and compromise. I argue that the autopoietic aspects of the Union, and neo-liberal representative democracy in particular, continually produce systemic crises. At the same time, sympoietic practices of inter-institutional adjustment allow us to weather such challenges, albeit imperfectly. Ultimately, I conclude that escaping the cycle of structural crisis requires moving more definitively towards sympoiesis by radically decentralizing and democratizing political and economic power in Europe.