Chapter 4: Teaching about contemporary Europe
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The term 'contemporary European studies' has become a conventional way of referring to the interdisciplinary social scientific study of Europe and in particular the process of European integration since the middle of the twentieth century. The challenge of teaching in this field can be illustrated by thinking what the political sociology of the US would look like if each of the states had significantly different political systems (constrained only by the requirement of conformity to democracy and the rule of law), and radically different histories, political cultures and media systems, and widely varying relations and attitudes to Washington. There is the further problem that the political structures of the EU are hard to describe in the conventional terms of parliamentary and presidential regimes. The composition of the 'government' is highly diffuse and the 'federal' institutions, the supreme court and the central bank, are circumscribed in their competence and also, in the case of the bank, its geographical range across the member states, since its role is limited to the Eurozone.

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