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Unwrapping the European social model$
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Amparo Serrano Pascual and Maria Jepsen

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9781861347985

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861347985.001.0001

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The concept of the ESM and supranational legitimacy-building1

The concept of the ESM and supranational legitimacy-building1

(p.25) One The concept of the ESM and supranational legitimacy-building1
Unwrapping the European social model

Maria Jepsen

Amparo Serrano Pascual

Policy Press

This chapter aims to discuss the concept of the European social model (ESM) as it is understood in the academic literature and as it occurs in the discourse of the European Union (EU) institutions. The concept is analysed and deconstructed in order to identify the main understandings and various dimensions of the model in question. The second section summarises, classifies and discusses the ways in which the ESM is most frequently construed and proposes a new approach to its understanding. The third section examines the concept of the ESM as a political project and argues that it is a key factor in legitimising the European institutions. The conclusion reached is that the polysemy surrounding the concept might be explained by its rhetorical use by supranational institutions as a means of gaining and negotiating political legitimacy, while it is also the result of the complex status of the European arena.

Keywords:   Europe, social model, polysemy, rhetoric, politics, European Union, sociology

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