Jamal Shahin » Teaching »

The Internal Relations of the European Union: governance in the EU (INRE)

Block 1, Semester 1, Academic year 2012-2013

Content and learning objectives

Course content

All these and more questions will be addressed in ‘The Internal Relations of the EU: governance in the EU’ (hereafter INRE). This course will deepen our understanding of how developments in the EU have changed our perception of democracy and policymaking in the context of the European Information Society policy domain. It does so by focusing on the ‘governance’ turn in literature on the contemporary EU in this policy area.

The module is heavily research-oriented and as such should be considered a work in progress. The three-hour long seminars will be organised in a discussion format, with each participant talking ‘to’ the literature that has been read by everyone in the group.

Part of the course will require group work: students will be put into four groups in the first week of the course and will subsequently work with their colleagues to develop policy ‘dossiers’ and present their findings in the last class. Students will be required – individually – to write final papers related to the topic of new modes of governance in the EU. A study trip to Brussels is organised in the context of this course: we shall spend two days visiting different EU institutions to learn more about policymaking in the EU in the policy area of information society.

By the end of the course, students will:

Study load and time required

It is estimated you will need to allocate 35-45% of your working time as a minimum (i.e. 13-20 hours per week) for this course. This will be spent on preparation for and participation in the group seminars, group work, completing the deliverables for this course, and the study trip. The amount of effort may vary from week to week, but you should manage your time effectively by starting to work on the final assignments by the second or third week of the course.

You are required to read all the articles in the [course schedule][] for each week of the course, and to summarise these texts in ‘QSQ’ papers that are no longer than one page for each article (see [Assessment][] (Section 3) for more details). In addition, you should be constantly filling up your policy ‘dossiers’ on the chosen topic with your colleagues. You should also be thinking about your final paper’s topic, structure and bibliography.

Given the nature of the seminars, participation is compulsory in all the meetings mentioned in the [course schedule][]. A medical certificate or documentation provided by a University official will be required in cases of absence.

Contact and feedback

(See [Assessment][] section below for details on grading)

In addition to the office hours, I am primarily available primarily through email for queries about the course. Please put [INRE] at the beginning of your subject heading if your email relates to the course: failure to do so may delay a response to your question. Feel free to resend your email after five working days if you have not yet received a response. I will use my office hours to try to respond to as many emails as possible.

Please use email sensibly: questions that can be more efficiently dealt with in class should be raised there.

Your QSQs (20% of your final grade) will be graded twice throughout the course. Feedback including grades and comments, will be provided in written form on blackboard two weeks after submission.

Immediate feedback will be given on the presentations: the grade for these will be announced on blackboard within a week after they have taken place.

Feedback on the final papers, including grades and comments, will be provided in written form on blackboard at latest two weeks after submission. The course coordinator will organise a date (most likely to be in the first week of Block 2 of Semester 1) for students to view their papers and receive more detailed feedback if requested.

Course schedule

Unless mentioned below, all classes take place on Fridays between 2pm and 5pm in Bungehuis K.06.

All literature in the list must be read before the class. This is an absolute prerequisite for participation in the seminar: you will be asked to leave the room and be marked as absent if you have not done the work.

Week 1

7 September: Introduction to the course Allocation of groups, EU integration discussion, discussion of European Governance White Paper

Core questions to be addressed:

  1. What is the EU? Who are its members and what institutions comprise the EU?
  2. How was it born? What does it do?
  3. How has policymaking traditionally been carried out in the EU? What has changed in recent years?
  4. What is governance, particularly of the EU?

For background, please read: Wallace, Helen, and William Wallace. 2000. Policy Making in the European Union. Oxford: Oxford University Press, or any subsequent edition for more information on the basics of EU policy-making. Also read: Dinan, Desmond. 1999. Ever Closer Union? 2nd ed: An Introduction to European Integration. 2nd ed. Palgrave Macmillan or Dinan, Desmond. 2000. Encyclopedia of European Union. 6th ed. Palgrave Macmillan.

Week 2

14 September: EU integration and EU Governance literature review (home work - submit QSQs on blackboard, each student to submit one single document of length four pages maximum).

Core questions:

  1. What is an institutionalist theory?
  2. What is the ‘governance approach’?
  3. Are these models better at answering contemporary questions?

Week 3

21 September: Alternatives to the Community Method

Core Questions:

  1. What’s wrong with the Community Method?
  2. How did these new models evolve?
  3. What are networks in EU governance?
  4. Are borders still important in EU policymaking?

Week 4

28 September: Brief history of the European information society; preparation for Brussels visit

NB: QSQs will NOT be required for this week. Instead, you must come prepared for a discussion about potential questions we shall be asking to our hosts in Brussels - based on the literature below. Hint: it would be wise to work in your groups on this, due to the amount of literature required.

Core Questions:

  1. What are the driving principles of the EU’s Information Society Policy, and have these changed at all over time?
  2. What are the differences between the impact of telecommunications (de-)regulation and the impact of the internet on European society/economy/politics?
  3. How are EU information society policies implemented? Is one toolkit used?

Week 5

3-4 October: Brussels visit

Information regarding the trip will be provided separately. In short, on Wednesday afternoon, we shall attend the European Parliament and speak with Marietje Schaake, MEP. On Thursday morning, we shall then have a discussion with staff from the European Commission’s DG CONNECT, who are specialised in our topics of research for this course. On Thursday we shall also hold a briefing session after the trip to the EC.

Week 6

12 October: Dossier and presentation preparation; essay titles (home work)

During this week, you are requested to carry out the following activities:

  1. Finalise your dossiers and be aware of all the documentation therein: complete your summaries of the policy documents and analysis.
  2. Email the course coordinator with a proposal for a title for your essay.

Week 7

19 October: Citizenship and the EU; presentations of policy dossiers and discussion on final papers

Core questions:

  1. What is the relationship between civil society and citizenship?
  2. Who listens to the European citizen?
  3. What role does the citizen have in EU policymaking?

Special information

This course will be run in English.

This course is not taught by a legal scholar: most of the discussions will take place in the context of political innovations.


Course evaluations are an important tool for improving the quality of courses and study programmes. At the end of a teaching period, questionnaires are distributed among the course participants. The results of these questionnaires are discussed by the Programme Committee, and ideas for improvement are communications to the course coordinator. More information on the Programme Committees is available at http://www.student.uva.nl/fgw-oc/start.cfm.

You should not feel as though you have to wait until the end of the course in order to voice any issues that you may have. The course coordinator invites you to engage either during office hours, prior of immediately after a class, or via email to discuss any concerns you may have.

Study material and costs

All study materials for this course are available through the UvA digital library, through subscriptions available to UvA students via the library, on the shelves in one of the UvA libraries, or through the Internet. You are encouraged to develop your own list of reading materials in parallel to those on the list in this course manual. Feel free to share these with the entire group.

Students are strongly encouraged to visit and use the resources physically available in the University’s libraries. Although most material for the course is available on your computer, books should be consulted. High grades are impossible to award for papers written through Worldwide Web resources alone.

A study trip to Brussels takes place from 3 to 4 October. This is compulsory for participants of the course. The Faculty provides a subsidy for the trip (travel and accommodation), but please be aware that you will need your own personal spending money for meals and other expenditures.


Your overall grade for the course must be above a 6.0: this means that individual elements of the course may not reach this threshold.

This course is assessed by several different assignments noted below. In all cases, please note the [document submission][] guidelines below.

  1. A final paper (50% of the final grade, approximately 2000 words (±10%) relating to the topic of the course. The question to be addressed in the paper will be determined by the student in collaboration with the course coordinator. It can be related to one of the core questions raised in each of the seminars. Final papers do not need to be exclusive to each individual student; similar issues can be broached by more than one student. The essay must be within the realms of the course topic (new modes of governance). You are not bound to the policy topic.
    The essays may not be resubmitted after the grade has been given: if you are in doubt about your paper, please contact the course coordinator well in advance of the deadline, preferably with a rough draft. We shall discuss them during our time in Brussels in any case.

  2. A policy ‘dossier’ (20% of the final grade), comprised of collections of policy documents and other source material (including newspaper and journal articles, possibly interviews or other information) on the chosen topic for the course. These will be collated by students in groups. They will be presented digitally to the course coordinator, and will be fully and accurately referenced, with a list of references and a summary document describing the content of the dossier (c. 3000 words) at the beginning. The list of references and the summary document should be printed out and placed in the course coordinator’s on or before the deadline.
    Early versions of the dossiers will be seen prior to/during the study trip; there will be no chance for a third submission of this work.

  3. For each of the ‘literature’ weeks, you will need to submit a ‘QSQ’ (quote, summary, question) paper for each of the articles in the reading list for that week.

    QSQ papers must be prepared for each article listed in the reading in weeks 2, 3 and 7. A QSQ paper requires, for each piece of literature:

    • a key Quote
    • a short Summary of the argument made in the article (i.e. NOT a summary of the article, but a critical analysis of the argument)
    • a Question for discussion in the group

    The QSQ paper may not exceed one page per article (please use standard margins and a font no smaller than size 9). Prepare these assignments with a word processor and bring them to class on paper: you can be asked to hand the assignment in at any time (and will be asked at least twice); this will count for 20% of your final grade.

    These will need to be submitted every week where reading is indicated (unless otherwise stated in the [Course Schedule][]) via blackboard prior to class: you will also need to bring a paper copy along to the seminars in order to facilitate discussion. The paper copies will be graded. If QSQs are not submitted prior to the seminar, a zero will be awarded.

  4. Your engagement with the literature and policy debates will be graded through a final presentation that you will make of your policy dossiers (10%). These should be structured in a way that will enable you to highlight key trends and conflicts in the specific policy area: rather than simply describing policies, you are expected to analyse and draw conclusions as to how this policy issue has evolved over time in a European context. The grading of the presentation will take the following into consideration:

    • Coherence of presentation
    • Fluidity of presentation
    • Analytical skills and the ability to present these clearly
    • Content of presentation
    • Quality of presentation materials
    • Innovation (how you present the topic, whether you stimulate your peers)
    • Response to questions from the audience

    The grade for the presentation will be awarded to the group (one grade will be given to all members), and will take into consideration the deliberations by group members on the course material throughout the course.

Document submission

Documents submitted on paper should conform to the following rules: A4, printed on both sides of the page, with single line spacing. The pages in the document should be attached together in the top left hand corner with a single staple; no binding and no plastic coverings should be used. Only one copy should be provided. As a minimum, the following information should be clearly marked on the front page of the submission:

Written work should be submitted on or before the date specified in the syllabus, in the course coordinator’s in tray next to the European Studies Secretariat (PCH6.48) or given to the instructor immediately prior to class. If you will not be able to submit written work on time, you should notify the course coordinator in advance or as soon as possible. Requests for additional time must be accompanied by documentation from a physician or university official.

A digital copy of all submissions should be provided via Blackboard (‘Ephorus assignment’ for the individual essay), in either RTF or PDF format. This electronic document should be identical to the printed copy.

The penalty for late written work is 0.5 grade-points per day, beginning immediately after the deadline. Computer, transport, and/or printer problems are not a valid excuse for handing in work late. Work overdue for more than one week will not be accepted. Personal problems are only accepted with medical certificate or documentation from a university official.

Deliverables and deadlines

ItemWeightingDate dueLength
Final paper50%19 Oct, 2pm2000 words
QSQ papers20%min. 2x during Weeks 2, 3 and 7 at 5pm1p/article
Policy dossier20%First draft: 3 Oct
Final draft: 12 Oct, 5pm
2000 words summary
plus reference list
Group presentation10%19 Oct, during class10 mins p/group

[Deliverables and deadlines][]