Skip to content

Édouard Hargrove

GEM-DIAMOND doctoral fellow

ESR 1 – Dissensus over the Rule of Law in Transnational Parliamentary Arenas: The case of the European Parliament

Captivated by the nexus between law and politics, my research focuses on different instances of dissensus over the rule of law within the European Parliament.

Host Institutions

Dissensus over the Rule of Law in Transnational Parliamentary Arenas: The Case of the European Parliament


  • Ramona Coman
  • Didier Georgakakis

Research abstract

This doctoral thesis focuses on recent instances of political dissensus within the European Union surrounding an ambivalent political ideal: the rule of law. A vast literature at the crossroads of law and political science has developed around the emergence and persistence of various issues tied to the rule of law within a number of EU member states. Alongside this burgeoning literature, a parallel stream of research has gathered around the (lack of) responses from various EU institutions by analysing the rationales and consequences of their actions vis-à-vis certain member states.

In contrast to these twin literatures, this thesis focuses on how different issues over the rule of law in member states become politicised at the European level, and more specifically within European Parliament. It tries to uncover the different lines of contention around these rule of law issues, to make sense of the political considerations afforded to different cases, and to establish the reasons why these rule of law issues are perceived as more or less problematic from the perspective of different actors.

The research is premised on the idea that all social phenomena can be given alternative meanings according to people’s beliefs, experiences, backgrounds, interests etc. No matter how objectively-founded some political issue may seem, there is always a subjective or interpretative component that binds itself to it and through which it actually becomes a political issue (that is, an issue that is politically recognised as such). Because of this, the focus of the thesis is not on the actual events across member states that scholars discuss in relation to their own conceptions of the rule of law, but rather on the competing strategies of various EU actors to problematise these issues as such, i.e. as issues pertaining (or not) to the "rule of law". More specifically, it concentrates on the symbolic efforts of opposing actors to (re)define the rule of law and (re)cast certain events in specific ways so as to provoke (or prevent) certain responses at the European level.

Research Question(s)

Which rule of law issues are prioritised within the European Parliament? How do MEPs frame particular events so as to make them politically (un)problematic issues (un)connected to the rule of law? What are the contextual factors that condition these framing processes, hence the dynamics of dissensus, within the European Parliament?
Born and raised in Paris, I am a PhD candidate in political sociology at the Université libre de Bruxelles and the Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, under the co-supervision of Ramona Coman (ULB / IEE) and Didier Georgakakis (Paris I / CoE). Prior to the doctorate, I pursued a Bachelor's degree at the University of Exeter, and then a Master's degree at Sciences Po Paris. My main research interests revolve around the contentious nexus between law and politics. These include judicial politics, judicial nominations, professional associations of lawyers and judges, human rights organisations, the judicialisation of politics, democratic backsliding, political trials, and authoritarian practices in democratic regimes. Besides for this, I am also interested in media sociology and the sociology of expertise.
Morel, C. & Richter, F. (2019). Introduction. Legitimate or effective: the dilemma of all defence cooperation in the 21st century? (E. Hargrove, Trans.). Les Champs de Mars, 32, 7-28.

Hainaut, B. (2019). Franco-American defence cooperation in outer space (E. Hargrove, Trans.). Les Champs de Mars, 32, 29-51.

Deschaux-Dutard, D. (2019). Franco-German military cooperation and European defence after Brexit (E. Hargrove, Trans.). Les Champs de Mars, 32, 53-76.

Pajon, C. (2019). The diversification of Japanese security partnerships: legitimate and effective cooperation? (E. Hargrove, Trans.). Les Champs de Mars, 32, 77-101.