The aim of this article is to sketch a phenomenological theory of political institutions and to apply it to some objections and questions raised by Pierre Manent about the project of the European Union and more specifically the question of “European Construction”, i.e. what is the aim of the European Project. Such a theory of political institutions is nested within a broader phenomenological account of institutions, dimensions of which I have tried to elaborate elsewhere. As a working conceptual delineation, we can describe institutions as (relatively) stable meaning structures. As such, the definition encompasses phenomena like the European Commission, Belgium, marriage, the Dollar, the Labour Party, but also political subjects themselves. In order to develop said theory of institutions, I will draw primarily upon resources in the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and John Searle.
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- phenomenology, social ontology, Europe, institutions, Merleau-Ponty, John Searle