German EuropeI have just finished reading German sociologist Ulrich Beck’s German Europe, which I was invited to review for European Political Science. Clearly, I can’t give away the contents of my forthcoming review, but I can say that the book is an intriguing read. The title, designed for German audiences, is misleading and is certainly not intended as a provocative boast. Always a student of modernisation and its effects on society, Beck has consistently argued that the twin processes of modernisation and globalisation bring with them risks that go beyond the traditional boundaries of nation states and social classes. Such threats as radioactivity, pollution, climate change and terrorism can only be effectively met through joint efforts involving international communities and all classes and are therefore socially constructive. Beck’s basic thesis in this slim, but rich, volume is that the current euro-zone crisis and the tensions and divisions it has brought to the European Union project could, and should, be regarded as a socially constructive challenge.