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A Political Sociology of European Democracy. 2 A Political Sociology of European Democracy Week 4 Lecture 2 Lecturer Paul Blokker.

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Presentation on theme: "A Political Sociology of European Democracy. 2 A Political Sociology of European Democracy Week 4 Lecture 2 Lecturer Paul Blokker."— Presentation transcript:

1 A Political Sociology of European Democracy

2 2 A Political Sociology of European Democracy Week 4 Lecture 2 Lecturer Paul Blokker

3 3 The Democratic Deficit: Formal and Informal Aspects –Input democracy and output democracy –Civil society involvement in the EU Introduction Governo Locale

4 4 Introduction Governo Locale

5 5 Introduction Governo Locale Announcement: Examination -The student will be evaluated at the end of the course by means of a written essay, to be handed in at the end (deadline: 30 May, to be handed in by , by 17:00 pm); -The written essay will be of a minimum of words, and needs to contain a bibliography with at least 10 academic resources.

6 6 Introduction Governo Locale Announcement: Examination -The essay needs to address a theme related to democracy in or of Europe. -The essay needs to be set up in a clearly structured way, with a clear introduction with an outline of the paper, a convincing argument in the middle part, and succinct conclusions (including own opinion).

7 7 Introduction Governo Locale Announcement: Workshop -In the first week of June, we will hold a half- day workshop on Postnational Democracy. Invited speakers are: - prof. Jiri Priban, Cardiff University prof. William Outhwaite, Newcastle University. The workshop will substitute for normal class hours. Probable date is Tuesday 5 June.

8 8 European Democracy and Civil Society –The increased emergence of a Political Europe has made a democratic deficit more visible; –Output democracy seems insufficient to stem the critique on a democratic deficit; –Input democracy – if understood as representative politics through parliaments – suffers from the declining standing of parliaments and party politics, and a lack of direct civic engagement. Introduction Governo Locale

9 9 European Democracy and Civil Society –Before the late 1990s, the European project was legitimated by a permissive consensus, that is, citizens given the political elites a mandate for issues of problem-solving; –Most researchers therefore analysed societal participation in EU governance … from a functional, output-oriented point of view investigating interest groups contribution to effective problem-solving and governance for the people (Finke 2007: 4) Introduction Governo Locale

10 10 European Democracy and Civil Society –The increasingly perceived democratic deficit has led to a shift of attention towards input- oriented views, based on the idea of authentic participation and governance by the people; –On this view, the parliamentarization of the EU would not be sufficient for a democratization of European structures Introduction Governo Locale

11 11 European Democracy and Civil Society –Civil society involvement is now understood as a significant way to counter the democratic deficit; –Civil society involvement is indeed the professed purpose of strategies of good governance and deliberative method. Civil Society Governo Locale

12 12 European Democracy and Civil Society –One definition of civil society is: Civil society refers to the realm of interaction, institutions, and social cohesion that sustains public life outside the spheres of the state and economy (Encyclopedia of Social Theory) Governo Locale Civil Society

13 13 European Democracy and Civil Society –There is, however, no consensus on the exact meaning of civil society: 1. An oppositional perspective that identifies civil society with autonomous and distinct spheres of state and civil society, locating civil society opposite to the state (Locke); 2. An integrative approach emphasizes the associative relation between society and the state. Involvement of civil society has a legitimizing and controlling function (Montesquieu, Hegel). Governo Locale Civil Society

14 14 European Democracy and Civil Society –Civil society generally involves: - a tripartite framework of civil society, the state, and the economy; - individual rights as a protection of citizenship (private and public autonomy); - social solidarity; - social plurality; - the public sphere and political participation. (Cohen & Arato 1988) Governo Locale Civil Society

15 15 European Democracy and Civil Society –On the European level, the virtue of civil society is supposed to lie in: its potential to connect a diversity of interests and groups to European policy- making; the enhancement of political participation by non-political actors; Governo Locale Civil Society

16 16 European Democracy and Civil Society –Since the mid-1990s, EU-society relations are increasingly discussed; –The ECs White Paper on Governance explicitly promoted improvements of European governance; –The European Convention included civil society representation in the deliberative process; Governo Locale Civil Society

17 17 European Democracy and Civil Society Today, political leaders throughout Europe are facing a real paradox. On the one hand, Europeans want them to find solutions to the major problems confronting our societies. On the other hand, people increasingly distrust institutions and politics or are simply not interested in them. (White Paper on Governance, 2001) Governo Locale Civil Society

18 18 European Democracy and Civil Society The problem is acknowledged by national parliaments and governments alike. It is particularly acute at the level of the European Union. Many people are losing confidence in a poorly understood and complex system to deliver the policies that they want. The Union is often seen as remote and at the same time too intrusive. (White Paper on Governance, 2001) Governo Locale Civil Society

19 19 European Democracy and Civil Society The White Paper proposes opening up the policy- making process to get more people and organisations involved in shaping and delivering EU policy. It promotes greater openness, accountability and responsibility for all those involved. This should help people to see how Member States, by acting together within the Union, are able to tackle their concerns more effectively. (White Paper on Governance, 2001) Governo Locale Civil Society

20 20 European Democracy and Civil Society - The White Paper emphasized strongly the role of civil society in the implementation of good governance, that was to function by openness, participation, accountability, effectiveness and coherence; - The White Paper, and particularly its focus on participatory democracy and civil society, has since been widely perceived and intensely debated in a scientific debate of civil society involvement in the EU. Governo Locale Civil Society

21 21 European Democracy and Civil Society Two approaches in scholarly debates to civil society involvement: 1.Output-oriented approaches focus on governance and problem-solving; 2.Input-oriented approaches focus on civic participation and voice. Governo Locale Civil Society

22 22 European Democracy and Civil Society 1.The output-oriented governance approach sees governance as a process and state whereby public and private actors engage in international regulation of societal relationships and conflicts (Kohler-Koch and Rittberger 2006). - The emphasis is on the inclusion of non-state actors in policy-making; - The objectives are to contribute to more effective policy-making. Governo Locale Civil Society

23 23 European Democracy and Civil Society 1.Output-oriented governance approach - The emphasis is on participatory governance - Groups or stakeholders to be included are: business, social partners, welfare organizations, consumer, women, and environmental groups. - The rationale lies in intelligent democracy: enhancement of information on the willingness to comply, consideration of citizens motives. Governo Locale Civil Society

24 24 European Democracy and Civil Society 2.Input-oriented governance approach - An emphasis on civic participation and authentic governance by the people as a good in its own right; - An emphasis on issues of popular legitimacy and popular representation. Governo Locale Civil Society

25 25 European Democracy and Civil Society (Kohler Koch 2010) –The main emphasis in European governance is, however, on output-oriented participation of different groups and stakeholders; –Less attention is paid to representation: Whom are the participating groups/collective actors actually representing?; Governo Locale Civil Society

26 26 European Democracy and Civil Society –The discourse of the European Commission is oscillating between input- and output- oriented conceptions of civil society; –The White Paper seems to explicitly try to resolve issues of effective policy-making and problem-solving; –The Commission has increasingly sought to include groups for this purpose (common market, migration, social policy) Governo Locale Civil Society

27 27 European Democracy and Civil Society –The issue of representation of societal actors is less at stake. After all, European politics disposes already of various forms of representation: member states in the Council, the electorate in the EP, functional interests in the European Economic and Social Committee, subnational interests in the Committee of Regions (Kohler-Koch 2010: 102). Governo Locale Civil Society

28 28 European Democracy and Civil Society –The governance approach promoted by the Commission was attractive for two reasons: A commitment to the improvement of governance would enhance the legitimacy of the European Commission; Governance and civil society were fashionable concepts (governance addressing malfunctioning governance, civil society addressing malfunctioning democracy). Governo Locale Civil Society

29 29 European Democracy and Civil Society –The White Paper on Governance: - Deep skepticism towards the problem- solving capacity of expert-based policy- making: call for more open government; - Growing dissatisfaction with parliamentary democracy: call for direct participation of stakeholders Governo Locale Civil Society

30 30 European Democracy and Civil Society –The White Paper on Governance (2001): - Stakeholders were to include target groups, civil society actors, experts - a new mode of governance was to guarantee wider involvement, redress inequalities, increase collective learning, and enhance vertical and horizontal articulation in the policy process (Kohler-Koch 2010: 103) Governo Locale Civil Society

31 31 European Democracy and Civil Society –The White Paper on Governance (2001): - The White Paper put stakeholders at the forefront, and endorsed a reasoned discourse between experts and lay people to support the effectiveness and legitimacy of policy-making and a wider public debate on European issues to erase the deficit of mutual awareness between civil society and public authorities (Kohler Koch 2010: 103) Governo Locale Civil Society

32 32 European Democracy and Civil Society –Kohler Koch argues there are however durable tensions in the governance approach in particular with democratic representation; –This comes through in particular with regard to two dimensions, that is, the division of power, and direct deliberative polyarchy (DDP) Governo Locale Civil Society

33 33 European Democracy and Civil Society - Two dimensions show that popular representation is not of importance: Division of powers: The Commission is not a representative institution, and its consultation of stakeholders is merely in the area of initiating and executing policy, not legislation; Directly deliberative polyarchy (DDP): a system of direct involvement of stakeholders, in which emphasis is on experimentation, but no attention is paid to power differences, irreconcilable interests, the safeguarding of citizens democratic rights. Governo Locale Civil Society

34 34 European Democracy and Civil Society -The representativeness of the stakeholders involved is then largely unclear -Two criteria seem important: -Descriptive (e.g., from different member states) -Substantive (the representation of distinct interests, groups, minorities, etc.) Governo Locale Civil Society

35 35 European Democracy and Civil Society Governo Locale Civil Society

36 36 European Democracy and Civil Society - According to Kohler-Koch in the Commissions approach, key problems remain unresolved: - participation - problems of collective action; - absence of clear benchmarks for representativity and selectivity in the interaction between EU institutions and interest groups. Governo Locale Civil Society


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