Rethinking democracy and the European Union

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Publication Date 2011
ISBN 978-0-415-60557-1 (hbk); 978-0-415-69072-0 (pbk)
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While the Lisbon treaty was meant to clarify the European Union’s role and political identity, it remains a challenge for politicians and decision-makers to define. Rethinking Democracy and the European Union looks at both the concept of the EU as a political system, and analyses the meaning and status of democracy in Europe today.

This book draws upon leading scholars and practitioners from the RECON project (Reconstituting Democracy in Europe) to frame and analyse a range of institutional realms and policy fields, including constitutionalisation, representative developments, gender politics, civil society and public sphere, identity, and security and globalisation. Drawing together these strands, the book questions whether EU politics require a new theory of democracy, and evaluates the relationship between union and state, and the possible future of post-national democracy. Lucid and accessible, this book is at the forefront of the intellectual debate over the character of the EU, presenting research, theory and analysis on a critical political issue of our time.

Rethinking Democracy and the European Union will be of interest to students and scholars of democracy, European Union politics and international relations.


1. Introduction: reconfiguring European democracy - Erik Oddvar Eriksen and John Erik Fossum
2. Europe’s challenge: reconstituting Europe or reconfiguring democracy? - Erik Oddvar Eriksen and John Erik Fossum
3. A democratic audit framework - Christopher Lord
4. Democracy and constitution-making in the European Union - John Erik Fossum and Agustín José Menéndez
5. The EU polity and its pattern of representation: the multilevel parliamentary field - John Erik Fossum and Ben Crum
6. Gender, justice and democracy in the European Union - Yvonne Galligan
7. Civil society, public sphere and democracy in the EU - Ulrike Liebert
8. Democratic challenges to the EU's foreign and security policy - Helene Sjursen
9. Situating the demos of a European democracy - Magdalena Góra, Zdzislaw Mach and Hans-Jörg Trenz
10. Cosmopolitanisation in Europe and beyond - John Erik Fossum
11. Conclusion - Erik Oddvar Eriksen and John Erik Fossum

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