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There has been a lot of talk about the European Union's so-called 'democratic deficit', by which is meant its lack of legitimacy in the eyes of its citizens. This book provides a critical analysis of the democratic stalemate in European politics. It argues that the root of the 'democratic deficit' has more to do with the domestic political fields of the Union's member-states and the structure of the evolving European political field than with the relationships between supranational institutions. The book analyses the complex ways 'Europe' is integrated into domestic politics and shows how domestic political fields and cultures have prevented deepening integration. As a result of the formation of a European political field, political resources in European 'postnational' and 'postabsolutist' polities are being redistributed. The theory of structural constructivism proposed fuses French structural theories of politics and a 'bottom-up' approach to European integration. The book examines the relationship between French political traditions and the construction of a European security structure from the point of view of identity politics and the French post-imperialist syndrome. The educational and social homogeneity of French civil servants provides a political resource that certain individuals can use in Brussels, influencing the direction and form of European integration. Studying legislative legitimacy in the European Parliament elections, the book highlights that intellectuals are important players in French politics: the politics of the street has always been a key part of French political life.

Abstract only
Shivdeep Grewal

Derrida, 2003 ). 1 The siege model is considered in the following section. One outcome of lifeworld colonisation identified by Habermas is the ‘withdrawal of legitimation’ ( 1995 : 143, 1998b : 333) from the state. It is widely cited as a consequence of the EU’s ‘democratic deficit’, evident in the widespread decline of the ‘permissive consensus’, a perception of European integration as an innocuously technical, rather than political, endeavour. Other signs of lifeworld colonisation/the democratic deficit can be

in Habermas and European integration
Abstract only
Derek Birrell

distinctive measures. Some divergent policy proposals emerged in 2006–07, to act as incentives for the political parties to move towards agreement and restoring devolution. Failings of direct rule It is also possible to highlight some of the limitations and failings of direct rule in practice. • The democratic deficit: The main criticism of direct rule was that it represented a democratic deficit. This meant a denial of selfgovernment over transferred matters as the decisions were not taken by local politicians with local knowledge. The large size of the public sector also

in Direct rule and the governance of Northern Ireland
Open Access (free)
Francisco E. González
Desmond King

, confirmed these values, while the other Western powers’ post-war infirmity made the United States the key Western defender against communism. President Ronald Reagan articulated the keystone of his administration’s foreign policy as the defeat of the ‘evil empire’, Soviet communism. These external postures were accompanied by foreign scrutiny and criticism of the United States’ own democratic practices toward minorities and people of colour. Maintaining the United States’ integrity abroad necessitated remedying its own democratic deficit; this duality illustrates the

in Democratization through the looking-glass
Elizabeth Meehan
Fiona Mackay

voluntary activity in Ireland from the end of eighteenth century which intensified in Northern Ireland in the second half of the twentieth century. The significance of the voluntary and community sector in policy-making is connected to sectarianism in local formal politics, the ‘democratic deficits’ of direct rule by Westminster and the conditions for receipt of funding from the

in Everyday life after the Irish conflict
Abstract only
The financialisation of Ireland and the roots of austerity
Conor McCabe

on financial administration and property speculation which used the full power of the Irish state to protect itself from its own profit-seeking strategies. These interests cross over naturally into the political arena – economic power, after all, is rarely monogamous – and are made real not only through the actions and ambitions of the actors on this stage, but also through the state apparatus itself. The democratic deficit within the Irish state did not begin in 2008, but the events which emanated from that year brought it into sharp and depressing focus. ‘The

in Ireland under austerity
Tom Gallagher

for the increasingly ineffectual character of democratic party government. But one thing is clear: it is virtually impossible for parties to promote EU policies and benefit electorally. EU agricultural, justice and social affairs policies generate incomprehension and hostility as do the sweeping ways in which the EU is seen to exercise its regulatory powers. The EU’s fabled democratic deficit is acknowledged as a problem by many Eurocrats. But there is no desire to give voters a greater role in influencing EU powers, nor do the successive treaty changes ever reveal

in Europe’s path to crisis
On the sociological paradoxes of weak dialectical formalism and embedded neoliberalism
Darrow Schecter

Modernity (New York: Hill & Wang, 1st American edn, 1992). 18 These issues are discussed with clarity by Jamie Peck in Constructions of Neoliberal Reason (Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 2010), and in the chapters in Jonathan Metzger, Philip Allmendinger, and Stijn Oosterlynck (eds), Planning Against the Political:  Democratic Deficits in European Territorial Governance (London: Routledge, 2015). 19 Paul Cartledge offers some interesting thoughts on this matter in the epilogue to his Democracy: A Life (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), pp. 305–​13. 20 For an

in Critical theory and sociological theory

This book addresses the question of political legitimacy in the European Union from the much-neglected angle of political responsibility. It develops an original communitarian approach to legitimacy based on Alasdair MacIntyre's ethics of virtues and practices, that can be contrasted with prevalent liberal-egalitarian and neo-republican approaches. The book argues that a ‘responsibility deficit’, quite distinct from the often discussed ‘democratic deficit’, can be diagnosed in the EU. This is documented in chapters that provide in-depth analysis of accountability, transparency and the difficulties associated with identifying responsibility in European governance. Closing this gap requires going beyond institutional engineering. It calls for gradual convergence towards certain core social and political practices and for the flourishing of the virtues of political responsibility in Europe's nascent political community. Throughout the book, normative political theory is brought to bear on concrete dilemmas of institutional choice faced by the EU during the recent constitutional debates.

Between promise and practice

Whether called pressure groups, NGOs, social movement organisations or organised civil society, the value of ‘groups’ to the policy process, to economic growth, to governance, to political representation and to democracy has always been contested. However, there seems to be a contemporary resurgence in this debate, largely centred on their democratising potential: can groups effectively link citizens to political institutions and policy processes? Are groups an antidote to emerging democratic deficits? Or do they themselves face challenges in demonstrating their legitimacy and representativeness? This book debates the democratic potential and practice of groups, focusing on the vibrancy of internal democracies, and modes of accountability with those who join such groups and to the constituencies they advocate for. It draws on literatures covering national, European and global levels, and presents empirical material from the UK and Australia.