ARENA - Centre for European Studies, University of Oslo

Oslo, Norway 

Partner 1 - Coordinator

ARENA - Centre for European Studies at the University of Oslo is an interdisciplinary centre for advanced studies on the dynamics of the European system of governance. The researchers at ARENA have particular competence in organisational and institutional developments, constitutionalism, democracy and legitimacy, and social, foreign and security policies.The centre is engaged in a series of international networks, such as the FP6 CONNEX Network of Excellence, and was coordinator of the FP5 project CIDEL (Citizenship and Democratic Legitimacy in the EU).

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RECON publications by ARENA staff



Prof. Erik O. Eriksen - Scientific coordinator

Erik O. Eriksen is the scientific coordinator of RECON and heads WP 1 – Theoretical Framework. He is Research Director at ARENA and professor of political science. He holds an Honorary Doctorate at the University of Aalborg, Denmark. Prof. Eriksen was scientific coordinator of the research project CIDEL (2003-2005), financed by the Fifth Framework Programme, which included ten partners in six European countries. His main research fields are political theory, democratic governance, public policy and European integration.

RECON participation: WP 1 (leader)

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RECON publications 



Prof. John Erik Fossum

John Erik Fossum is substitute scientific coordinator of RECON and co-leads two work packages: WP 2 – Constitutional Politics and WP 9 – Global Transnationalisation and Democratisation Compared. He is professor of political science at ARENA and at the University of Bergen. Prof. Fossum was central to the CIDEL project, as (co-)leader of the research on Europe’s common interest and communicative space and on constitution making and legitimacy, as well as co-architect of the project as a whole. He has been President (1999-2002) and is now Vice President (2005-) of the Nordic Association for Canadian Studies (NACS). His main fields of interest are political theory, constitutionalism and the political structure of the EU, citizenship and identity in the EU (and Canada), Canadian politics, Europeanisation, and comparative politics.

RECON participation: WP 1, WP 2 (co-leader), WP 3, WP 5 and WP 9 (co-leader)

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Prof. Christopher Lord

Christopher Lord is the leader of WP 3 – Representation and Institutional Make-up. He is Professor at ARENA from October 2008 and ad personam Jean Monnet Chair of European integration studies. He was Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of Reading from 2004 to 2008. Prof. Lord’s main research interests focus on questions legitimacy and democracy, political representation and parliamentarism at the European level. He is particularly interested in approaches to evaluating the democratic performance of EU institutions. He has also acted as an expert for EU institutions, commenting on the draft White Paper on Governance in 2001 as a member of a Working Party organised by DG Education of the EC.

RECON participation: WP 1 and WP 3 (leader)

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Prof. Helene Sjursen

Helene Sjursen is co-leader of WP 6 – the Foreign and Security Dimension. She is research professor at ARENA and has previously been affiliated to University College Dublin and the University of Glasgow. She is President of the Norwegian Association for European Studies (ECSA Norway). The main research fields of Prof. Sjursen are European security, the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the EU, transatlantic relations, and EU enlargement processes. 

RECON participation: WP 1, WP 6 (co-leader) and WP 8

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Prof. Hans-Jörg Trenz

Hans-Jörg Trenz co-leads WP 5 – Civil Society and Public Sphere. He is research professor at ARENA, and attained his habilitation at Humboldt University Berlin and a PhD in social and political sciences at the European University Institute in Florence. The main research fields of Prof. Trenz are the emergence of a European public sphere and civil society, European civilization and identity, migration and ethnic minorities, cultural and political sociology, constitutionalisation of the EU, and social and political theory.

RECON participation: WP 1, WP 5 (co-leader) and WP 8

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Dr. Cathrine Holst

Cathrine Holst is senior researcher at ARENA and Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the University of Oslo. She finished her PhD thesis Feminism, Epistemology and Morality at the Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities at the University of Bergen in 2005. She has been visiting scholar at New School for Social Research in New York and at Freie Universität in Berlin, and her expertise covers topics such as feminist and political theory, philosophy of science and gender sociology. She was part of the gender project within the Norwegian Study of Power and Democracy, studying in particular the problems of fairness and justice in gender equality policy.

RECON participation: WP 1 and WP 4

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Dr. Daniel Gaus

Daniel Gaus is senior researcher at ARENA. He holds a PhD in political science from the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany. His thesis deals with Jürgen Habermas' theory of legitimation and the debate about the EU's legitimacy. Gaus has studied political science and philosophy at the Technical University of Darmstadt and the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main. His main research interest lies in reconstructive social theory with a focus on the relationship between the concepts of democracy, legitimacy and the state in Western societies.

RECON participation: WP 1

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Dr. Asimina Michailidou

Asimina Michailidou is post-doctoral researcher at ARENA. She holds a PhD in Political Communication from Loughborough University with a doctoral thesis on the role of the Internet in the EU’s public communication strategy and the emerging European public sphere. She was previously post-doctoral researcher at the International Research Network on European Political Communications (EurPolCom) at the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship, University of Bristol. Michailidou’s main fields of interest are new media and their impact on politics, particularly with regard to the EU; globalisation and political activism; and theoretical considerations on the concept of the public sphere.

RECON participation: WP 5

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Dr. Espen D. H. Olsen

Espen D. H. Olsen is senior researcher at ARENA. He holds a PhD in political science from the European University Institute in Florence and has previously studied political science, sociology and intellectual history at the University of Oslo. At ARENA he has taken part in Europolis, an FP7-financed research project on citizen deliberation in a transnational setting. His current research interests focus on the developments of citizenship related to European integration, with a special emphasis on its transnational, multilevel, identity-oriented, democratic and constitutional features. In addition he focuses on more general issues of political theory and qualitative methods such as process tracing.

RECON participation: WP 1, WP 2 and WP 8

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Marianne Riddervold

Marianne Riddervold is research fellow at ARENA. Her PhD project, 'The EU as an international actor - between interests and human rights' is financed by the Norwegian Ministry of Defence. Riddervold is cand.polit. from the Department of Political Science at the University of Oslo. 

RECON participation: WP 6

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Guri Rosén

Guri Rosén is research fellow at ARENA. Her PhD project addresses the role of the European Parliament in the EU's foreign policy and is financed by the Norwegian Ministry of Defence. She holds a master in political science from the University of Oslo and a MSc in sociology from the University of Oxford.

RECON participation: WP 6

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Pieter de Wilde

Pieter de Wilde is research fellow at ARENA. His PhD project is entitled 'Politicisation of European integration: Politics over European integration and the influence of national parliaments in EU decision-making'. It addresses the relationship between media coverage of EU issues and national parliamentary scrutiny of EU policy formulation in a comparative empirical study. He holds an MSc in political science from the University of Amsterdam.

RECON participation: WP 3 and WP 5

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Brit Helle Aarskog

Brit Helle Aarskog is researcher at the Department of Language, Culture and Information Technology at the University of Bergen. She cooperates with ARENA on the RECON project, in particular in WP 5 – Civil Society and Public Sphere. Her academic background encompasses the disciplines of geography, public law, public administration and information science. Her main expertise is content analysis, in particular methods for text analysis and representation of textual data, classification theory, hypertext design, digital publishing and information dissemination, public access to documents and document content, extraction of textual data, and the design and construction of technological solutions supporting thematic text exploration and navigation.

RECON participation: WP 5

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Website: Information Landscape covering the Plenary Sessions of the Convention




Dr. Kolja Raube was senior researcher at ARENA from 2008 to 2009. In August 2009, he took up a position as postdoctoral assistant at the Centre for European Studies at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. Raube has a PhD from the University of Hamburg with a doctoral thesis on the constitutional foreign policy of the European Union. He has studied political science and public law, including European and international law, at the Philipps-University Marburg, the University of Saskatchewan and University of Hamburg. Raube’s main fields of interests are the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) including its European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) and the constitutional politics of the European Union, and he contributes to WP 6. 

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RECON publications




Dr. Anne Elizabeth Stie was research fellow at ARENA until January 2010, when she defended her dissertation 'Co-decision – the panacea for EU democracy?'. Her project on preconditions for democracy and the EU was financed by the CIDEL project within the 5th Framework Programme.  Stie is cand.polit from the Department of Comparative Politics, University of Bergen. She holds a Master of Science in Political Theory from London School of Economics and has studied at the Freie Universität Berlin. Stie contributed to WP 1 and WP 6 and is now Advisor at Innovation Norway.



RECON Administrative Coordination


Geir Kvaerk

Geir Kvćrk is administrative Project Manager of RECON and research manager at ARENA. He is cand.polit. in political science from the University of Oslo with a thesis on the involvement of civil society in the EU's Charter Convention (ARENA Report 6/2003). Kvaerk was the project manager of the EU-financed CIDEL project (2003-2005) and has previously been research assistant at ARENA.

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Marit Eldholm

Marit Eldholm is RECON's web master and is responsible for the RECON Newsletter, publication series, intranet and other communication and dissemination activities. She also contributes to the administrative coordination of the project. Eldholm is advisor at ARENA and previously worked as research assistant in the EU-financed CIDEL project (2003-2005). She holds an MA in political science from the University of Oslo with a thesis on the making of the European Constitution, studying the Convention on the Future of Europe (ARENA Report 5/2007). She has also studied French and Italian. 

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