RECON Online Working Paper 2011/14

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Representation through Deliberation

The European Case 


Erik Oddvar Eriksen and John Erik Fossum (ARENA, University of Oslo)



This paper shows that the main pattern of European democratisation has unfolded along the lines of an EU organised as a multilevel system of representative parliamentary government and not as a system of deliberative governance as the transnationalists propound. But the multilevel EU has developed a structure of representation that is theoretically challenging. In order to come to grips with this we present an institutional variant of deliberative theory, which understands democracy as the combination of a principle of justification and an organisational form. It comes with the following explanatory mechanisms: claimsmaking, justification and learning which in the EU also program institutional copying and emulation mechanisms. We show that the EU has established an incomplete system of representative democracy steeped in a distinct representation-deliberation interface, which has emerged through a particular and distinct configuration of democratisation mechanisms.


 This paper is forthcoming in Constellations. It is pre-printed here by permission of the journal.


Deliberative Democracy ― Democratisation ― European Parliament ― Institutions ― Legitimacy ― National Parliaments ― Political Representation ― Political Science



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