RECON Online Working Paper 2011/36

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RECON: A Feminist View


Sara Clavero (Queen's University Belfast), Yvonne Galligan (Queen's University Belfast), Cathrine Holst (ARENA, University of Oslo), Róza Vajda (Eötvös Loránd University) and Katarzyna Zielińska (Jagiellonian University)



This paper examines the three models of democracy delineated in the RECON project and subjects them to a feminist appraisal. It begins with some general remarks about what each model of democracy – nation-state audit (model 1), federal multinational (model 2) and regional cosmopolitan (model 3) – holds for a feminist conception of politics. It then puts these general propositions to the test in a range of empirical studies (Spain, Poland, Hungary, EU). The country studies reveal the persistence of the audit democracy model, despite the diverging responses to implementing EU-generated equality laws. The process also shows the gender-specific weaknesses of the democratic decision-making process in these member states. The EU-level investigation was also found to follow the model of audit democracy, but with some features corresponding to those found in a multinational federal state. However, the empirical conclusion on this point is that much profound institutional change needs to take place before the EU can respond as a multinational federal entity to women’s equality claims. In part three the paper takes a normative feminist turn. It points out that feminist theorists have ambitions for equality that extend beyond the regulative nation-state, seeing advantages in elements of the federal multinational democracy and the regional cosmopolitan one. In the final section, the paper discusses how the deliberative conception of democracy underpinning the RECON analytical approach is received from a feminist point of view. Here, the paper highlights the necessity of taking seriously the principles of congruence and accountability, each requiring the redistribution of socio-economic goods within and across borders. Gender justice, then, can be realised through models 2 and 3. Feminist political theory also highlights the societal role of care as a matter of gender justice. The paper concludes that care should be integrated into democratic thinking, and concludes that RECON standard of deliberative democracy is not hostile, but silent, on this matter.



Deliberative Democracy — Feminism — Gender Policy — Hungary — Legislative Procedure — Poland — Political Theory — Spain



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