Theory in Practice
Erik†O. Eriksen and John Erik Fossum (eds)
RECON Report No 8
ARENA Report 2/09, Oslo,†September 2009
RECON seeks to clarify whether democracy is possible under conditions of pluralism, diversity, and complex multilevel governance. In order to get a proper handle on the democratic character and quality of what is unfolding in Europe, a set of proper democratic benchmarks are needed. RECON spells out three different models for democratic reconstitution in Europe. The first posits that democracy can be reconstituted as a combination of audit democracy at the Union level and representative democracy at the member state level. The second model posits that democracy can be reconstituted through establishing the EU as a multinational federal state. The third posits that European democracy can be reconfigured through the EU serving as a regional post-national Union with an explicit cosmopolitan imprint.
RECON studies the question of democracy in the EU across a broad range of subject areas. This brings up major challenges pertaining to research approach, research design, and research coordination. How can we recognise the different models across the different institutional, constitutional and policy areas of the project? The purpose of this report is to move from theory to practice. However, the contributions are not mere instances of operationalisation of the three RECON models to all the projectís relevant subfields. Instead, each contribution applies the RECON framework to its subject area with due attention to the particular methodological issues and the main lines of debate.