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Democratic Representation in Interconnected Settings

Democracy
Elections
European Union
Institutions
Parliaments
Political Theory
Representation
RT04
Simona Piattoni
Università degli Studi di Trento
Mark Warren
University of British Columbia
Open Section

Friday 16:00 - 17:30 (08/09/2017)

Building: Eilert Sundts hus Floor: 1 Room: ES AUD1

Abstract

The standard notion of representation presupposes a demos which selects and authorizes representatives to decide on its behalf, demands from them account for these decisions, and can punish them for unsatisfactory delivery. It is understood that only the members of the demos are entitled to participate – directly or indirectly – in this decision-making process, while all other subjects remain more or less decision-takers. The accountability of representatives is therefore owed only to these citizens, other subjects being protected by the rule of law, eventual bilateral agreements and a general duty of reciprocity owed to members of the human community. In highly interconnected settings such as the European Union, however, this model of democratic representation fails, for several reasons. First, the amount of joint legislation which is produced through (qualified) majority procedures is extensive, thus disrupting the domestic representation-accountability chains (Scharpf 2009). Second, the Treaties enjoin "loyal cooperation" among member-states and create expectations of cooperative and trustworthy behavior on the part of national authorities. National representatives – both in EU institutions and in national ones – must therefore balance responsiveness towards their own constituents with responsibility vis-à-vis other national constituencies, an uneasy predicament particularly in times of crisis (Mair 2013). Third, an extensive jurisprudential interpretation of the four liberties enshrined by the Treaties and the turn to intergovernmentalism during the Euro-crisis have constitutionalized a hyper-liberal polity whose founding principles have never been the object of collective deliberation, thus creating the conditions for potential domination (Bohman 2007). Fourth, in a European Union which enshrines the freedom of movement of its citizens and aspires to a regime of open borders the number of denizens and temporary workers is very high and growing, a situation which has created evident inequalities in the way in which EU citizens can exert their political rights depending on the member state in which they happen to reside. These developments create a sense of sovereignty loss and a yearning for “gaining back control”. They also call for institutional innovations – new ways of organizing decision-making, new ways of including currently disenfranchised subjects, new ways of fully factoring the externalities caused to others in domestic decision-making processes – as well as for theoretical innovations – new ways of defining the representative mandate, new ways of conjoining representation and deliberation, new ways of conceptualizing the demos. This Roundtable addresses these issues from a variety of standpoints, both theoretical and empirical, in the hope of teasing out common threads and moving closer to a new definition of democratic representation for the currently highly interconnected context of political organization.
Title Details
Towards Deliberative Representation: Could Decoupling Judgement from Will be the Way? View Paper Details
Trans- and Supranational Representation in EU National Parliaments: The Case of EU Treaty Debates View Paper Details