There is an increasing scholarly literature on the role of parliaments in European and EU politics, as well as on politicisation in and of the EU and its member states, and their relation to democracy. This Section focuses on new developments and linkages in the conceptual and empirical study of parliaments, politicisation, and democracy in the EU and its member states, as well as beyond the EU.
Several recent studies, both with theoretical and empirical approaches, have linked perspectives on the three conceptual clusters. They understand parliaments as a playing field and political parties as actors in the politicisation in and of the EU. Parliaments are arenas for controversies and sites of political representation, and, at the same time, part of EU politicisation and democratisation. In this context, parliamentarisation is seen as an ideal or paradigmatic idea of political action that involves public debates, controversies, and pro et contra argumentation, as well as their own procedures and practices.
A particular focus of the Section will go to the question of politicisation of the EU. The mainstream literature assumes that it is a rather novel phenomenon, a process stemming from the post-Maastricht Treaty. The Section is based on the idea that European integration has to be seen as an eminently political activity from the very beginning, even if it has been presented by some as being non-political, for political reasons. In that perspective, what is currently discussed as “the politicisation of the EU”, can be understood as a logical end of a formerly successful attempt to hide the eminently political character of integration.
The link of politicisation and democracy, or more concretely democratisation of the EU, has been controversially discussed. On the one hand, it has been argued that the politicisation of the EU may represent dangers and difficulties or even threaten integration itself, especially by strengthening Eurosceptic and xenophobic tendencies. On the other hand, other contributions have admitted the possibility that politicisation might lead to democratisation. In the EU context, democratisation not only regards the EU’s institutional system and the interdependencies in the multilevel system, but also the legitimacy of the EU in terms of identification and support of the EU citizens. Besides these aspects, democratisation can also be seen as a politicising practice, in the double sense of a qualitative improvement in the political participation of citizens and also as an enlargement in the number of people involved.
Against this background, the Section will include a selection of panels that focus on various aspects and linkages of parliament, politicisation, and democracy in the EU and its member states, as well as beyond the EU. In particular, we are interested in contributions that
- understand politicisation in a historical or conceptual perspective, and that show methodological pluralism (theoretical, qualitative, interpretative, quantitative) in its analysis. We are especially interested in actor-oriented perspectives on the political.
- discuss how parliaments and parliamentarism are crucial in relation both to politicisation and democratisation in and of the EU,
- study democratisation in a broad sense and with an action-oriented approach, i.e. as a constant and historical process that involves a variety of patterned actions and contradictions.
In this way, our aim is to link studies in the three fields of study, politicisation, democratisation and parliamentarisation of the EU, by connecting the analysis of politicisation and democratisation of the Union with a perspective on the powers and practices of parliaments.
The section will include the following panels:
- Studying Politicisation: new theoretical and empirical developments
- Politicisation of the EU and the Conference for the Future of Europe
- Democratisation within and beyond the EU
- Citizens, politicisation and democracy in the EU
- Parliaments and Democracy in crises: financial crisis to COVID
- Expertise and representative democracy in the EU
- Political and parliamentary literacy
- Social approaches to democratic defence