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 Nordic Party Members: Linkages in Troubled Times, Edited by Marie Demker, Knut Heidar, and Karina Kosiara-Pedersen

Identifying Pathologies and Assessing their Implications for Representative Democracy in Contemporary Europe

European Union
Social Media
Panel Number
Panel Chair
John Erik Fossum
Universitetet i Oslo
Panel Discussant
Hans-Jörg Trenz
University of Copenhagen

07/09/2019 09:00 - 10:40
Building: (Building C) Faculty of Law, Administration & Economics Floor: 4th floor Room: 405
Modern democracy is based on the presumption that expertise and popular participation can co-exist and sustain democracy, but there may also be developments in the opposite - pathological - direction. The EU has since 2008 gone through a significant structural mutation with implications for its governing ability and legitimacy. One aspect of the structural mutation is a hardening of governance, a pattern of de-constitutionalization, and increased technocracy. Another development that appears together with that is a significant upsurge in forms of populism that are critical of elites and experts and traditional media. Together, these developments exhibit distinctive patterns of politicization (populism) and de-politicization (technocracy) with profound implications for representative democracy. In what sense and how are these developments pathological? Do the various ways in which they interact amplify such pathologies?

This panel invites contributions that examine how democracies’ need for expertise turn pathological in the European Union context. How does technocracy manifest itself? The issue is not merely to look at phenomena ‘out there’; it is equally one of whether the terms we use are adequate. Is there a need for new concepts that capture the distinctive features of how politics and administration are combined in the complex multilevel European Union context? A proper diagnosis may require the invention of new terms such as the notion of ‘pseudocrat’. Does the rise of populism within a setting imbued with strong vestiges of technocracy generate a mutually reinforcing development with obvious pathological traits? How does the increased role of social media affect populists’ relationship to experts – and the very understanding of who is an expert? What are the effects for liberal democracy of right-wing populists holding government office?

Paper List

Title Details
Epistemic Worries about Economic Expertise View Paper Details
Right-Wing Populism’s Impact on Liberal Democracy: Some Reflections Based on Norway’s Experience View Paper Details
The Rise of the Pseudocrat View Paper Details
'Your So-Called "Experts" are Funded by Brussels’: Social Media Discourse and Public Understandings of Expertise and Democracy View Paper Details
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