ECPR Panel: Democracy and the Reconfiguration of the State in Europe

WP 1 – Theoretical Framework

WP 1 events

Reykjavik, 25-27 August 2011

Call for papers

Paper proposals are invited for a panel on ‘Democracy and the reconfiguration of the state in Europe’, chaired by RECON coordinator Erik O. Eriksen. The panel is one of seven panels of a conference section on ‘Reconstituting Democracy in Europe’ at the 6th ECPR General Conference at the University of Iceland, Reykjavik, 25-27 August 2011.

Deadline for paper proposals: 1 February 2011

For further details, please see the Reykjavik 2011 conference page.

Download ECPR guidelines for paper proposals (pdf) 


Panel abstract: Democracy and the Reconfiguration of the State in Europe

Panel chair: Erik O. Eriksen (ARENA, University of Oslo)

A true republic presupposes democracy, but does democracy presuppose the state? The state represents the organizational structure of an autonomous, self-organized community. It is needed to ensure the freedom, security, and welfare of the citizens, and hence also to explicate the meaning of democracy based on citizensÂ’ equal rights. State based democracy ensures reflexivity and reversibility in a self-governing citizenry. It prevents rulersÂ’ self-selection and speaks to the basic legitimating principles of autonomy and accountability. The core defining characteristic of a state is that it has instruments for mobilizing economic, military, and political resources in order to achieve collective goals. The question is whether the state form is a necessary requirement for democracy to prevail, or if a non-state entity such as the EU can make up a democratic system of government. Modern constitutions are faced with the double task of ensuring legitimate authority and social integration, and it might therefore be possible to disconnect them from the state form and rather link them in with the project of modernity, whose normative telos is to make the addressees of the law also their authors. Constitutions may not presuppose the state; but how can the laws and rights be brought into existence and be made effective without the coercive instruments of a state?


Section: Reconstituting Democracy in Europe

Section chair: Hans-Jörg Trenz (ARENA, University of Oslo)

The purpose of the section is to examine from a range of perspectives the possible need to (re-)conceive of democracy under conditions of pluralism, diversity and complex multilevel governance. In this sense the focus is on the emerging EU-polity and its interaction with national and regional/local levels of government. The section thus invites theoretical and substantive contributions that respond to current trends and challenges in the transformation of democracy in Europe.