Research objectives

WP 9 – Global Transnationalisation and Democratisation Compared


WP 9 examines how globalisation and transnationalisation processes shape the conditions for democracy within and beyond Europe, and compares the European case with certain particularly relevant non-European instances of democracy and democratisation. By doing so it helps clarify the nature of the European situation, as well as the more general scope for democracy and conditions of democratisation at different levels of governance.

WP 9 consists of two collaborative sub-projects. The first explores the link between democratisation in Europe and globalisation in the wider international system, while the second examines the cosmopolitan pull on the state-centred model, through comparing the EU with Canada, as a possible example of ‘state-based cosmopolitanisation’. The EU is compared with cases/processes of relevance to all three RECON models, albeit with particular emphasis on Model I through sub-project 1, and Model III’s cosmopolitan reach through sub-project 2.

I. Transnational Governance, Deliberative Supranationalism and Constitutionalism

Sub-project 1 builds on the question of whether democracy can survive globalisation. To the extent that it can, what institutional mechanisms may facilitate this? To the extent that it cannot, can other governance values and forms of institutional design that support these values prevent or compensate for a legitimacy deficit?

The other work packages in RECON address this question by focusing on the internal dynamics of the EU, while WP 9 applies it to the external dimension. This is done through a research design focused on the interaction between the EU and the WTO. How do democratic structures in the EU interact with international market-driven structures in the WTO, and what role do constitutional processes and principles play in that interaction? What is the most likely outcome in terms of the substance and the procedures of democracy in Europe?

The research within WP 9 goes beyond the national models of constitution and institutional design and asks what is unique and peculiar about regulation in circumstances of plural, contested and provisional authority. This requires an assessment of the effects of external transnational structures and processes on the EU. What democratic potentials do such legal developments beyond the state contain? Do they undermine democracy through undemocratic juridification, or do they hold democratic potential?

II. Post-national convergence?

Sub-project 2 is complementary to the first in that it examines the prospects for convergence along Model III lines. It does so from the somewhat counter-intuitive perspective of possible cosmopolitanisation of an existing state (Canada). The point is that if established states can be cosmopolitanised, then the cosmopolitan pull may be considerably stronger than what is generally anticipated. How flexible and malleable is the state-centred model in terms of post-national democratic inclusion/‘cosmopolitanisation’? Two ideas motivate this: (i) The constitutional democratic state is based on a set of principles that can be universalised such that the model of political community both between different states and between different ‘polity’ levels or sites may show some tendency to converge around a cosmopolitan norm. (ii) There may be systematic differences among states as to which are more prone to cosmopolitanisation. What would be particularly salient factors? A starting idea is that in a democratic state the degree of contestation over its character and (national) communal character may matter, because such a state has a greater onus on finding proper justifications; with such tending towards universal ‘global’ solutions which can be more easily embraced by all.