Conceptualising the EU's social constituency
The purpose of this article is to heighten our understanding of the nature of the EU's social constituency. This article develops a conceptual-methodological framework that will help us to identify the EU's social constituency and spell out its specific traits.
John Erik Fossum
The EU is often labelled a unique entity. This assertion is more the product of assessments of its institutional character than on the nature of its social constituency, i.e. the structure of demands and expectations that citizens and groups place on the EU. Determining the character of the latter is important both for our understanding of the EU as polity and for the question of the democratic deficit. It is also theoretically interesting given the increased focus on recognition politics, not only in nation-states but also transnationally. The main purpose of this article is to provide a conceptual-methodological framework with a set of structured tests to help ascertain the nature of the EU’s social constituency. To this end, a framework has been devised, which combines a philosophical approach to recognition with a sociological approach to contentious
politics. Central to this framework is Axel Honneth’s notion of ‘recognition order’, and the article briefly examines whether the EU might be said to make up a unique recognition order.
This paper has later been published in European Journal of Social Theory 8, 2 (2005), 123-147