From reason-giving to collective action

Marianne Riddervold has published the article "From reason-giving to collective action: Argument-based learning and European integration" in Cooperation and Conflict 46(4).


The aim of this article is to contribute to the further development of deliberative theory—to make it more applicable to research on EU integration—by establishing alternative and more concise micro-mechanisms to those of the rationalist bargaining perspectives. It is suggested that the micro-mechanism through which deliberation has an effect on outcomes is what is termed argument-based learning, which means that an actor accepts the validity of a presented argument so that (s)he acts upon it.

Moreover, the article differentiates between three types of argument-based learning considered relevant in the EU context. On this basis, it suggests a two-step analytical approach for studies of EU decision-making processes. In trying out the empirical relevance of the framework, it is applied to a case where one would not expect agreements on common EU policies to have been reached due to argument-based learning, namely EU coordination towards the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC). The framework proved helpful in accounting for agreements that are puzzling from a rationalist perspective.


Marianne Riddervold

From reason-giving to collective action: Argument-based learning and European integration

Cooperation and Conflict

December 2011, vol. 46, no. 4, pages 563-580 .

Published Dec. 12, 2011 10:19 AM