Assessing Actually-Existing Trajectories of EU Politicisation

Christopher Lord has co-authored an article with Pieter de Wilde on EU politicisation in West European Politics. They argue that domestic conflict may be the most promising basis for the democratic politicisation of the EU via media debate.

The article is part of the special issue 'The Differentiated Politicisation of European Governance', edited by Pieter de Wilde, Anna Leupold & Henning Schmidtke.


Theoretical debate about the effects of politicisation on the democratic legitimacy of the European Union has tended to focus on the potential of conflict between European political parties or member state governments. At the same time, empirical sociological studies demonstrate that controversy about Europe continues to unfold primarily within national public spheres. There is as yet no genuine Europe-wide party system or public debate. This reveals a gap between the normative theoretical assessment of EU politicisation and empirical sociological analysis of this phenomenon. To reconcile this discrepancy, this paper develops three actually-existing trajectories of politicisation: the remote conflict, the international conflict and the domestic conflict. Each trajectory carries unique challenges and opportunities to the democratic legitimacy of the Union. It is argued that the domestic conflict trajectory is most promising from a normative democratic perspective. Paradoxically, this does not necessarily imply a renationalisation of the EU.

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Pieter De Wilde and Christopher Lord
Assessing actually-existing trajectories of EU politicisation

West European Politics, vol. 39, no. 1, 2016, pp. 145-163
DOI: 10.1080/01402382.2015.1081508

Published Nov. 2, 2015 1:12 PM - Last modified Nov. 2, 2015 1:12 PM