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The co-occurrence of undemocratic internationalisation and democratic renationalisation of IO authority
Sala Europa Villa Schifanoia
Join Christian Kreuder-Sonnen as he discusses his recent research at the Europe in the World seminar series co-organised by the European Governance and Politics and the Global Governance Programmes
The European Union (EU) and other international organisations (IOs) are increasingly politicised. So far, theoretical debate on the consequences of this trend has mainly pitted post-functionalists expecting a standstill in international integration against functionalists expecting a democratic deepening of global governance. Beyond what either theory predicts, however, we increasingly also see (a) the ‘undemocratic internationalization’ of authority (esp. intergovernmental or bureaucratic transgressions and judicial activism) and (b) the ‘democratic renationalization’ of authority (esp. voter-based exits and disobedience). This paper provides a political contest theory to explain this dual phenomenon based on the positions of cosmopolitan and communitarian opponents in the public struggle over IO authority. We argue that each group has a specific strategic advantage that allows them partial and unstable ‘victories’: First, communitarians enjoy a mobilization advantage which increasingly leads to pro-disintegration majorities. Second, we hold that cosmopolitans enjoy an authority advantage which allows cosmopolitan leaders to defy public resistance by pushing internationalisation through non-democratic backdoors. Neither group is likely to keep the upper hand sustainably, because both mechanisms are mutually reinforcing. Whereas undemocratic authority transfers to IOs breed ever more communitarian mobilization for the democratic renationalisation of IO authority, the (threat of) renationalisation of IO authority breeds ever more incentives for cosmopolitans to keep international integration going undemocratically.
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