Does Europe Need a Demos to Be Truly Democratic?
No 7, Europe in Question Discussion Paper Series of the London School of Economics (LEQs) from London School of Economics / European Institute
Principal theories about European democracy agree that there is no European demos (unfortunately or inevitably, depending on whether one is a federalist or intergovernmentalist). In my opinion, the no demos theory, in all its various manifestations, has, at least tacitly, an excessively demanding concept of demos, utopian for federalists and static for intergovernmentalists. In both cases, it is so categorical that it does not correspond to the history from which political communities have arisen, nor to how a sense of belonging is truly established, nor to the limits on the expectations we can reasonably hold for Europe. The demos could be more practical and contingent, more performative and vulnerable. It can, for that very reason, be constructed or lost; it is more emergent and fragile than those who view it so emphatically believe. Additionally, what if the peoples who truly exist were not such a solid group or did not need to be so? In that case, it may even be that European integration represents an opportunity to articulate unity and diversity in a manner that is more respectful of its internal plurality. In order to do that, we obviously need very different concepts and practices than the ones that gave rise to the nation state.
Keywords: democracy; European identity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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