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Democracy and Discourse in an Integrating Europe and a Globalising World

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Globalisation and Europeanisation represent challenges not only to national economies and institutions but also to national legitimating discourses. This paper first outlines the theoretical requirements for such discourse, by considering it along two dimensions: ideational, which encompasses cognitive and normative functions, and interactive, which encompasses co-ordinative and communicative functions. The paper illustrates these through empirical discussions of the post-war construction of discourses in France, Britain and Germany. It then examines how the discourses have responded to the challenges to traditional conceptions of economic organisation, social welfare, and political democracy from European and globally-related economic and institutional changes. The paper concludes that while France remains in search of a legitimating discourse, Britain is in the process of renewing its Thatcherite discourse, and Germany is in the process of recasting its post-war liberal social-democratic discourse.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Dept. of International Relations, Boston University.

Publication date: 2000-09-01

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