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European Political Development, Regulatory Governance, and the European Social Model: the Challenge of Substantive Legitimacy

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This article takes issue with aspects of the influential ‘regulatory’ perspective on European governance, especially as developed by Majone and Moravcsik. While many of their claims are compelling, these accounts become much less convincing when they move from empirical analysis to normative prescription—an argument developed in the article's first major section. The article charts the ambivalent treatment of connections between national democracies and at the EU level by regulatory theorists, considers their treatment of democracy, efficiency, welfare, social citizenship, understood here as features or legacies of majoritarian, or more accurately mass, democracy in Europe. The second section offers an alternative academic agenda for the analysis of Europe's multi-level politics, which places it in historical perspective. It seeks to contribute to a growing body of EU scholarship that finds inspiration in the macro-comparative approach of Rokkan, while also drawing links with studies in American political development. A rounded assessment of the prospects for democracy, legitimacy and political stability in Europe needs at least to integrate national and Europe level trends.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Political Science and International Studies, The University of Birmingham

Publication date: November 1, 2006

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