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Title: Democratic governance beyond the state : an exploration of democracy and governance in the European Parliament
Author: Hobson, Jonathan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 1523
Awarding Body: University of Gloucestershire
Current Institution: University of Gloucestershire
Date of Award: 2011
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The growing internationalisation of governance in the modern era means that states are increasingly interconnected. In this process, democratic governance has often taken second place to the demands of a neoliberal system that emphasises market-based solutions to social organisation and deregulation of structures based in the democratic realm of states. This dissertation is an exploration of the role democracy plays in regional governance bodies, focusing specifically on the European Parliament and its role in the European Union as an example of this. The dissertation argues that there is a role for democracy in global governance, and that the European Parliament represents a positive step towards introducing the wishes of citizens into political structures above the level of the state. It uses a three-stage immanent criticism developed from the early work of Max Horkheimer to explore the parliament in its historical, present, and potential functions. Built on a critical philosophy that understands the social world as a product of historically materialist action, this dissertation seeks not just to describe the functions of the Parliament, but also to suggest ways in which they might develop past their current limitations. Following a methodological discussion on the application of immanent criticism, the dissertation engages in a theoretical analysis of the complex concepts of democracy and governance as a prelude to the exploration of the Parliament. The dissertation then utilises a range of interviews and documentary evidence to present a thesis that has two main claims. Firstly, it argues that the European Parliament represents a new form of democratic regional structure that represents both states and citizens, and introduces an element of democratic accountability to governance above the level of nation states. Secondly, the thesis contends that the Parliament, as part of the wider Union, possesses the potential for greater democratic function. In making this argument, the dissertation suggests a range of practical ways to improve democracy and governance in the Parliament, and by extension in other similar regional political bodies. These include the introduction of greater democratic influence on decision making, increased transparency, dedicated European political parties, and a stronger role for civil society bodies. The dissertation concludes that democratic governance has the potential to present an alternative to the dominant neoliberal structures that currently shape much of the international political, economic, and social environment.
Supervisor: Dooley, Pauline ; Cowen, Harry Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JN Political institutions (Europe)