EU3D researchers at the ECPR General Conference

EU3D researchers will chair and participate in a panel on pathologies and their implications for representative democracy in contemporary Europe at the ECPR general conference in Wrocław Poland in September 2019.

University of Wrocław main campus (Photo: Adam Smok, CC BY 2.0)

EU3D Scientific Coordinator John Erik Fossum (ARENA Centre for European Studies) will chair the panel 'Identifying Pathologies and Assessing Their Implications for Representative Democracy in Contemporary Europe' and Hans-Joerg Trenz (University of Copenhagen) will be the panel discussant. 

About the panel

Modern democracy is based on the presumption that expertise and popular participation can co-exist and sustain democracy, but there may also be developments in the opposite - pathological - direction. The EU has since 2008 gone through a significant structural mutation with implications for its governing ability and legitimacy. One aspect of the structural mutation is a hardening of governance, a pattern of de-constitutionalization, and increased technocracy. Another development that appears together with that is a significant upsurge in forms of populism that are critical of elites and experts and traditional media. Together, these developments exhibit distinctive patterns of politicization (populism) and de-politicization (technocracy) with profound implications for representative democracy. In what sense and how are these developments pathological? Do the various ways in which they interact amplify such pathologies?

This panel invites contributions that examine how democracies’ need for expertise turn pathological in the European Union context. How does technocracy manifest itself? The issue is not merely to look at phenomena ‘out there’; it is equally one of whether the terms we use are adequate. Is there a need for new concepts that capture the distinctive features of how politics and administration are combined in the complex multilevel European Union context? A proper diagnosis may require the invention of new terms such as the notion of ‘pseudocrat’. Does the rise of populism within a setting imbued with strong vestiges of technocracy generate a mutually reinforcing development with obvious pathological traits? How does the increased role of social media affect populists’ relationship to experts – and the very understanding of who is an expert? What are the effects for liberal democracy of right-wing populists holding government office?


The following EU3D researchers will present papers in the panel:

Asimina Michailidou (ARENA Centre for European Studies), '"Your So-Called “Experts” are Funded by Brussels": Social Media Discourse and Public Understandings of Expertise and Democracy'.

John Erik Fossum (ARENA Centre for European Studies), 'Right-Wing Populism’s Impact on Liberal Democracy: Some Reflections Based on Norway’s Experience'.

Agustín José Menéndez (ARENA Centre for European Studies), 'The Rise of the Pseudocrat'.

About the conference

The ECPR General Conference 2019 is hosted by the European Consortium for Political Research at the University of Wrocław, Poland.

Published Apr. 6, 2019 12:31 PM - Last modified Apr. 23, 2019 2:00 PM