Differentiation, dominance and democratic congruence: A relational view

EU3D Research Papers, No. 21, December 2021 (SSRN)

Kalypso Nicolaidis


This EU3D Research Paper tentatively  explores ways of applying the differentiation lens from the EU to the global level of inter-state cooperation. Given the wide scope of this research agenda, its only ambition is to offer a few building blocks for further research on the basis of a relational view of differentiated cooperation, which starts with characterising the relations between actors rather than the actors themselves. The research paper is divided in four sections. (1) Whether differentiation is desirable and for whom if we seek to maximise democratic congruence, including vertical and horizontal non domination. (2) What types of differentiated relations constitute the landscape of forms of differentiation, presenting a relational typology consisting of selection, recognition, distinction and discretion. (3) Why delves into the many categories of causes or factors explaining why states engage in differentiation at the EU and the global level – reading functional and political drivers as indicators of patterns of relations, distinguishing in particular between states that are un-able, unwilling or unamenable when considering joining integration schemes. And  finally the last section (4) How offers a few preliminary thoughts on how or under what conditions, DI/DC can pass the democratic congruence test.


Autonomy, Democracy, Differentiation, Differentiated Cooperation, Differentiated Integration, Domination

Published Jan. 4, 2022 11:35 PM - Last modified May 26, 2022 2:34 PM