Democracy Reconsidered
The Prospects of its Theory & Practice during
Internationalisation – Britain, France, Sweden, & the EU

By Hans Agne
Stockholm Studies in Politics, No. 104
December 2005
Almqvist & Wiksell
ISBN: 9172659483
394 pages, 6 ½” x 9 ½”
$97.50 Paper Original


This is a Ph.D. dissertation. Democracy is a dominating force and value in contemporary politics. At the same time our understanding of democracy needs to be reconsidered in the light of internationalization. And yet scholars have been reluctant to specify exactly what positions should be adjusted or abandoned because of internationalization.

This dissertation investigates a number of specific points at which earlier democratic theory is vulnerable. The study pursues a variety of conceptual and normative inquiries, and empirical investigations of parliamentary budget politics in post-1945 Britain, France, and Sweden, and in the present-day European Union, to reach the following conclusions, among others:

- That internationalization increases the divergence between those who make and those who are affected by decisions is not by itself a democratic problem that calls for political reform.
- That international organizations may have authorities delegated to them from democratic states is not sufficient to justify them democratically. Democratisation still needs to be undertaken.
- The fear that internationalization dissolves a social trust necessary for political deliberation within nations is unwarranted. If anything, views argued by others in domestic debate are increasingly taken seriously during internationalization.
- The major difficulty with deliberation is its inability to transcend national boundaries. International deliberation at state level has not evolved in response to internationalization and it is undeveloped even in international institutions.
- Democratic political autonomy concerning public spending seems to be strengthened during internationalization, while political autonomy weakens with regard to income redistribution and policy areas taken over by international organizations.
- To identify crucial democratic issues in a time of internationalization and to make room for theoretical virtues like general applicability and normative fruitfulness, democracy may be defined as a kind of politics where as many as possible decide as much as possible.


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