Closing or Widening the Gap?: Legitimacy and Democracy in Regional Integration Organizations, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Closing or Widening the Gap?

Legitimacy and Democracy in Regional Integration Organizations, 1st Edition

By Andrea Ribeiro Hoffmann, Anna van der Vleuten


230 pages

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Hardback: 9780754649687
pub: 2007-12-28
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Combining normative analysis and theory-driven empirical research in a comparative framework, this volume clarifies and explains the connections between regional international governance, legitimacy and democracy. It focuses on the quality of democracy and the legitimacy of policy making in multilevel regional systems. The volume offers a much-needed clarification of confusing concepts such as legitimacy, democracy and 'civil society' in non-national political systems. It critically assesses the quality of democracy and legitimacy within different Regional International Organizations (RIOs); it examines how networks of non-state actors become a kind of transnational civil society and assesses their potential for solving legitimacy deficits; and it investigates the impact of democratic conditionality in different RIOs. The contributors deepen our understanding of a relatively new non-state actor on the international scene - the regional international organization - and investigate the potential contribution of transnational non-state actors to the quality of governance at the regional level.


’Looking at the 'legitimacy gap' of regional governance from a comparative perspective, this book substantially enhances and broadens our understanding of international regionalism and the alleged 'democracy deficits' that go with it. An original and persuasive book whose findings on how best to close the gap are far-reaching and illuminating.’ Heiner Hänggi, University of St.Gallen, Switzerland '…approaches a seriously understudied question in research on regionalism. For a long time, the analysis of legitimacy and democracy in regional organizations has been limited to the European Union. As this volume demonstrates, there is a lot we can learn from interregional comparison. ' Frank Schimmelfennig, ETH Zurich, Switzerland 'This excellent volume provides a highly insightful analysis of legitimacy and democracy in the context of regional integration. Bringing together a well edited collection of consistently interesting essays, this book takes the literature on regionalism a long way forward and serves as a timely reminder of the continuing value of robust comparative work in this field.' Ben Rosamond, University of Warwick, UK '…provides a valuable comparative assessment of regional governance legitimacy and democracy with a broad geographical focus. It offers theoretically derived research questions, empirical indicators and a qualitative comparative analysis of the effective legitimacy of Northern and Southern regional international organizations. The role of regional parliaments, subnational state actors and non-state actors is evaluated with a view to deepening legitimacy. The nexus between the levels of domestic and regional democracy is indicated in addition to variation across regional governance legitimacy.' Maria Regina Soares de Lima, Instituto Universitário de Pesquisas do Rio de Janeiro, IUPERJ, Brasil

About the Authors

Andrea Ribeiro Hoffmann is Assistant Professor in IR, Instituto de Relações Internacionais, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Anna van der Vleuten is Assistant Professor in IR/European Integration in the Department of Political Science at Radboud University Nijmegen, Institute for Management Research, The Netherlands.

About the Series

Non-State Actors in International Law, Politics and Governance Series

Non-State Actors in International Law, Politics and Governance Series
The proliferation of non-state actors in the international system over the last three decades has increased the need for a broader theoretical analysis and empirical validation. The series explores the capabilities and impact of non-state actors, such as privately-based transnational corporations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international criminal organizations, and liberation movements, as well as intergovernmental organizations (in which NGO’s often participate). The series seeks to address this need and to deepen the knowledge and understanding of non-state actors by scholars, practitioners and students in the fields of international law, politics and governance. By emphasizing legal, political and governance aspects of non-state actors’ activities at the international (global or regional) level, the series intends to transcend traditional disciplinary and organizational boundaries.

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