1st Edition

Democratic Transformations in Europe Challenges and opportunities

Edited By Yvette Peters, Michaël Tatham Copyright 2016
    362 Pages 38 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    362 Pages 38 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Democracies evolve. Their evolution is not only key to their survival; it is also a reflection of the changing environment in which they operate. This book contributes to the analysis and understanding of how democratic states have transformed over time by examining a number of challenges and opportunities that they face.

    With a focus on ‘Europe 31’, understood as the EU28 plus Switzerland, Norway, and Iceland, the book brings together separate strands of literature which often remain disconnected in political science narratives. Looking at citizen–state relations, the restructuring of politics and institutions of the state, and developments which reach 'beyond and below' the state, it interrogates a variety of issues ranging from the decline of parties or the re-emergence of nationalism as a political force, to liberal challenges to social democracy, terrorist threats, and climate change. The book combines these different dimensions into a comprehensive overview of the state of contemporary democracy, its challenges and opportunities, and its dynamic capacity to adapt. In other words, it deals with the perpetual threats to and transformations of democracy, and the state’s ability to protect and strengthen its democratic attributes.

    This text will be of key interest to scholars of European Politics, Comparative Politics, and Democracy Studies.

    1. The Transformation of Democracy [Yvette Peters and Michaël Tatham]

    Part I: Citizen-State Relation

    2. A Re-Emergence of Nationalism as a Political Force in Europe? [Terje Knutsen]

    3. What Kind of Challenge? Right-Wing Populism in Contemporary Western Europe [Lise Lund Bjånesøy and Elisabeth Ivarsflaten]

    4. Party Decline? [Hilmar L. Mjelde and Lars Svåsand]

    5. Democratic Discontent in Times of Crisis? [Jonas Linde and Stefan Dahlberg]

    Part II: Restructuring the Politics and Institutions of the State

    6. The Struggle between Liberalism and Social Democracy [Michael E. Alvarez]

    7. The Sustainability of European Welfare States: the Significance of Changing Labour Markets [Johannes Andresen Oldervoll and Stein Kuhnle]

    8. Intra-EU Migration and the Moral Sustainability of the Welfare State [Cornelius Cappelen]

    9. Displacing Politics. The State of Democracy in an Age of Diffused Responsibility [Yvette Peters]

    Part III: Governing Beyond and Below the State

    10. Terrorism, Counterterrorism and Democracy [Jan Oskar Engene]

    11. Climate Change Mitigation [Friederike Talbot]

    12. Minority Rights under Majority Rule: LGB-Rights in Europe [Vegard Vibe]

    13. Is the European Public Sphere Good for Democracy? [Hakan G. Sicakkan]

    14. Multi-Jurisdictional Politics: State Adaptation and Mixed Visions of Democracy [Michaël Tatham]

    15. The Contemporary State of Democracy in a Transformed Europe [Yvette Peters and Michaël Tatham]


    Yvette Peters is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Comparative Politics, at the University of Bergen, Norway. Her research focuses on institutions, political participation, and political representation, as well as the functioning, development, and interactions between representative and direct democracy. Her work can be found in the European Journal of Political Research, West European Politics, and Political Studies.

    Michaël Tatham is a Professor in the Department of Comparative Politics, at the University of Bergen, Norway. He is Chairman of the Council for European Studies research network on Territorial Politics and Federalism, Editor of the international journal Regional and Federal Studies, Editor of the Comparative Territorial Politics book series, and Director of the interdisciplinary BA programme in European Studies in Bergen.

    'This book does a great service. It takes really important contemporary issues – issues that affect all of us, from our sexual relationships to the quality of the air we breathe – and roots them in the analysis of one of the masters of political science, Robert Dahl. At times it made me more optimistic about democracy – and at times very concerned.' – Chris Hanretty, University of East Anglia, UK

    'Democratic Transformations in Europe is an outstanding contribution to the description and analysis of European democracy. It is broad, covering a large number of topics. It is structured by a theoretical perspective, which leads to important generalizations in the concluding chapter. It is comparative, analysing 31 European nations, and finally, it is balanced. It not only looks at deficits of current European democracies, but it also emphasizes achievements and developments furthering a future democratic Europe.' – Klaus Armingeon, University of Bern, Switzerland

    'Following Stein Rokkan the University of Bergen has established an excellent tradition of studying democracy and political parties. Democratic Transformations in Europe: Challenges and opportunities has been assembled by two very talented scholars that bring together research strengths of scholars from that Bergen tradition. In the aftermath of the recent UK referendum to exit the European Union ("Brexit"), this book addresses a number of particularly current and relevant questions for Europe moving forward on nationalism, migration, the welfare state, party decline, democratic satisfaction, terrorism, and a range of other important issues. As billed in the title, this volume is crucial for understanding challenges that face Europe, and it brings together a cohesive set of chapters to do so.' – Lawrence Ezrow, University of Essex, UK