1st Edition

The Accountability of Expertise Making the Un-Elected Safe for Democracy

Edited By Erik O. Eriksen Copyright 2021
    216 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    216 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Based on in-depth studies of the relationship between expertise and democracy in Europe, this book presents a new approach to how the un-elected can be made safe for democracy. It addresses the challenge of reconciling modern governments’ need for knowledge with the demand for democratic legitimacy.

    Knowledge-based decision-making is indispensable to modern democracies. This book establishes a public reason model of legitimacy and clarifies the conditions under which unelected bodies can be deemed legitimate as they are called upon to handle pandemics, financial crises, climate change and migration flows. Expert bodies are seeking neither re-election nor popularity, they can speak truth to power as well as to the citizenry at large. They are unelected, yet they wield power. How could they possibly be legitimate?

    This book is of key interest to scholars and students of democracy, governance, and more broadly to political and administrative science as well as the Science Technology Studies (STS).

    1. Introduction: Making the un-elected safe for democracy

    Erik O. Eriksen

    2. Strategies for Repairing legitimacy deficits

    Erik O. Eriksen

    3. Reasoned Administration: The European Union, the United States, and the project of democratic governance

    Jerry L. Mashaw

    4. Power, Money, Knowledge and the European Central Bank

    Christopher Lord

    5. Reputational Threats and Democratic Responsiveness of Regulatory Agencies

    Tobias Bach, Marlene Jugl, Dustin Köhler and Kai Wegrich

    6. Accountability and Inter-institutional Respect: The case of independent regulatory agencies

    Andreas Eriksen

    7. Accountability beyond Control: How can parliamentary hearings connect the elected and the unelected?

    Andreas Eriksen and Alexander Katsaitis

    8. Expertise and the General will in Democratic Republicanism

    Kjartan Koch Mikalsen

    9. Values in Expert Reasoning: A pragmatic approach

    Torbjørn Gundersen

    10. Experts: From technocrats to representatives

    Erik O. Eriksen


    Erik O. Eriksen is Professor of Political Science and former director of ARENA, Centre for European Studies, University of Oslo, Norway.

    "Is there a ‘legitimacy basis for the unelected’? Yes, say Erik O. Eriksen and the specialist authors in this must-read volume. In an age of scepticism about knowledge, we are reminded of the vital importance of ‘public reason’ as a basis for informed decision-making. We know that we cannot live without experts, but we also know we must legitimate expertise. This volume unlocks this conundrum, reinvigorating existing legal and institutional debates by re-asserting the political-philosophical foundations for legitimate action." 

    Michelle Everson, Birkbeck College, University of London, UK.

    "Experts and expertise are under attack. They are needed but lost their aura of impartiality. This book offers a democratic understanding of experts by building on the reasons-giving requirement. Erik O. Eriksen, a master of the intersection between empirical and normative analysis, has gathered a set of intriguing contributions by excellent scholars. The result is a timely contribution to one of the most challenging issues for our democracies."

    Michael Zürn, Berlin Social Science Center (WZB), Germany.