A Political Sociology of European ‘Anti-Politics’ and Dissent
22 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2012 Last revised: 11 Apr 2013
Date Written: October 29, 2012
The democratic nature of the European integration project is contested, and contestation and dissent seem to be on the increase, or at least becoming more visible, with the current economic crisis. The European project confined to transnational market-making is found wanting in terms of social competence as well as civic-democratic enablement. It seems undeniable that the attempts by the European Union (EU) to enhance its democratic standing have so far had limited success. For a political sociology of European democracy, an increasing gap between a European society and the formal-political world of the EU raises a host of significant and interesting questions. The paper will tie in with some of the recent sociological studies that focus on European democracy, civil society, and social movements, and will contribute to the delineation of a specifically political-sociological approach to European democracy. The approach will link political theory with sociological insights, the latter in particular taken from the sociology of critical capacity as developed by Boltanski and Thévenot and others. Such an approach seems particularly useful in terms of the sociological exploration of different forms of critique and various repertoires of justification regarding the European polity, not least those expressed by ‘anti-political’ and dissenting movements.
Keywords: Anti-politics, Democratic deficit, Dissent, EU, Political Sociology, Social Movements
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