From National to International Linkages
Edited by William A. Maloney and Jan W. van Deth
Jan W. van Deth and William A. Maloney Ongoing specialisation in the social sciences has made the study of rapid social and political developments in modern societies more challenging. Even broad and wide-ranging processes such as globalisation, individualisation or modernisation do not normally draw together scholars from diﬀerent (sub-)disciplines. Europeanisation and the rise of a multi-level system of governance in Europe are two further examples of apparently closely linked processes that are studied separately by many scholars. In 2005 – through the CONNEX network (see below) – we had the opportunity to bring together a number of social scientists with diﬀerent backgrounds, research interests and perspectives on political and social developments in Europe. At a conference in Bled (Slovenia) we discussed the various ways decisions in Europe were made and the success or otherwise of attempts to improve the engagement of citizens, voluntary associations, lobbyists, national ‘gatekeepers’ and interest groups within the complex European system of growing sub-national, national and supranational interdependencies. The participants at the Bled conference all shared their ideas about how to approach the study of decision making in Europe from a variety of angles and perspectives. Furthermore, all shared the goal of basing conclusions on empirical analyses and not simply theory (or speculation) alone. The considerable diﬀerences between the results of the various empirical analyses presented appeared to have more in common than we initially thought. Systematic comparisons turned out to be highly fruitful by distinguishing between ‘bottom-up’ (that is, focusing on the consequences...