The Role of International Organizations in Social Policy

The Role of International Organizations in Social Policy

Ideas, Actors and Impact

Edited by Rune Ervik, Nanna Kildal and Even Nilssen

This book considers the role of international organizations and their promotion of ideas and recommendations in social and health policy. It explores a wide range of organizations, scrutinizing their ideas-based content, their role as policy actors and their impact on national policy.

Chapter 3: Directly-deliberative Polyarchy: A Suitable Democracy Model for European Social Policy?

Milena Büchs

Subjects: social policy and sociology, comparative social policy


Milena Büchs INTRODUCTION Directly-deliberative polyarchy is a new model of decentralized democracy and social policy recently applied to legitimize the Open Method of Coordination (Gerstenberg and Sabel 2002; Eberlein and Kerwer 2004). To be able to discuss the appropriateness of directly-deliberative polyarchy for legitimizing the Open Method of Coordination, it is crucial to reflect on the relationship between democracy and social policy more generally. The introduction discusses this relationship and claims that social policy and democracy are related to each other in a circular way: social policy can provide output legitimacy whilst at the same time it needs to be based on input legitimacy.1 It is very difficult to institutionalize this particular relationship at the European level, and each governance model of EU social policy must therefore be scrutinized regarding its effects on the relationship between social policy and democracy. This chapter examines this question in relation to the Open Method of Coordination. In modern welfare states, social policy and democracy are mutually co-dependent. In comparison to other policy areas, social policy requires a particularly solid legitimacy basis. On the other hand, social policy is a precondition and stabilizer of mass democracy. This chapter argues that the special relationship between social policy and democratic legitimacy has been put under pressure by European integration and that a new relationship between these two spheres must be established within the multilevel governance system of the European Union. One underlying assumption of this chapter is that redistributive social policies are still in demand...

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