Table of Contents

International Handbook on Informal Governance

International Handbook on Informal Governance

Elgar original reference

Edited by Thomas Christiansen and Christine Neuhold

Acknowledging that governance relies not only on formal rules and institutions but to a significant degree also on informal practices and arrangements, this unique Handbook examines and analyses a wide variety of theoretical, conceptual and normative perspectives on informal governance.

Chapter 4: Informal Politics: The Normative Challenge

Christine Reh

Subjects: politics and public policy, public policy, regulation and governance


Christine Reh* INTRODUCTION: THE COMPLEXITY OF MODERN POLITICS The claim that political decisions at the national, supranational and international levels are taken under conditions of ever-increasing complexity has become commonplace in both academic discourse and public debate. Complexity stems from a variety of sources – the multiplicity of policy problems to be tackled and the degree of expertise required to evaluate and solve them; the plethora of (non-state) actors and stakeholders involved in different stages of policy-making; and the overlap of domestic, European and global decision arenas in the ‘de-bordering space’ that is modern politics. In the European Union (EU) more particularly, two recent institutional and systemic developments have added further complexity: the introduction of codecision as a new legislative procedure in 1993, and the Union’s enlargement to 27 member states by 2007. If the former development has diversified the institutional rules and interests of legislative decision-making, the latter has increased the sheer number of actors and preferences as well as the EU’s cultural and party-political heterogeneity. Increasing complexity has triggered a variety of responses – political and academic, institutional and normative. Most fundamentally, observers have questioned the relevance of parliamentary democracy altogether and have advocated different forms of post-parliamentary governance (Burns 1999). More generally, we witness two contrasting developments, apparent at both the national and European levels (Héritier and Mair 2007). On the one hand, political decision-makers are increasingly ‘sealed off’ from their wider constituencies, as well as from the rank-and-file of elected representatives. The number of decision-makers is de...

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