Organizing Democracy
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Organizing Democracy

The Construction of Agency in Practice

Edited by Göran Sundström, Linda Soneryd and Staffan Furusten

This fresh and fascinating book adds an organizational perspective to the analysis of governance and democracy. It argues that a number of organizational factors challenge the notion of agency assumed by a governance model.
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Chapter 3: Completed Responsibility? Delegation, Organization and Accountability in Swedish Export of Military Equipment

Catrin Andersson


Catrin Andersson The focus of this chapter is the connection between accountability and the organization of essential political institutions. In the last few decades, accountability processes have become more complex. Decision making increasingly occurs in a network among actors from the private and the public spheres, resulting in more diffuse boundaries between the spheres and a greater distance from the political centre. The possibility of political and democratic control and accountability could thereby be obstructed. Sweden’s Committee on the Constitution represents a traditional form of accountability in the Swedish political context. The task of the committee is, among other things, to scrutinize the government’s handling of cases and the ministers’ exercising of their official duties. With the committee’s report as a basis, parliament decides whether or not measures must be taken.1 Predictably, one of the committee’s most extensive and difficult tasks over the past 30 years concerns the export of military equipment – a delicate and controversial policy field. The export of military equipment affects the cardinal spheres of the state: foreign affairs and security policy. A characteristic of this policy field is the heavy interdependence between state actors and actors of trade and industry. This is an area that has always been plagued with complicated responsibility and accountability issues. The defence industry requires permission from the state in order to export military equipment, and the export criteria are – at least according to some analysts – stricter in Sweden than in any other Western European country (SOU, 2005, p. 109). There are...

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