A genealogy of EU discourses and practices of deliberative governance: Beyond states and markets?

AuthorOwen Parker
Date01 December 2019
Published date01 December 2019
A genealogy of EU discourses and practices
of deliberative governance: Beyond states
and markets?
Owen Parker
Department of Politics, University of Sheffield,
Sheffield, UK
Owen Parker, Department of Politics,
University of Sheffield, Northumberland Road,
Sheffield S3 7ND, UK.
Email: o.parker@sheffield.ac.uk
The article offers a genealogy of deliberative governancein the
EUan important contemporary discourse and practice of
throughput legitimacywithin that setting. It focuses on three key
episodes: the late 1990s Governancereports of the European
Commissions in-house think-tank, the Forward Studies Unit (FSU);
the Commissions 2001 White Paper on Governance; and the EUs
Open Method of Coordination, which emerged in the 1990s and
was widely studied in the early and mid-2000s. The genealogy
serves to highlight the particular intellectual lineages and political
contingencies associated with such a discourse and in so doing
points to its exclusive potential in both theory and practice. In par-
ticular, the article argues that it excludes, on the one hand, those
championing the enduring sociological and normative importance
of the nation state and an associated representative majoritarian-
ism and, on the other hand, those (excessively) critical of a func-
tionalist, neoliberal, market-making status quo.
European institutions have long been preoccupied with the legitimacy of the Union and its antecedents. Efforts have
focused variously on pushing the message that integration has been favourable to the people of Europe (output
legitimacy) and creating channels for the inclusion of the people of Europe in shaping integration (input legitimacy)
(see Scharpf 1999; Schrag Sternberg 2013). In part as a consequence of the perceived failures of these efforts, an
alternative intellectual agenda took shape within the European Commission in the mid-1990s. This took a different
approach, aiming not primarily to drive prosperity and economic growth (output) or legitimate Europe as a nation
state in the making (input), but instead pointing to, championing, and looking to improve upon, an emergent multi-
level and networked post-national governance (De Schutter et al. 2001, pp. 2122; Schrag Sternberg 2013,
pp. 14145).
Such governance was portrayed as both a (sociological) consequence of and an appropriate (normative) response
to conditions of rapid globalization and increasing complexity in national and global politics. While the term
Received: 6 November 2017 Revised: 17 September 2018 Accepted: 21 September 2018
DOI: 10.1111/padm.12558
Public Administration. 2019;97:741753. wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/padm © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd 741

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