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Saurugger, S. (2007). Democratic ‘Misfit’? Conceptions of Civil Society Participation in France and the European Union. Political Studies 55, 84–404.

The European Union’s attempts to improve its democratic character increasingly often lead to debates about how to include civil society organizations in its decision-making processes. However, this interpretation of participatory democracy seems at odds with democratic traditions in a number of member states. Among those, France is said to be at the diametrically opposite end of the EU democratization debate spectrum. French democratic thought is based on government through electoral representation. The aim of this article is to analyze both theoretically and empirically the discourse  and participatory processes in both the EU and France.While normative approaches to democratic patterns in the EU and French political debate show important differences, empirical evidence suggests that the misfit between the European and French conception of democracy is less developed than one might believe.


Saurugger, Sabine

Sabine Saurugger is Professor of Politics and Research Director at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (IEP) of Grenoble (France). She has studied political science at the University of Vienna and the Free University of Berlin and obtained her PhD at the IEP de Paris in 2001. She has taught at...

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