Connex – Infomail – April 2007

CONNEX info mail

– April 2007 –



New Publication – Journal of Comparative European Politics

”Special Issue”:Contested Meanings of Norms — The Challenge of Democratic Governance Beyond the State

Guest Editor: Antje Wiener, Universityof Bath

This special issue presents the results of the RG2 workshop “Contested Meanings: Democratic Practice and Principles across Cultural Boundaries” held at Queen’s University Belfast, 22–23 September 2005,.and discusses the role of three norm types – fundamental norms, organising principles and standardised procedures – in contexts of governance beyond the state. In particular, organising principles (such as accountability, the democratic audit and transparency) and fundamental norms (such as access to contestation, citizenship and representation) are examined according to the perception, contestation and constitution of meanings. As the introductory article on the research framework points out, the findings are of particular relevance for research on governance, in general, and compliance, in particular.

Comparative European Politics is an international forum for research, theory and debate on the comparative politics and political economy of contemporary Europe within and beyond the European Union, the processes of European integration and enlargement and the place of Europeand European states within international/global political and economic dynamics.

Abstract of introduction:

Constitutionalism is ‘a legal limitation on government’ and ‘an antithesis of arbitrary rule.’ It is this aspect of constitutionalism which the contributions to this special issue discuss with reference to various forms of governance beyond the state. It focuses on accommodating cultural diversity within the constitutional framework of one State (e.g. Canada) and on addressing recognition in a constitutional framework beyond the State (e.g. the European Union, the United Nations, or, the World Trade Organization). Once constitutional norms are dealt with outside their sociocultural context of origin, a potentially conflictive situation emerges based on de-linking two sets of social practices (i.e. cultural and organizational practices). The article argues that the potential for conflict caused by moving fundamental norms such as human rights, citizenship, sovereignty or the rule of law outside the bounded territory of states a decoupling of the customary from the organizational occurs, which creates a situation of enhanced contestedness. That is, through this transfer between contexts the meaning of norms becomes contested — as differently socialized individuals (politicians, civil servants, NGO activitis, parliamentarians or lawyers trained in different legal traditions) seek to interpret them. That is, while in supranational contexts actors may agree on the validity of a particular norm, say for example human rights, that agreement may not be recognised outside these limited negotiating contexts. Subsequently, associative connotations with normative meaning is likely to differ according to experience with norm-use. It is therefore important to ‘recover’ the hidden interrelation between cultural and organizational practices. Both contribute to the interpretation of meanings that are entailed in fundamental norms which are, in turn, constitutive for democratic governance beyond the state.

link to the issue…


New Publication:

“Social Capital and Governance – Old and New Members of the EU in Comparison.”

Edited by Frane Adam

With a preface by Thomas Luckmann

LIT Verlag Berlin, Reihe: Gesellschaftliche Transformationen/Societal Transformations

Bd. 11, 2007, 296 S., 29.90 EUR, ISBN 978-3-8258-9658-4

The intention of the contributions resulting from a work package of RG5 is to focus on some key aspects of social capital in the context of civic participation, governance and civil society at both national and EU levels. The role of new EU members is particularly stressed.

The texts aim to demonstrate how social capital in the form of co-operative norms and actions facilitates the self-organisation of civil society and its internal ability to articulate policy relevant alternative proposals. The efficiency and responsiveness of governance at different – local, national, transnational – levels are also addressed.

Besides theoretical reconsiderations, the authors draws attention to the issue of the quality of data and greater methodological reflexivity.

link to table of contents of the book…


A new EUROGOV paper was published on March 20, 2007:

Fabrizio Cafaggi and Horatia Muir Watt: “The Making of European Private Law: Regulation and Governance design”


The current debate on the desirability and modes of formation of European Private Law (“EPL”) is engaging a wide number of scholars and institutions. Current work concerns the search for a common core of EPL, the rationalisation of the acquis communautaire, the design of a European Civil Code. These ongoing projects raise at least two related questions concerning the challenges to Europeanisation of private law: First, what is the often implicit definition of private law standing behind the debate about the creation of EPL? Second, does the process of creation of EPL need some type of governance structure?

In this paper, the authors thus intend to contribute to a better understanding of these two dimensions of the debate. First, they wish to highlight the internal transformation of private law and its increasing regulatory function to be considered in governance design. If one takes into consideration the internal transformation of private law and its increasing regulatory function in addition to the role of private law in regulated sectors, several phenomena can be witnessed that require consideration in the governance design, such as the change of private law sources, and the procedural nature of Europeanisation.

Within this framework it is important to identify the interplay between EPL and private international law. The role of private international law (“PIL”) as a vehicle to ensure choice of rules for private parties might change quite considerably depending on the choices concerning private law rules, in particular whether there is harmonisation and which kind of private law rules are adopted. The role of PIL may also depend on the level at which rules are produced.

Second, the issue of the appropriate governance structure is addressed. In other words, does EPL need a governance structure that will accompany its formation, consolidation and changes? More on the point, is there a link between the governance design and the definition of EPL?

You can download the paper on the EUROGOV website at: .


Upcoming Activities


RG4 Workshop

“EU – Civil Society Relations: The Impact of the EU on National Movements and National Identity”

23-25 April 2007, Ross Priory, University of Strathclyde, UK

link to programme…


RG5 Workshop

“From National toward International Linkages? Civil Society and Multilevel Governance Part II”

3-4 May 2007, Middelburg, NL


RG4 Workshop

“Participative Governance beyond Borders? Civil Society Engagement in Comparative Perspective“

14-15 May 2007, Brussels, Belgium

link to programme…


2nd CONNEX Thematic Conference on


25-26 May 2007, EUI, Florence, Italy

link to programme…


3rd CONNEX Thematic Conference on


29-30 June 2007, EUI, Florence, Italy

link to programme…

Please find a continually updated overview of CONNEX activities on the startpage of the projects’ website: “Activitiy Overview”





16-22 September 2007, Wierzba, Poland


„Contested Compliance – Fostering Democracy in Europe: social, political and cultural obstacles to compliance to European norms.“

Europeanization of the social and political areas within and outside the EU

What are “European norms” and how can democracy be fostered?

Why are norms contested?

Compliance: what is at stake?

Deadline for submission of applications: 15 May 2007 !

link to application details…


Other Information & Job Offers


CONNEX Network Analysis

We would like to inform you of the upcoming fourth survey of the CONNEX network analysis. At the end of April 2007 we will be sending the questionnaires to all CONNEX participants in order to fill out and resend them to us as soon as possible. Thank you very much in advance for your support!

The survey is part of some procedures to collect and construct indicators for the measurement and the progress of the integration within our network. To measure the quantified progress of the objective to increase integration through the network activities within the Consortium members (and especially within the six Research Groups) this questionnaire was developed and will be sent to the CONNEX participants next week for the fourth time to gain information about the progress of the degree of integration. A very first evaluation and visualisation of the gathered information of the last two years can be found here:

link to network analysis…


For continually updated information, calls and programmes,

please visit the CONNEX website.