Tina Freyburg, Sandra Lavenex, Frank Schimmelfennig | 2017

Just an Illusion? Democratization in the International Realm

in: Swiss Political Science Review 23: 3, 246-252.

Democracy is traditionally associated with the nation-state. Globalization has led to a debordering of political processes, and a reorganization of political authority in the international realm. International governance bodies, such as international organizations (IOs) and transgovernmental networks (TGNs), created to address cross-border challenges have expanded in number, form, and scope. While responding to the changing geography of political problems, this rescaling of the political space poses challenges to the democratic making of political decisions. It constitutes a fundamental dilemma between effectiveness and participation. How far can we observe the introduction of democratic principles and institutions in international governance bodies, what explains their adoption – and do these democratic features resonate with citizens’ support of international politics? This contribution summarizes key results from several research projects within the NCCR Democracy. We start with a theoretical discussion of the drivers and models of democratization in the international realm. We then focus on two features of international democratization: parliamentarization of IOs and democratic governance in TGNs, and present findings on citizens’ preferences of international politics.

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