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Förankring av socialdemokratisk EU-politik. Med rum för demokratisk debatt?

by Rosén Sundström, Malena, PhD

Abstract (Summary)
Stratagems adopted by democratic leaders to try to insinuate, or anchor, a preferred course of action into the larger collective will have a variety of repercussions. Beyond the apparent success of the venture itself, the long-term integrity of the democratic fabric may be at stake if simmering rancour and discontent is left unheeded. These questions would seem particularly pertinent when studying the national side of the evolution of the European Union. The periodic shunting of competencies to European institutions is highly complex, so much so that popular legitimacy for the momentous changes is in effect something of an ephemeral commodity. The referendum, with its unique potential to determine the prevailing vox populi, has from time to time been employed to offset these problems, and lend continued credence to the relinquishment of sovereign power. The political entities that will be the powerhouses in this contest for the hearts and minds of the public are, inevitably, national political parties. They, too, are likely to pay whatever political price will be exacted as a consequence of this unusual form of battle – including the exposition and potential widening of internal rifts. Noticing a dearth of investigative tools that can help us unravel these processes, the author develops a structured framework of analysis specifically designed to “parse” strategic or tactical action, with the aim to gauge likely party-democratic fallout. She makes a first-level distinction between “convincing” strategies (basically conceptualised as compatible with deli¬berative-democratic tenets), and “persuading” strategies (closely associated with a subset of negotiation theory principles focusing on strategic action). While both strategies may lead to the desired short-term outcome – where leadership preferences are duly propagated – a convince/persuade analysis is shown to yield improved understanding of the concomitant, longer-term effects. The author studies the Swedish Social Democratic Party’s internal handling of the debates leading up to two pivotal referenda – the EU membership referendum of 1994, and the EMU referendum of 2003. Reviewing a wealth of secondary sources and conducting more than 40 interviews with high-level party officials and other centrally positioned actors (representing both sides of the two issue divides), she is provided with a unique material, which is parsed through the framework (which at this point also proves to be a sound analytical instrument). The study is primarily qualitative in nature, but an entire chapter is devoted to a complementing quantitative analysis where an existing Discourse Quality Index (DQI) is used to determine the level of deliberation prevalent in four party congresses (two preceding the EU referendum; two preceding the EMU referendum). One “convince” sub-dimension, respect, proved to be the one most easily affected by external events, not to mention deadline imposed by the referendum. The qualitative analysis revealed a generally higher level of justification (another ”convince” sub-dimension) in the EMU case than in the EU case, and the reverse was true for the respect dimension. In both instances, the party leadership acted to pacify [persuade] the debate, notably by prohibiting government ministers from being active in the respective no-campaigns. A preliminary hypothesis that “deliberative space” shrinks as the final deadline looms was in part corroborated, as turned out to be valid for the respect dimension.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Lunds universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:SOCIAL SCIENCES; democracy; Social-democratic party; anchoring; convincing; persuasion; deliberation; party politics; EU; EMU

ISBN:978-91-88306-73-9

Date of Publication:01/01/2009

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