Dimitris N. Chryssochoou, Michael J. Tsinisizelis, Stelios Stavridis and Kostas Ifantis
This chapter discusses the revision process of the Maastricht Treaty. It assesses the politics of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) 1996/97 and looks at the extent to which the outcome of the revision process – namely the Treaty of Amsterdam – represents a development of the integration process, or if it is merely a combination of state competences. The chapter studies the Final Report of the Reflection Group, which was structured around three dimensions (efficiency, democracy and flexibility). It also discusses the issues of subsidiarity and transparency, the changes made to simplify European Union decisionmaking, the revisions made to the voting mechanisms in the Council and the expansion of Qualified Majority Voting. The chapter furthermore studies the classification of Community Acts, which came from the European Parliament's Institutional Affairs Committee and the Italian government during the IGCs.
The development and academic study of the 'Third Way' since the mid-1990s represents the most consistent and durable attempt to develop those overt beliefs on behalf of the 'Centre-Left' in general and New Labour in particular. Five names crop up when communitarian philosophy is cited by Third Way commentators: Alasdair MacIntyre; Michael Sandel; Charles Taylor; Michael Walzer and John Macmurray. These philosophers are the subject of this chapter. The obvious connection between Tony Blair and Macmurray is the importance for both of them of the idea of community. For Macmurray, individualism is an expression of fear, while society is an expression of mutual need, and community an expression of love. Sandel's approach has been seen as epitomising a communitarianism in which justice and community are in conflict. MacIntyre's criticism of liberalism is far broader than Sandel's.
This chapter articulates the idea of one kind of community, pertinent to social and political questions, which is present in many areas of actual human life. It explores a specific conception of community as a collective agency. The chapter suggests that the membership of a collective agency raises important questions about loyalty, allegiance and dissociation. Where an individual is participating in collective action with others, a space must always be left for critical reflection, options of identification with or dissociation from the CA and even actual detachment from a CA. The chapter also suggests that the existence of collective agencies casts doubt on the adequacy of the doctrine of the distinctness of persons. According to the doctrine, it is particularly important to bundle together the desires of a single individual. By contrast, no special importance attaches to a bundle which represents the desires of different individuals for the same end.
Politics takes place within a framework of ideas and concepts, ideological and religious beliefs, and social and political institutions moulded by the struggles arising from their interplay. This chapter focuses on religion and politics, disabled rights movements, gay rights movements and animal rights movements. Religious identity plays a very important role in the creation of the national identity of most countries. 'Fundamentalism' was originally applied to an approach to religion in which it was assumed that the original purity of the faith had been compromised and that purification by means of a return to the well springs was required. In Europe and particularly in Britain, fundamentalism seems to have virtually no mainstream political impact. Radical secularism and the political pseudo-religions of fascism and communism have created as much misery and death as has religion during the twentieth century.
Conservatism is one of the major intellectual and political strains of thought in Western culture. Originating as something of a 'reaction' to the radical, liberal and, later, socialist movements during the early period of industrialisation in Britain and Europe, conservatism remains a powerful ideological force in Western societies. This chapter explores conservatism from its intellectual and cultural roots in the eighteenth century to developments in the early twenty-first century. Considerable attention is given to the historical experiences of conservative parties, especially in Britain, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, experiences that have been at least as significant in the development of conservative ideology as particular individual thinkers. The chapter emphasises conservative themes such as patriotism, freedom under the law, order, hierarchy, discipline, inequality and traditional institutions.
This chapter explores the link between the weakening of states and the changes in criminal policies and outlines their implications for individual rights. Zygmunt Bauman and Loïc Wacquant regard the criminalisation of poverty by western states as the paradoxical outcome of their weakened capacity for social intervention due to the erosion of their political sovereignty by global pressures. From Cesare Beccaria in the eighteenth century to H.L.A. Hart and John Rawls in the twentieth, liberal theories of punishment have attempted to combine the general deterrence of crime with due retribution against actual criminals. The early liberal theories of punishment assumed a conception of individuals as owning themselves and freely choosing and taking responsibility for their own conduct on the basis of a calculus of its personal and social consequences.
This chapter reviews existing critical strategies towards the Third Way. It divides the various criticisms from what are broadly the neo-Marxist and the social democratic Left into those which dismiss the Third Way as a 'smokescreen'. The smokescreen approaches highlight important issues about the relationship between ideological projects and material interests. The chapter identifies and elaborates the productive critique of the Third Way. Too often third-wayers treat the dramatic social transformations they have identified as a fact of nature, rather than historical constructions that can be steered by purposeful political interventions. The desire to recreate a traditional Labour Party based on the male bread-winner model neglects what the Third Way recognizes. The chapter suggests that Third Way theory itself, particularly the earlier work of Anthony Giddens, contains the basis of a more progressive vision than that which is being pursued by current practitioners.
Dimitris N. Chryssochoou, Michael J. Tsinisizelis, Stelios Stavridis and Kostas Ifantis
This chapter provides a critical summary of the Amsterdam and Nice reforms, reflecting on the Union's post-Nice agenda and the current debate on the future of Europe. It notes that the intense debate that occurred during the period leading up to the Treaty of Amsterdam continued with a publication of the Commission under ‘Agenda 2000’. The chapter also provides the possible prospects for the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) 2004, which are the allocation of competences, simplification of the treaties and the remodelling of the legislature.
This chapter focuses on 'liberal democracy', and examines the idea of democracy as 'the sovereign people' governed by consent. It explores arguments for and against democracy, and some reflections on the future of democracy in the twenty-first century. The chapter identifies a number of features of democracy. These features include democracy as a system of government, democracy and legitimising government, majority rule and democracy, equality of citizenship rights, public opinion in democracies, and the rule of law and democracy. There are two forms in democracy, including 'defensive democracy' and 'citizen democracy'/'republican democracy'. Defensive democracy sees a tension between citizens and the state, and a distinction between public and private spheres of life. Citizen democracy assumes greater involvement than merely voting with citizens taking an active part in the political system.
This chapter begins by considering a recent minimalist view of democracy and explores two important contemporary models of democracy: the interest-aggregating model and the deliberative model. It also considers a supplement to each of these models in the form of 'contestatory' democratic mechanisms. This supplement to both the major models is not least important because it contributes in maintaining an effective sense of political belonging among minority groups. Consequently, under non-ideal conditions, a concern with promoting democratic stability in the sense of a strong identification of citizens with their democratic institutions entails that we have good reasons to adopt a contestatory supplement to our basic democratic fora. The chapter concludes by indicating at what is arguably the main contemporary challenge to democratic theory and practice in the era of globalisation.