Title: Facing the paradigm of non-state actor involvement: the EU-Andean region negotiation process
Authors: Peels, Rafael; S0041331
Issue Date: 22-Nov-2012
Abstract: Non-state actor involvement seems to be one of the major paradigms in political thinking and practice. Both in the academic literature as in policy documents, expectations on the role of non-state actors in policy-making are high. Non-state actors are believed to enhance the democratic character of policy-making by promoting active citizenship, improving deliberation, increasing transparency and accountability, channeling discriminated voices to better policy outcomes and the implementation of these. It is not clear at all, however, what is understood by non-state actors or civil society. Furthermore, opinions on their role highly differ among actors. In addition, we do not know whether civil society participates at all and which factors determine their involvement. These are the questions that we try to answer in this work, and this by means of mainly 4 parts/topics. In part 1, we take a closer look at the Why and How questions of this research. In a first chapter, we examine what is understood by civil society/non-state actors and what is the discourse of both state and non-state actors on their role in policy-making? In a second chapter, we unfold our research design, clarifying our main research questions, data collection and analysis, the choice for a multiple embedded case study and the methodological principles that underpin our research. We opted for a case study method, taking a closer look at the European Union-Andean region negotiation process of an Association Agreement. To examine differences in involvement and clarify which factors determine whether and how an organisation participates, we differentiate between various non-state actors, countries and policy levels.In part 2, we approach non-state actor involvement in the EU-CAN negotiation process from the perspective of democratising democracy. The latter is often referred to as non-state actors contributing to a participative democracy, and this in comparison to a dominant model of democracy: electoral democracy. In chapter 3, we start by a brief literature review of the main theoretical strands on participative democracy. Subsequently, we develop an analytical framework that helps us to better understand the involvement in the EU-CAN negotiation process. After having applied this framework to the EU-CAN case, in chapter 4, we take a closer look at the main findings. We come to the conclusion that input legitimacy, governments and politics matter.In a third part, we get deeper into how organisations join and express themselves together. We call this articulation. The main aim of chapters 5 and 6 is to examine whether and how non-state actor articulation determines their involvement. We do this by means of the development of an analytical framework that is applied to the EU-CAN case (chapter 5). As the EU-CAN negotiation process involves various policy levels, we do the same exercise for the supra/transnational dimension (chapter 6) and take a closer look at the main findings. We come to four important conclusions that go along the same line as our findings in part 2. Articulations are schools of democracy, governments and politics matter, and trans/supranational articulations may get locked-in.In part 4, we further develop the role of government institutions in the EU-CAN negotiation process and how this determines the participation of non-state actors. In chapter 7, we start with a brief overview of the main theoretical strands on institutions. Afterwards, we build a bridge between these to construct a proper analytical framework that is used to better understand the EU-CAN negotiation process. In a next step, we highlight the main findings of this analysis. Although expectations have been high in the beginning of the process, the EU-CAN negotiation resulted to be less multiple and diversified than expected initially. Furthermore, institutions are characterized by path dependency, and institutional practices and procedures develop relatively independently from its legal basis.In a concluding chapter (chapter 8), we sketch the broader picture of our research, by further clarifying the relations among part 1, 2, 3 and 4. We do this by getting back to the Why, the How and the What questions of this research.
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: TH
Appears in Collections:Research Group Sustainable Development
Leuven International and European Studies (LINES)

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