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Organized civil society and democratic legitimacy in the European Union.

Greenwood, Justin


Justin Greenwood


Structural limitations in models of representative democracy have enhanced the space for other mechanisms of legitimacy in the European Union, including participatory models in which organized civil society interests are significant players. To some observers, such actors are likely only to aggravate already problematic input legitimacy. A range of less hostile approaches also prevail, from a neutral standpoint through to those sharing the perspective of EU policy practice where such actors are seen as a complementary mechanism of democratic input. Whilst concerns about the impact of asymmetries of power between different types of organised civil society interests arise as potential issues in any democratic setting, a particularly vigorous neo-pluralist regime in which EU institutions actively create and develop as well as empower citizen interest groups effectively mitigate these asymmetries in an EU context, although can give rise to paradoxical tensions of elitism.


GREENWOOD, J. 2007. Organized civil society and democratic legitimacy in the European Union. British journal of political science [online], 37(2), pages 333-357. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 20, 2007
Online Publication Date Mar 20, 2007
Publication Date Apr 30, 2007
Deposit Date Sep 17, 2015
Publicly Available Date Sep 17, 2015
Journal British journal of political science
Print ISSN 0007-1234
Electronic ISSN 1469-2112
Publisher Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 37
Issue 2
Pages 333-357
Public URL


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