Challenges to Representative Democracy

A European Perspective

by Robert Wiszniowski (Volume editor)
©2015 Edited Collection 271 Pages


Using different perspectives and various approaches, this collection of diagnostic texts aims at presenting all the possible faces of the contemporary Nation-State. Based on political science methodology, this volume is devoted to both theory and practice. The structure of the book is unconventional. The issues presented are extremely contextual, subject to an ongoing discussion and mostly unpredictable. From the scientific point of view, the territorial differentiation in the traditional uniform of the Nation-State is simply reconfigured and reshaped due to the new logic of internal market competition.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editor
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Contributors
  • Preface
  • Ancient and medieval nation state: political and historical deliberations
  • The porcelain fragility of authoritarian states
  • A state in democratic and authoritarian regimes
  • Amorphousness of a state in a postmodern international system
  • The paradoxes of modern communication in old nation-states
  • The informational paradigm and the modern state
  • The European Union as a regulatory regime
  • Debt crisis in the euro zone: selected problems of economic and fiscal governance
  • Crisis in party politics: new aspects of the old problem
  • Electoral systems in regional politics of supremacy
  • Rise, crisis and transfiguration of the Italian regional system
  • State transformation in pursuit of continuity: the case of Scotland
  • The Spanish way from authoritarianism to democracy
  • The enclaves of Europe: the case of the Kaliningrad region of Russian Federation
  • Regional governance in Polish version: voivodship social dialog commissions
  • Revisiting a nation-state: some theoretical assumptions
  • Index

← 6 | 7 → Contributors

Robert Alberski, professor in the Department of Political Systems of the Institute of Political Science of the University of Wrocław. Director of the Institute of Political Science. His research work deals with issues of contemporary electoral systems and elections as well as political systems of Europe. He is the chief editor of Political Studies of Wrocław and the theme editor in Political Preference.

Marek Bankowicz, professor of political science and head of the Department of Contemporary Political Systems at the Institute of Political Science and International Relations at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow. He is the author and co-author of many publications on comparative political science and the history of modern global politics.

Roman Bäcker, professor of political science, Dean of Faculty of Political Science and International Studies University Nicolaus Copernicus in Toruń. He is the President of Polish Political Science Association. He is interesting in theories of non-democratic regimes and political system as well as political thought in contemporary Russia.

Marcin Chełminiak, Deputy Director of the Institute of Political Sciences, University of Warmia and Mazury.

Maciej Herbut, lecturer at the Institute of Political Science at Wrocław Univeristy. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on the political role of the military in Turkish politics.

Ryszard Herbut, professor of Comparative Politics at Wrocław University and at the Angelus Silesius State School of Higher Vocational Education in Wałbrzych. He has published more than 90 articles and essays in scientific journals (in Polish, English, Slovakian and Ukrainian languages). He is author and co-author and editor of 17 books. His works focused on party systems and party behaviour, elections and government formation from a comparative perspective.

Jerzy Juchnowski, professor of University of Wrocław. Head of Department of Modern History and Social Movements in the Institute of Political Sciences of Wrocław University. He has published six monographs, six volumes of source selection and several dozen studies and articles devoted to European and Polish ← 7 | 8 → political thought. His interests include modern history of Poland, which he has written extensively about. He is currently the Dean of the Department of Social Studies University of Wrocław.

Agnieszka Kasińska-Metryka, professor of Jan Kochanowski University. Areas of interest: political leadership, public relations, political communication, political marketing.

Teresa Łoś-Nowak, professor of Univeristy of Wrocław. Vice-Rector of Univeristy of Wrocław (2005-2012); Deputy Director of the Institute of Political Sciences (1997-1999); and Director (1999-2005). Her field of study: international relations.

Patrizia Magarò, professor at the University of Genoa, where she teaches: Public Comparative Law and Federal and Regional Comparative Systems.

James Mitchell, holds the Chair in Public Policy in the University of Edinburgh. He Co-directs Edinburgh University’s Academy of Government and What Works Scotland, the latter is an initiative funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council and Scottish Government analysing public policy. His most recent book, The Scottish Question, was published by Oxford University Press in July 2014.

Javier Lorenzo-Rodríguez, professor in the Social Sciences Department at Universidad Carlos III of Madrid. Member of the Executive Board of Spanish Political Science and Sociology Association and Secretary of the Policy and Governance Research Institute (IPOLGOB) at Universidad Carlos III of Madrid. My research focuses on online party politics; specifically, on the strategic use of Internet by parties as a communication tool during electoral campaigns and its effect on the inter-party competition in Western democracies.

Teresa Sasińska-Klas, professor at the Institute of Journalism and Social Communication, Jagiellonian University, Cracow (Kraków), Poland. Member of the Executive Committee, IPSA, 2009-2012; V-ce President of International Political Science Association (IPSA) for Europe and Africa, 2012-2014; President of the Polish Association of Political Science, 2004-2010; V-ce President of the PAPS,. 1994-1998; 2010-; Chair of the PAPS, branch in Cracow, 1984-1994. Research field: Media and politics in East-Central Europe after 1989; The role of media in the framework of EU; Public opinion, political participation, political ← 8 | 9 → consciousness; mediatization of politics; political socialization in the different political cultures.

Jan Ryszard Sielezin, professor of University of Wrocław. He deals with political thought, methodology, Church-State relations, contemporary Polish history, and general 20th century history. The author of eleven books, and 130 articles.

Katarzyna Sobolewska-Myślik, professor and lecturer in the Institute of Political Science at Pedagogical University in Cracow (Kraków). She has published on various aspects of political parties, including internal organization of Polish parties and recently on the regional parties in Europe.

Jacek Sroka, professor in the General Kosciuszko Academy of Land Forces in Wrocław. Previously he worked as a researcher, an expert, and academic teacher, also in managerial positions: at Wroclaw University, in the ministerial Institute of Labor and Social Affairs and the leading Polish think-tank: Institute of Public Affairs. He worked with the Foundation for the Improvement of Working and Living Conditions in Dublin and the Warsaw School of Economics (Szkoła Główna Handlowa). The field of his scientific interests include: industrial relations, public policy, social and citizen’s dialogue, governance, public administration.

Robert Wiszniowski, professor at the University of Wrocław. Vice Dean for Science and International Relations, Faculty of Social Sciences. Researcher and teacher at the Institute of Political Science. The President of the Association for Civic Education in Wrocław and editor in-chief of the scientific e-journal: Polish Political Science Review. Vice President of the Polish Association of Political Marketing and long-time member of the Polish Association of Political Science. Advisor to the Association of Employers of Poland Copper, as well as the manager and beneficiary of research projects the Ministry of Science and Higher Education Republic of Poland and National Science Center on political parties in Poland and the European Union, and electoral behaviour at the local, national and European political scene as well as on the strategies of modern state. Author, co-author and editor of 10 books and about 60 articles (including in English), editorial reviewer. Participant in European exchange programs for academic staff. Research interests: political marketing (including, more broadly, political advertising and promotion), voting behaviour, local and national development strategies, the political system of the European Union and public policy theory and practice.

← 9 | 10 → Marek Wróblewski, professor of the Wrocław University, economist. His area of research specialization is connected with international economic relations, regional economic integration and development as well as international finance. He is working in the Institute of International Studies of the Wrocław University.

Arkadiusz Żukowski, Director of the Institute of Political Sciences, University of Warmia and Mazury.

← 10 | 11 → Preface

Michael Keating (2003) writes about: “(…) the transformation of state, the emergence of a European level of government, and the necessary inter-dependence of all various levels” (p. 114). Similar issues are presented in the book: Challenges to Representative Democracy which offers an extremely serious discussion concerning the future of the Nation-State from the practical as well as theoretical point of view. It can be stated that the European and international politics and their impact on the domestic politics of the Nation-States is clearly observed. However, such a laconic interpretation is not an illusionary vision, in fact we generate the new forms of political restoration. Otherwise, “(…) in an era of radical transformation, ambitious institution building and challenges to traditional political structures and identities, the recreation of civil society ‘a public sphere’ congruent with these changes is perhaps the greatest challenge facing Europe today” (Rhodes, Heywood, Wright 1997, p. 15). There is no doubt that the States have been affected by the rise of economic and political globalization and the European integration processes. Moreover, “As societies become now more complex and fluid, new methods of governing had to be devised that relied less on hierarchical state institutions and more networks and the market, thus blurring the distinction between state and society” (Heywood 2007, p. 104).

Erik Oddvar Erriksen and John Erik Fossum (2004) propose the three key strategies that can be used to “repair” the EU’s legitimacy deficits. Those strategies are based on the three different conceptions of rationality: instrumental, contextual, and communicative, with their adherent warrant notions: efficiency, identity and justice. Anyway, a strategically oriented concept may be applicable in a general sense. In fact, the dynamics of political, economical as well as societal changes derived, in a sense, from the new modes of governance, mostly affected by the European Union policy and its members.

Firstly, the instrumental logic entails a kind of political organizations which special purpose is to solve the problems the Nation-States face. Secondly, a contextual logic defines Europe as a community in which the different national modes of allegiance and identification are to be harmonized. Thirdly, a communicative logic perceives the EU as sensitive to cultural diversity. Therefore, the integration process hinges on the ability to establish the fair system of cooperation founded on basic rights and democratic procedures for deliberation and decision-making (pp. 437-38) at supranational, national and sub-national level. Such specific and complex coexistence should be a part of the new politics of different interests and multiplicity of political actors. It is crucial to understand ← 11 | 12 → how contemporary politics is performed and how political goals are achieved or fulfilled.

The structure of this book is unconventional. The issues we try to present are extremely contextual, subject to an ongoing discussion, and mostly unpredictable. From the scientific point of view, the territorial differentiation in the traditional uniform of the Nation-State is simply reconfigured and reshaped due to the new logic of competition of the internal market. Stefano Bartolini (2007) claims that it is a unique process, “which tends to create a new aggregation of territorial and sector interest and to help the re-emergence of old cleavages between centers and peripheries of production and trade (e.g. economic axes such as those of the Renan region, Catalonia, the French Midi, Padania, Carinthia)” (p. 276).

It seems to be evident that the European integration has posed a series of political and constitutional challenges to regions as well as to the Nation-States. In that respect, Michael Keating (1998) claims definitely: “A rejectionist regionalism opposes European integration fearing a further loss of democratic control, more remote government and the triumph of market principles” (p. 163).

The book consists of 16 articles written by 19 contributors, scholars from Italy (Genoa), Scotland (Edinburgh), Spain (Madrid) and Poland (Cracow, Kielce, Toruń, Olsztyn, Wrocław). The aim of the final work is to present all the possible faces of the contemporary Nation-State. The composition of the monograph is devoted to theory and practice and is a collection of diagnostic texts based on a political science methodology. Obviously, the book presents different perspectives and offers various approaches.

As far as the content of the monograph is concerned, Jerzy Juchnowski and Jan R. Sielezin discuss the ancient and medieval nation-state, while Teresa Łoś-Nowak writes about the amorphousness of a state in a postmodern international system. James Mitchell analyses the state transformation in pursuit of continuity taking into account the case of Scotland. Teresa Sasińska-Klas comments upon the paradoxes of a modern communication in old nation-states. Furthermore, Javier Lorenzo-Rodríguez presents the informational paradigm in the light of a modern state, whereas Marek Bankowicz discusses a state in democratic and authoritarian regimes. Agnieszka Kasińska-Metryka presents the Spanish way from authoritarianism to democracy, Maciej Herbut and Ryszard Herbut describe the European Union as a regulatory regime and Marek Wróblewski writes about the Euro zone from the perspective of the selected problems of economic and fiscal governance. Moreover, Katarzyna Sobolewska-Myślik predicts the crisis in party politics today, Robert Alberski comments upon the electoral systems in the politics of regional supremacy and Patrizia Magarò examines the rise, crisis and transfiguration of the Italian regional system. Roman Bäcker deals with ← 12 | 13 → the porcelain fragility of authoritarian states, whereas Arkadiusz Żukowski and Marcin Chełminiak explore the strengths and weaknesses of the enclaves in the geopolitical system of Europe as the case of the Kaliningrad region of Russian Federation. Jacek Sroka investigates regional governance in a Polish version and, finally, Robert Wiszniowski examines a modern nation-state.

This book has its origins in two-year research on: “The Crisis of a Modern State” and is a result of the International Conference in Wrocław (Poland). Our book would not be published without a creative and well-organised collaboration of so many authors and positive thinking. Finally, let us express our sincere thanks to Prof. James Mitchell for his factual input and for his successful idea for the title of the book.

Robert Wiszniowski

Wrocław, Poland


Bartolini S., Restructuring Europe. Centre formation, system buildings, and political structuring between the nation state and the European Union, Oxford University Press, Oxford, New York 2007, p. 276.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2015 (April)
Democracy Regime Nation Party Politics
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2015. 271 pp., 5 tables, 9 graphs

Biographical notes

Robert Wiszniowski (Volume editor)

Robert Wiszniowski is Professor at the University of Wrocław (Poland), President of the Association for Civic Education in Wrocław, Vice President of the Polish Association of Political Marketing and longtime member of the Polish Association of Political Science.


Title: Challenges to Representative Democracy