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Renewing Democratic Deliberation in Europe

The Challenge of Social and Civil Dialogue


Edited By Jean De Munck, Claude Didry, Isabelle Ferreras and Annette Jobert

Democracy is not merely a political and legal system; it depends on social and economic commitments as well.
Democracy is not only realized through elections; it requires civic participation through permanent dialogue. This volume addresses this central, yet often overlooked, issue in a series of essays by renowned scholars from Europe and the United States, reviving a concept that dates back to the foundation of the European Union: social dialogue as a fundamental part of the construction of the union.
Having neglected the social dimensions of its institutions, the European Union is currently in deep crisis. European democracy is confronted with a radical new situation and new definitions of work and family, as well as of growth and economic achievement, must be embedded in European public policy.
The contributors to this book identify social and civil dialogue as key institutional processes that will help overcome the current crisis. Civic participation can no longer be limited to representative institutions as we know them; a new combination of deliberation, bargaining and social experimentation is required. This book maps out the complexity of this vital issue and its implications for the future of the European democratic project.


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PART I FIRST CHALLENGE: THE CRISIS OF THE LABOUR AND PROSPERITY MODELS 19 Introduction Traditional institutions of social dialogue came from the national frameworks of the post-war era. Macro-economically, theirs was a Keynesian model of redistribution founded in a state tolerant of public debt and open to social demands. The model for industrial relations was Fordist, a single- or double-channel system of worker representation where pay negotiations – whose degree of centralisation varied from country to country – went hand-in-hand with growth in productivity. It was with this dual model in mind that Jacques Delors instituted the social dialogue meant to accompany the Single European Act. But, with the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and the unification of the euro zone, this “international” phase of European construction gave way to a new, global phase. The external shockwaves hitting the European social model have thrown all its deepest normative references into question at once. The Keynesian state had little concern for the environment, confused growth with prosperity, and functioned based on economic neo-corporatism. The Fordist vision of labour saw social integration in terms of employ- ment only; individual existence, in its highly linear representation, followed a set of predetermined roles. The time has come to take seriously the task of redefining employ- ment and reconsidering its role in human existence. The Fordist notion of standardised labour relations is rapidly losing ground in the current job market. To be relevant today, a social model must do more than compensate dogged work at...

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