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23.09.2018 11:55 Alter: 55 days

Transnational Partisanship and Constituent Power in the European Union

Conference Announcement

Theme: Transnational Partisanship and Constituent Power in the European Union
Type: International Workshop
Institution: University of Amsterdam
Location: Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Date: 15.–16.11.2018

With its increasing interest in partisanship and constituent power,
political theory has recently started to pay attention to previously
neglected dimensions of democracy. The nascent partisanship
literature focuses on the potential contributions that partisan forms
of political organization can make in terms of contestation,
representation, deliberation, and public reason. Research on
constituent power, on the other hand, is concerned with the questions
of who holds the right to determine the structure and competences of
political systems; what principles of democratic legitimacy should
guide constitutional politics; and which procedures and institutions
enable the exercise of founding authority.

Both debates have significant implications for normative-theoretical
scholarship on the European Union. Recent advances in the
partisanship literature focus on the potential of cross-border
communities of commitment to promote the development of democracy in
the European Union, and have also given rise to the idea that
partisan agents might transform the EU polity through forms of
‘principled disobedience’. The debate about constituent power is
animated by similar concerns, though it prioritizes the more
fundamental question of who should be regarded as the EU’s ultimate
source of authority entitled to decide issues of constitutional
design. Its focus is therefore less on questions of mobilization,
contestation and disobedience than on the question of what follows
from particular allocations of constituent power for the democratic
legitimacy of higher as well as ordinary lawmaking in the EU.

Despite addressing related phenomena and raising similar questions,
the two strands of research have largely developed independently so
far. In view of the European elections 2019, the goal of the workshop
is to bring them into conversation and to examine possible
connections as well as conflicts between transnational partisanship
and constituent power in the European Union. Are they complementary
or rival categories? What are their potential contributions to EU
democracy? To what extent do they enable us to analyze and evaluate
empirical developments, for example the origins of European
integration, recent movements and initiatives such as DiEM25 and
Pulse of Europe, or intra- and extra-institutional resistance against
‘Emergency Europe’? How do they contribute to our understanding of
the EU constitutional order, the nature of EU citizenship, or the
representative functions of EU institutions?


Thursday, November 15, 2018

13.30 – 13.45
Welcome & Introduction

13.45 – 15.45
Session 1: European Citizenship: Rights and Parties

“Transnational Partisanship in the EU: Opportunities, Incentives and
Obstacles”, Lucy Kinski (University of Düsseldorf)

“Not up for Grabs! How to Robustly Protect the EU’s Pouvoir
Constituant Mixte”, Dimitrios Efthymiou (University of Frankfurt)

Comment: Jan Pieter Beetz (Utrecht University)

15.45 – 16.15
Coffee break

16.15 – 18.15

Session 2: European Parliament: Representation and Agency

“The EU’s Constituent Power and Partisanship in the European
Parliament”, Jelena von Achenbach (University of Gießen)

“EU Constituent Power and Collective Agency: Lessons from the
Experience of the European Parliament”, Ben Crum (VU Amsterdam)

Comment: Antoinette Scherz (University of Oslo)


Friday, November 16, 2018

09.00 – 11.00
Session 3: European Protest: Disobedience and Popular Sovereignty

“Transnational Partisanship and Principled Disobedience in the
European Union”, Jonathan White (LSE)

“Constituent Partisanship: Articulation, Activation, Exercise”, Peter
Niesen (University of Hamburg)

Comment: Natasha Basu (University of Amsterdam)

11.00 – 11.30
Coffee break

11.30 – 13.30
Session 4: European Transformations: Ordinary and Extraordinary

“Transnational Partisanship and Networked Constituent Power in the
EU”, Fabio Wolkenstein (Aarhus University / University of Amsterdam)

“Extraordinary Partisanship in the European Union”, Markus Patberg
(University of Hamburg)

Comment: Astrid Seville (LMU Munich)

End of workshop

Attendance is free. Limited number of places available. Please
register before 1 November 2018 (
Venue will be communicated.

The workshop is co-organized by the NWO-funded project “Democratising
Europe through Transnational Partisanship” (University of Amsterdam)
and the DFG-funded project “Reclaiming Constituent Power? Emerging
Counter-Narratives of EU Constitutionalisation” (University of


Markus Patberg

Fabio Wolkenstein