Advertisement

Extending the Coupling Concept: Slack, Agency and Fields

  • John Erik FossumEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Comparative Territorial Politics book series (COMPTPOL)

Abstract

Much has been written on the theories and practices of federalism and democracy. Some scholars have been interested moreover in the contingent relationship between the two terms, an approach taken in particular by Arthur Benz, who has placed emphasis on the manner in which federalism and democracy are coupled. There may be no coupling; they may be loosely coupled; or they might be tightly coupled. Benz sees loose couplings as the mode of coupling that is most suitable to democracy. This chapter addresses the following question: Under what conditions (if any) may parliamentary fields ensure favourable couplings of federalism and democracy? The author first briefly outlines how Benz understands these three forms of coupling before discussing three ways of further extending the debate on the important and fruitful notion of coupling federalism and democracy that Benz has introduced. The first discusses coupling in relation to the notion of slack; the second discusses the role of coupling agents and introduces the notion of ambiguous coupling; and the third discusses the relationship between coupling and field.

Keywords

Coupling Democracy Federalism Field Slack 

References

  1. Benz, A. (2010). The European Union as a Loosely Coupled Multi-level System. In H. Endelein, S. Wälti, & M. Zürn (Eds.), Handbook on Multi-level Governance (pp. 214–226). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  2. Benz, A. (2015). Patterns of Multilevel Parliamentary Relations: Varieties and Dynamics in the EU and Other Federations. In J. E. Fossum & M. Jachtenfuchs (Eds.), Federal Challenges and Challenges to Federalism: Insights from the EU and Federal States (pp. 33–53). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Benz, A. (2017). Linking Federalism and Democracy: An Analytical Framework (unpublished manuscript).Google Scholar
  4. Benz, A., & Broschek, J. (Eds.). (2013). Federal Dynamics—Continuity, Change, & the Varieties of Federalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Benz, A., & Sonnicksen, J. (2017). Patterns of Federal Democracy: Tensions, Friction or Balance Between Two Government Dimensions. European Political Science Review, 9(1), 3–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Billig, M. (1995). Banal Nationalism. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  7. Burgess, M. (2012). In Search of the Federal Spirit—New Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives in Comparative Federalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Crum, B., & Fossum, J. E. (Eds.). (2013). Practices of Inter-Parliamentary Coordination in International Politics: The European Union and Beyond. Essex: ECPR Press.Google Scholar
  9. Cyert, R. M., & March, J. G. (1963). A Behavioral Theory of the Firm. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  10. Dahl, R. A. (1961). Who Governs? Democracy and Power in an American City. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Dawson, M. (2015). The Legal and Political Accountability Structure of ‘Post-crisis’ EU Economic Governance. Journal of Common Market Studies, 53(5), 976–993. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. DiMaggio, P., & Powell, W. W. (1983). The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organizational Fields. American Sociological Review, 48, 147–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fossum, J. E. (2014). The Structure of EU Representation and the Crisis. In S. Kröger (Ed.), Political Representation in the European Union—Still Democratic in Times of Crisis? (pp. 52–68). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Fossum, J. E. (2017). European Federalism: Pitfalls and Possibilities. European Law Journal, 23(5), 361–379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fossum, J. E., & Menéndez, A. J. (2011). The Constitution’s Gift: A Constitutional Theory for the European Union. Plymouth: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  16. Grimm, D. (2015). The Democratic Costs of Constitutionalisation: The European Case. European Law Journal, 21(4), 460–473.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hirschman, A. O. (1970). Exit, Voice, and Loyalty. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Hueglin, T. (2013). Treaty Federalism as a Model of Policy Making: Comparing Canada and the European Union. Canadian Public Administration, 56(2), 185–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Olsen, J. P. (2017). Democratic Accountability, Political Order and Change. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Riley, P. (1973). The Origins of Federal Theory in International Relations Ideas. Polity, 6(1), 87–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Saward, M. (2014). Shape-Shifting Representation. American Political Science Review, 108(4), 723–736.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Simeon, R. (1972). Federal Provincial Diplomacy: The Making of Recent Policy in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  23. Wallace, H. (2002). The Council: An Institutional Chameleon. Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration and Institutions, 15(3), 325–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Werts, J. (2008). The European Council. London: John Harper.Google Scholar
  25. Wessels, W. (2016). The European Council. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ARENA Centre for European StudiesUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

Personalised recommendations