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Between Contestation and Cooptation: the Participation of Civil Society Organisations to the European Union Integration Process

Final Report Summary - EUROCIVILSOCIETY (Between Contestation and Cooptation: the Participation of Civil Society Organisations to the European Union Integration Process)

Summary description of the project objectives

The aim of this research project is to analyse the various modes of participation of civil society organisations in the process of integration within the European Union (EU). In particular, I take a close look at the forms of mobilisation and representation by which social interests are created and through which their influence works, within the framework of the building of Europe. There is a complex range of diverse behaviours between individual or group actors, combined with varying degrees of cooperation and conflict. My intention is to understand why and how certain groups successfully influence EU institutions, and are recognised as legitimate actors, whereas others are limited to alternative fields of action, in both national and transnational environments. One key hypothesis is that the institutional forms of civil society consultation that the EU has initiated, and the strong reactions of protest that the EU provokes, are two sides of a single reality. This requires to consider the interrelations that are at work, both in national and European terms, in the emergence of European civil society. This project is intended to bring together two fields of research: on the one hand, investigation of interest groups and their influence on the authorities, and on the other, the study of protest behaviours going beyond actual social movements. In this sense, it aims at producing a global, dynamic view of these phenomena.

Description of the work performed since the beginning of the project

My research has progressed quite normally during the beginning of the project. Basically, I have worked on three directions. Firstly, I have analysed the European transparency register, which I considered as the main access to information and representation for organised groups aiming at influencing the EU decision process. More generally, I have tried to understand, both theoretically and empirically, to what extent the European governance system can be characterised as a democratic one. Secondly and more specifically, I have studied why, how and to which degree local civil society organisations active in the field of Unemployment and precarity have access (or not) in the multi-level arena of the EU. Thirdly, I have tried to understand how protests originating from transnational civil society - like the 'Occupy' movement which occurred in different European countries and elsewhere - targeted and challenged the EU institutions.

Description of the main results achieved so far

Significant results consist mainly in current or forthcoming publications of three books, three articles in journals with peer reviews, and nine chapters in edited books:

Books

1. With Royall (Frederic) eds. From silence to protest: International perspectives on weakly resourced groups. Abingdon: Ashgate (forthcoming. ISBN 978-1-4094-6796-0).
2. With Faniel (Jean) eds. Mobilisations de chomeurs en France: Problematiques d'alliances et alliances problematiques. Paris: L'Harmattan, 2013 (in press).
3. With Faniel (Jean) eds. The mobilisation of the unemployed in Europe. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, 274 p. (ISBN 978-0-230-61939-5).

Chapters

4. With Baglioni (Simone), 'In the name of whom? The activation of unemployed and precarious workers in civil society organisations', in Civil Society, Unemployment, and Precarity in Europe. Organisational Activities and Networks. Baglioni (Simone) and Giugni (Marco), eds. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan (forthcoming).
5. With Lahusen (Christian), 'Local civil society organisations in the multi-level arena of the EU', in Civil Society, Unemployment, and Precarity in Europe. Organisational Activities and Networks. Baglioni (Simone) and Giugni (Marco), eds. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan (forthcoming).
6. Chabanet (Didier), 'The occupy movement in France: Why protests have not taken off' in Street Politics in the Age of Austerity. From the Indignados to Occupy. Ancelovici (Marcos), Dufour (Pascale) and Nez (Helene), eds. (forthcoming).
7. Chabanet (Didier), 'Between violence and demands for participation: Urban riots in Europe', in From Silence to Protest: International Perspectives on Weakly Resourced Groups. Chabanet (Didier) and Royall (Frederic) eds. Abingdon: Ashgate (forthcoming).
8. With Faniel (Jean), 'Introduction', in Les mobilisations de chomeurs en France: Problematiques d'alliances et alliances problematiques. Chabanet (Didier) and Faniel (Jean), eds. Paris, L'Harmattan, 2013 (in press), p.13-22.
9. With Faniel (Jean), 'Quand l'improbable se produit: les chomeurs en action', in Les mobilisations de chomeurs en France: problematiques d'alliances et alliances problematiques. Chabanet (Didier) and Faniel (Jean), eds. Paris, L'Harmattan, 2013 (in press), p.13-22.
10. Chabanet (Didier), 'European governance and democracy', in Economic, Political and Social Movements in Asia and Europe. Andreosso-O'Callaghan (Bernadette) and Royall (Frederic), eds. New York: Springer, 2012, p.69-86.
11. With Faniel (Jean), 'Introduction: The mobilisation of the unemployed in a comparative perspective', in The Mobilisation of the Unemployed in Europe. Chabanet (Didier) and Faniel (Jean), eds. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, pp.1-27.
12. Chabanet (Didier), 'The long history of a new cause: The mobilisation of the unemployed in France', in The Mobilisation of the Unemployed in Europe. Chabanet (Didier) and Faniel (Jean), eds. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, pp.29-56

Articles in journals with peer reviews

13. With Giugni (Marco), 'Patterns of change in continental unemployment regimes: France and Switzerland compared', in International Journal of Social Welfare, (forthcoming in 2013, already published online).
14. Chabanet (Didier), 'Between youth policy and employment policy: The rise, limits and ambiguities of a corporatist system of youth representation within the EU', submitted to Journal of Common Market Studies.
15. Chabanet (Didier), 'Urban riots in France and Great Britain: The decline of nation-states', submitted to International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

Expected final results and their potential impact and use

My research participates to the general effort of making Europe more competitive in the field of scientific research. Moreover, it is likely that the networks that I have constituted under the project prove long-lasting. The project can also contribute to providing a firmer basis for public policy actions at the European level within the EU. For all these reasons, it will contribute to increasing the general awareness on the political and social relevance of the participation of interests groups in European democracies.

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