"The proposed study will address how Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) contribute to non-electoral representation in the EU. The theoretical perspective chosen is based on the assumption that representation is a sine qua non for the legitimacy of any democratic political system. This constitutes a novel research area for which there is to date no theoretical discourse and no empirical research. We don't know who is actually represented (and who is not) through CSOs in European governance, on the ground of which mandate and with which forms of accountability, how claims-making by CSOs works across governance levels, and thereby how we can think of democratic representation in the context of undefined constituencies beyond the nation state. The topic is highly relevant given the attention that CSOs have received in the context of the widely perceived “democratic deficit” of the EU as a means of democratization of EU politics and given the increasing influence that non-electoral actors exert in contemporary politics.
The fellowship will allow the applicant to close this important research gap in a theoretically highly innovative way, with the help and regular feedback of two very renowned scholars and the larger, international research group that work at Exeter (UK).
Placed in an ideal institutional environment, through regular supervision, presentations, both local and at international conferences, and skill courses offered at the host institution, it will allow the applicant to make a decisive step in her career and towards professional independence (professorship) by offering the opportunity to a) fine-tune her theoretical approach, complete her research and draft a monographic study both of which could not be achieved in a reasonable time frame in her present situation, b) improve her complementary skills, particularly successful project management, development of larger collaborative research projects, drafting of funding proposals, and mastery of English"
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