The Fourth Transformation of Democracy in Europe - Deliberation and the Responsibility of Europe

Jürgen Neyer


[extract] When Robert Dahl coined the term of the “third transformation of democracy” (Dahl, 1994), he could not foresee the emergence of a transnational network society. Only twenty-five years after the publication of his article, we are in the midst of a fourth transformation of democracy in Europe. City-states have been replaced by nation-states in the 17thand 18thcentury, and nation-states were embedded in multi-level governance arrangements in the 20thcentury. In the 21stcentury, we are witnessing the emergence of a transnational network society organized around the opportunities of the digital revolution, cutting through nation-states and emptying the very idea of a national community of much of its empirical and normative content. Facebook, Twitter and Co. are not only profit-oriented enterprises, but also agents of global social integration. They provide important communication infrastructures and complement the world of states with a transnational level of interaction (Bohman, 2004, Grofman et al., 2014). The transnational network society is opening up a political horizon in which the traditional national loyalties represent only one form of political orientation among others (Keck & Sikkink, 1998). 

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