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"Waiting for a voice: The political opportunity structure of opposition to European integration in Germany"

Lees, Charles. (2001) "Waiting for a voice: The political opportunity structure of opposition to European integration in Germany". In: UNSPECIFIED, Madison, Wisconsin. (Unpublished)

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    The paper is built on four propositions. First, that there is a latent potential within the German polity for the mobilization of what remains a significant level of popular unease about aspects of the ongoing process of European integration. Second, that at present this potential is unfulfilled and, as a result, Euroscepticism remains the "dark matter" of German politics. Third, that the absence of a clearly stated Eurosceptical agenda is not due to the inherent "enlightenment" of the German political class about the European project, but rather is the result of systemic disincentives shaping the preferences of rational acting politicians. Finally, that these systemic disincentives are to be found within the formal institutions of the German polity. The paper posits the idea of "hard" versus "soft" Eurosceptical agendas, and "demos constraining" versus "demos shaping" strategies for their promotion. The paper argues that political agents' choice of strategy depends on the nature of the institutions available to them and the type of political opportunity structures they provide. Thus, the German system of federalism-which is moderately demos constraining-suggests a demos constraining strategy, whilst the Federal level party system-where the demos is shaped-makes a demos shaping strategy more appropriate. The paper concludes by arguing that the institutional configuration of the Federal Republic provides a poor political opportunity structure for Eurosceptic agendas, and that only "soft" agendas- harnessed to demos constraining strategies-are likely to have any impact on the future development of the European debate in Germany.

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Euro-scepticism.
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > europeanisation/europeanization & European identity
    Countries > Germany
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > political parties
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 2001 (7th), May 31-June 2, 2001
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 03 May 2006
    Page Range: p. 28
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:21

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