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Responding to Norm Indeterminacy outside the Nation-State Frame

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

I examine responses to norm indeterminacy in the transnational context, focusing on regional integration in post-War Europe. I argue that the development of the European Union has been facilitated by the use of a legitimizing device whereby policy decisions at a European level are cast as beyond the scope of reasonable political disagreement and therefore distinct from the conditions which make democracy a desirable political form at the national level. This rejection of the political significance of norm indeterminacy has led to a widely diagnosed trend of “depoliticization” in European politics. The paper examines how best to understand this trend, and explores how an adapted account of “enlightened localism” might offer better ways of coping with indeterminate norms.

Affiliations: 1: European Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE United Kingdom, Email:


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