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Technocratic governments in Europe: getting the critique right

Pastorella, Guilia (2016) Technocratic governments in Europe: getting the critique right. Political Studies, 64 (4). pp. 948-965. ISSN 0032-3217

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1467-9248.12217


In Europe, technocratic governments have become a popular topic of debate. Commentators have condemned them as a ‘suspension of democracy’ or even as ‘the end of democracy as we know it’. However, no academic analysis has assessed whether technocratic governments are indeed undemocratic. This article is intended to fill this gap by assessing technocratic governments’ democratic credentials. It compares them to party governments along the main dimensions of party democracy, including representation, deliberation, constitutionality and legitimacy. It concludes that technocratic governments in Europe are not undemocratic per se, but are still a worrying phenomenon insofar as they reveal shortcomings that remain hidden in normal party governments: a loosening of delegation and accountability ties between voters, parties and cabinets; increasing external pressures on domestic political actors; and the weakening of partisan ideology-based politics. The article will add further elements to reinforce the already vast literature on the crisis of – especially party – democracy in Europe.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 The Author(s)
Divisions: European Institute
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2015 10:08
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 00:51
Projects: P81669B, P81669B
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council

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