Philippe C. Schmitter

Philippe C. Schmitter
European University Institute | EUI · Department of Political and Social Sciences

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Publications

Publications (161)
Article
‘Real-existing Democracies’ (REDs) seem to be in real trouble. Academics and practitioners tend to agree on this and both can produce long lists of negative trends to illustrate it. The one thread that connects all of these symptoms is representation and, even more specifically, the extent to which citizen representation through political parties c...
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This chapter focuses on neofunctionalism, one of the earlier theories of regional integration. Neofunctionalist theory was first formulated in the late 1950s and early 1960s, but began to receive increasing criticism from the mid1960s, particularly because of several adverse empirical developments, the culmination of which was the Empty Chair crisi...
Chapter
After having recalled the essential features of real-existing democracies (REDs), the chapter discusses different modes of democratization and the role of political elites in these processes. The special nature of transitional situations and the greater freedom of action they allow for elites are highlighted. The relationships between political eli...
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Good social and political research requires an explicit design. In this article, this is illustrated by a cycle of choices that begin with the transformation of an idea into a topic and end with the drawing of inferences from the patterns of association one finds. In between lie critical decisions about concepts, hypotheses, indicators, case select...
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Democratization is always an ambidextrous process. On the one hand, it triggers a universalistic set of norms, events, processes and symbols. On the other hand, democratization involves a much more particularistic set of ‘realistic’ adaptations to the structures and circumstances of individual countries. In analysing the structures and conjunctures...
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Comparative politics has always been schzofrenic. It is a powerful method of analysis and a useful source of information. Both have a promising future, but to realize it both will have to change. This essay explores the dilemmas facing the sub-discipline and suggests some solutions regarding assumptions, concepts and units of analysis and descripti...
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In this article, we exploit neo-functionalism as a conceptual and theoretical instrument that helps understand the current crisis and its future consequences. We formulate a series of suppositions and hypotheses, which we evaluate using existing data sources and related research. Our empirical analysis produces a mixed picture: though reality seems...
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The political economy of Europe – both West and East – has generated many “models” of enviable performance since its recovery from World War II in 1945 and, once again, since the end of the Cold War in 1989. A large number, perhaps a majority of its member states, have been declared superior, admirable or even miraculous at some point during that p...
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There seems to be an overwhelming consensus among scholars and politicians that democracy as a practice is in decline. An 18 August 2014 Google search for decline of democracy yielded more than 55.5 million results; Google Scholar, which searches only academic literature, still produced a hefty 434,000 hits. At the same time, however, it is widely...
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Despite a much less favorable context, neo-corporatism a.k.a. social concertation did not completely disappear from the practice of European interest politics after the 1970s. In a few countries, the former survived, but only by shifting a good deal of the latter to the meso-level of economic sectors and even by permitting micro-level bargaining at...
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A quarter of a century has now passed since Gro Harlem Brundtland produced her landmark report on sustainable development, yet little progress has been made towards achieving the kinds of policy reform that might result in sustainable development being realised – especially in the humanistic rather than technocratic manner that she advocated. The B...
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The European Union is at a make-or-break moment. The current crisis could be beneficial or detrimental for its future. We revisit Schmitter’s model of crisis-induced decision-making cycles (1970) and critically discuss why the current crisis might not be as benign as originally thought.
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The present crisis of the Euro is a near perfect example of how causal complexity, unanticipated consequences, and decisional uncertainty can have a significant and cumulative impact on regional integration. In theory, this should be the crisis that will drive the EU from economic to political integration. In practice, the outcome—at least, so far—...
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Opening a symposium on Perry Anderson's The New Old World, Philippe Schmitter records its divergences from the existing EU literature. How should the Union itself be categorized, and what futures await it?
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Philippe C. Schmitter's concept of 'Real-Existing' Democracy can serve as a useful analytical tool for political scientists. The future of such democracies however holds many uncertainties. Society and Economy has asked some leading Hungarian scholars to comment on the idea, based on a lecture delivered by Professor Schmitter at the Institute of Po...
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After twenty five years of the publication of the celebrated edition on transitions to democracy, one of its editors comments the findings and limitations of the theory of democratic transitions taking into account the development of that new democracies and the transitions occurred lately.
Article
Philippe C. Schmitter's concept of 'Real-Existing' Democracy can serve as a useful analytical tool for political scientists. The future of such democracies however holds many uncertainties. Society and Economy has asked some leading Hungarian scholars to comment on the idea, based on a lecture delivered by Professor Schmitter at the Institute of Po...
Chapter
Robert Dahl is famous for the observation that democracy has radically transformed itself – redesigned itself, if you will – over the centuries (Dahl 1996; see also Dahl 1970; 1983; 1989; 2000). The same word, democracy, has prevailed while its rules and practices have changed greatly. In other words – those of de Lampedusa – only by changing has i...
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The paper presents a theoretical outline for a cross-national comparative study of business associations. It identifies two clusters of independent variables that are assumed to affect the structure of intermediary organizations: properties of the represented group (Logic of Membership) and properties of the state and other political institutions s...
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This is a revised version of a talk I gave on 25 August 2009 to the Department of Government at Uppsala University when I received the Johan Skytte Prize. In it, I make a number of assertions about contemporary politics and those who currently practice the discipline of political science that I am convinced are correct, but have not documented with...
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Pierre Rosanvallon is one of the most important political theorists writing in French. Counter-Democracy: Politics in an Age of Distrust is a book about the limits of conventional understandings of democracy. Rosanvallon argues that while most theories of democracy focus on institutionalized forms of political participation (especially elections),...
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Purpose – This paper seeks to focus on the preconditions for forging International strategies to deal with social and environmental sustainability. Taking the Brundtland Report and its implied strategy based on inter-governmental conferences and treaties at the global level as a point of departure, the paper suggests an alternative strategy which f...
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La reciente experiencia europea en la búsqueda de la integración pacífica y voluntaria de Estados nacionales previamente soberanos en una sola organización trasnacional —la Unión Europea— es, indudablemente, el esfuerzo de regionalismo más importante y trascendental de la historia. Por lo tanto, es el que mayores lecciones puede ofrecer a aquellas...
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This paper shows that the process of constitution of the European Union represents a significant way of reinforcing regionalism. It can thus become a model for other political attempts at regional integration. A reflection on the various theories that account for this phenomenon is the best strategy to study the transposition of the European experi...
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The future of comparative politics is in doubt. This sub-discipline of political science currently faces a ‘crossroads’ that will determine its nature and role. In this essay, I make a (willfully distorted) plea that it should eschew the alternative of continuing to follow one or another versions of ‘institutionalism’ or that of opting completely f...
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When Guillermo O'Donnell and I were writing Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Tentative Conclusion about Uncertain Democracies a quarter of a century ago, we had few cases and almost no literature upon which to draw.1 Mostly we ransacked the monographs of colleagues who were taking part in the same Woodrow Wilson Center project as we were. We al...
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Demokratien haben als generische Herrschaftsform eine mehr als zweitausendjährige Geschichte, sind aber erst in den letzten Dekaden das ubiquitäre Herrschaftssystem geworden. Sie treffen dabei auf unterschiedliche Kulturkreise, auf unterschiedliche Sozialstrukturen sowie auf verschiedene religiöse und ethnische Zusammensetzungen. Aus diesem Grund h...
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Since the mid-1970s, Western European politics have undergone significant changes – and this has been particularly marked in the arena of ‘interest politics’. In this article I list some apodictic statements about these changes and speculate about their potential explanations. To the extent that these descriptive generalisations have some accuracy...
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Philippe C. Schmitter is professor of political science at Stanford University. He has previously taught at the University of Chicago and the European University Institute in Florence. This is an abbreviated version of a longer essay written at the request and with the financial support of UNESCO. It is published here with the permission of UNESCO'...
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Let us assume that you have an idea that has led you to identify a topic that you believe to be of sufficient importance and of feasible execution to conduct research on it. It may be a doctoral dissertation, or just a seminar exercise, but regardless of length and complexity no topic can ‘research itself’. You will have to translate it – via a ser...
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Full-text available
Demokratien haben als generische Herrschaftsform eine mehr als zweitausendjäh­rige Geschichte, sind aber erst in den letzten Dekaden das ubiquitäre Herrschaftssystem geworden. Sie treffen dabei auf unterschiedliche Kulturkreise, auf unter­schiedliche Sozialstrukturen sowie auf verschiedene religiöse und ethnische Zusammensetzungen. Aus diesem Grund...
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ANDREW SHONFIELD DID NOT DISCOVER THE HIDDEN AFFINITY between modern corporatism and modern capitalism. John Maynard Keynes should probably be credited with that insight, even if it is contained in just a paragraph cited in part by Shonfield) in his essay: The End of Laissez-Faire . Mihail Manoilesco, an economist of lesser renown and much less rep...
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The experience of the European Union is the most significant and far-reaching among all attempts at regional integration. It is, therefore, the most likely to provide some lessons for those world regions that are just beginning this complex process. In turn, the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) and the Andean Community (CAN) are among the regi...
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Comparative politics is an intrinsically ambiguous and contentious subdiscipline of political science. Its origins are ancient, but its recent practice has been closely linked to academic trends and fashions coming from the United States of America. The central assertion of this essay is that its future is in jeopardy. Politics within and across na...
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La experiencia de integración regional de la Unión Europea (UE) ha sido la más exitosa entre todos los intentos realizados en este sentido. Es, pues, la que más probablemente pueda brindar enseñanzas para aquellas regiones del mundo que se están iniciando en este complicado proceso. For su parte, cabe afirmar que el Mercado Común del Sur (Mercosur)...
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Full-text available
The experience of the European Union is the most significant and far-reaching among all attempts at regional integration. It is, therefore, the most likely to provide some lessons for those world regions that are just beginning this complex process. In turn, the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) is—arguably—the regional integration project that...
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▪ Abstract For half a century, Ernst B. Haas was an extraordinarily prolific contributor to theoretical debates in international relations. His work focused on the question of continuity and transformation in the system of states. His substantive writings are extremely diverse and can be difficult, so no overall appreciation has ever been attempted...
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In Europe, the scholarly reputation of Ernst B. Haas is inseparably linked to the vicissitudes of something called 'neofunctionalism'. It is as the founding father of a distinct approach to explaining the dynamics of European integration that he is so well known. This article explicates the strengths and weaknesses of his contribution and explores...
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This article reflects on the experience of European integration in light of the ongoing process of regional integration in the Northeast Asian region. Based on the existing theories, the article summarizes twelve lessons of European integration, highlighting, for example, the importance of identifying a functional area, the convergence of interests...
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This article measures the process of democratization by subdividing it into three components: the liberalization of autocracy, the mode of transition and the consolidation of democracy. The 30 or so countries included in the study are situated in different world regions, mainly southern and eastern Europe, south and central America and the former S...
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Journal of Democracy 15.4 (2004) 47-60 When Terry Karl and I hit upon the concept of accountability as the key to the broadest and most widely applicable definition of "modern representative political democracy," our effort in 1991 met with a surprising amount of indifference or even hostility. In the last ten years, however, there has been a verit...
Book
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http://www.coe.int/t/dgap/democracy/activities/key-texts/02_Green_Paper/GreenPaper_bookmarked_en.asp
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[Introduction by Vivien Schmidt, Forum Guest Editor]. This forum originally came in the form of a roundtable I organized at the American Political Science Association meetings in Philadelphia (August 2003) in an attempt to bring together a wide range of views on the democratic challenges facing the EU. Amitai Etzioni questioned the sustainability o...
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While democracy in Europe took a very long time to consolidate, the democratization of Europe has only just begun and remains a rather remote prospect. As for the democratization of Europe's primary supranational institution, the European Union or EU—that has remained a project which has yet to capture the imagination of its peoples or overcome the...
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Book reviewed in this article: Alfred Stepan, Arguing Comparative Politics
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The aim of this project is to examine new forms of governance for promoting sustainability and innovation and to place this discussion in the context of a multi-level polity (i.e. the European Union). Its principal hypothesis is that the participation of individuals and organizations in governance arrangements can not only improve both sustainabili...
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Davide Grassi, La democrazia in America Latina: problemi e prospettive del consolidamento democratico (Milan: FrancoAngeli, 1999), pp. 208, L. 32.000; E 16,53 pb. - - Volume 33 Issue 4 - PHILIPPE C. SCHMITTER
Chapter
In the words of its former President, Jacques Delors, the European Community or Union is “un objet politique ncn-identifie” — and likely to remain so until sometime in the future. This makes it all the more difficult to imagine why so many countries wish to join it. How can they know what ‘it’ is? Or, more poignantly, how can they possibly understa...
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The attempt to democratize or, more often, to re-democratize over fifty countries in the past twenty-five years has promoted a new interest in ‘political engineering,’ i.e. in purposive efforts to design political institutions in such a way as to ensure the subsequent persistence — if not the flourishing — of democracy. Scholars in Western democrac...
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Journal of Democracy 11.1 (2000) 40-47 Federalism seems to be creeping insidiously onto the democratization agenda. On the surface, this may seem ironic. Several self-proclaimedly "federalist" polities -- the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia -- have collapsed in the course of their democratization. Others -- Yemen and Nigeria -- seem to...
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For more than twenty years, the comparative politics literature on democratization has generated a set of widely shared assumptions, concepts and hypotheses that have been used by scholars to describe, analyze, explain and, occasionally, to prescribe the dynamic sequences of regime change. Starting with O’Donnell, Schmitter and Whitehead’s Transiti...
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Three leading EU scholars/ECSA members debate whether, and if so, by what standards, the European Union has democratic legitimacy. [Includes introduction by Mark A. Pollack, series editor].
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The “death certificate” issued to macro-corporatist concertation in Europe in the 1980s seems to have been premature - just as the “(re)-birth certificate” given it in the mid-1970s proved short-lived. At the very moment that academics first started using the concept to analyse trends in advanced capitalist societies, the practice had already peake...
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Obwohl der Übergang von autoritären Regimen zu demokratischen Systemen in Portugal, Spanien, Griechenland und Italien in der Politikwissenschaft unter vielen Gesichtspunkten diskutiert wurde, blieben die dynamischen Prozesse der Demokratisierung lange unbeobachtet.
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This essay deals with democracy promotion & protection by established democracies. It first describes how the dynamics and understanding of regime transitions changes from the first to the present fourth wave of democratization. Subsequently, it defines democracy promotion & protection and described the different components of it. Finally, it discu...
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The European Union is not (yet) a functioning democracy, but it has begun to develop some of the institutions of democracy. Among these is the practice of citizenship. This essay explores this uniquely democ-ratic status and how it would have to be modified in an eventual Euro-democracy. The EU's larger scale and limited scope, its more heteroge-ne...
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The study of democratization, more than most fields of comparative political inquiry, should be sensitive to the time factor. When something happens, as well as in what order and with what rhythm, can be even more important in determining the outcome than whether something happens or what happens. As “transitologists” and “consolidologists” have mo...
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My root assumptions in this essay are the following and, if they seem implausible, do not bother to read further since all of the subsequent argumentation is contingent upon their, at least, superficial plausibility:1. The emerging Euro-polity has not yet acquired its definitive institutional configuration, either in terms of its territorial scale,...
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We now know that the (re) discovery of corporatism in the mid 1970s was ironic. At the very moment that academics started using the concept to analyze trends in advanced capitalist societies, the practice had already peaked and it continued to decline during the 1980s. Then, just as many observers had announced its demise, corporatism has risen aga...
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Journal of Democracy 8.2 (1997) 168-174 Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation: Southern Europe, South America, and Post-Communist Europe. By Juan J. Linz and Alfred Stepan. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996. 479 pp. The French have an expression that describes this book well: C'est une brique! To merit such an accolade, a tome must...
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This article argues that the Corporatist Sisyphus is headed back up the hill, goaded as before by an architectonic national state. Moreover, he is just about on time. If previous speculation about a twenty to twenty-five year cycle was correct and if one traces their last downturn to the First Oil Shock of 1973, then corporatist practices should ha...
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In advanced industrialized societies, pressures from the internationalization of world trade and from deregulation and privatization have resulted in the decline of state industrial policies and the rise of policies of industry. The four books under review argue that, despite the cross-national convergence of change, policies toward industry vary g...
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European integration poses considerable and novel challenges to the associability of both capital and labor. As the locus of political decision-making shifts during this process, class, sectoral and professional interests at the national and subnational levels are confronted with the need to adapt their existing political strategies and/or to creat...
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Journal of Democracy 6.1 (1995) 15-22 As we approach the end of the twentieth century, democracy's general prospects have never been more favorable; yet it has rarely been more difficult to discern what type or degree of democracy we should expect in the future. It is as if, having swept almost all of their "systemic" opponents from the field, the...
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The wave of democratization that began in 1974 and that seems to have crested in the mid‐1990s has encouraged the development of two proto‐sciences within political science: transitology and consolidology. This article explores some on the founding principles of the latter with the hope of contributing to the likelihood that more of the over forty...
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Existing private interest governments (PIGs) are definitely imperiled at the national level and only weakly empowered at the supra-national level by the Single European Act and Treaty of Maastricht. The impact of the integrated market and mutual recognition upon some of the most entrenched PIGs is just beginning to be felt. The eventual outcome wil...
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The Problem: Of all the things that do not work well in contemporary liberal democracies, the system of organized and specialized interest intermediation must be rated among the worst.1 Everywhere, both the Right and the Left love to complain about the influence of “special interests” — and to accuse each other of being more indebted to them.
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Neofunctionalists, unlike federalists such as Spinelli, did not believe that the mass public would rise up and demand a European constitution. They did argue, however, that groups, representing the specific interests of the people, would recognize the tangible benefits of integration and pressure the national governments and Community institutions...

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