(p. v) Preface and Acknowledgements
(p. v) Preface and Acknowledgements
This book originated in a 1998 report entitled Regional and Local Democracy in the European Union which was prepared for the European Union's Committee of the Regions (CoR) by the three editors and other colleagues (1999). The report was an inventory of the ‘state of play' of democracy at the regional and local levels, and it showed the wide variety of arrangements in the institutional expression of democracy at the subnational level in the then fifteen member states. To some extent, this variety could be explained by distinctive ‘state traditions' in Western Europe. This concept, originally formulated as three traditions by Dyson (1980) was further developed by Loughlin and Peters (1997) into four: the Anglo‐Saxon, the French/Napoleonic, the Germanic, and (differing from Dyson's formulation) the Scandinavian. The report also gave many concrete examples of issues such as electoral turnout and mechanisms which allowed citizens' direct participation in regional and local decision‐making.
A revised and expanded version of this report, Subnational Democracy in the European Union: Challenges and Opportunities, was subsequently published by Oxford University Press in 2001 and appeared in paperback in 2004. The OUP publication went further than the report and raised the issue about the meaning of democracy itself. Hitherto, democracy had primarily been understood as national representative democracy where the legitimacy of democratic institutions was validated by, and derivative of, assemblies elected by the nation. The question in this book was whether there could be sources of democratic legitimacy other than the nation‐state.
In 2004 and in 2007, however, the European Union had expanded to twenty‐seven member states and there had been important developments in regional and local democracy since the original 1998 CoR report. It was clear that much of the original material was outdated and also that the transition to democracy of the new member states raised interesting questions in relation to the theory of democracy. In consultation with Dominic Byatt of OUP, it was therefore decided to produce the present book in the format of an Oxford Handbook. This meant commissioning new authors who are mostly experts on subnational democracy and originating from the member states.
(p. vi) The Handbook is the result of high levels of collaboration among the editors and authors and was made possible thanks to financial and other support from various institutions and funding agencies.
First, the editors would like to thank the authors who wrote the individual chapters and generously responded to the suggestions and nagging of the editors. In most cases, the authors were writing in a language that was not their own and managed to do so in a way that was impressive.
Second, the editors would like to thank a number of agencies for their financial contributions which directly or indirectly facilitated the production of this book. The Swedish Science Council made a substantial research grant to Anders Lidström and John Loughlin to explore some of the themes of the book (‘The Transformation of Governance and the New Territorial Politics' (Swedish Science Council 421‐2004‐1343)). We would like to thank Brendan Donnelly of the London‐based Federal Trust and John Pinder of the Madison Trust who hosted a conference in London in 2008 to discuss several of the theoretical issues dealt with in the book. The Department of Public Administration of the University of Tilburg hosted a meeting of the three editors in 2008. John Loughlin benefited from Visiting Fellowships at St Edmund's College, Cambridge and Queen Mary University of London to work on editing the chapters of the book in 2009.
Third, some individuals helped with editing and formatting: Niamh Baker‐Loughlin, an undergraduate at King's College London and Mark Dimond of Cardiff University. Cait Thorkelson at the Department of Social and Economic Geography at Umeå University has produced the maps at the beginning of each chapter.
Finally, we would like to thank Dominic Byatt, Chief Editor at Oxford University Press, who has been unfailing in his enthusiasm for the project and in his patience. Dominic was the editor at OUP responsible for the initial volume and it has been a pleasure to continue this collaboration ten years on.
Cardiff, Tilburg, and Umeå