GV4J4      Half Unit
Citizen Representation and Democracy in the European Union

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Sara Hobolt


This course is available on the MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MPA in Social Impact, MSc in Comparative Politics, MSc in European and International Public Policy, MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Bocconi), MSc in European and International Public Policy (Sciences Po), MSc in Global Politics, MSc in Political Economy of Europe and MSc in Political Economy of Europe (LSE and Sciences Po). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is capped at 1 group. The deadline for applications is 17:00 on Tuesday 1 October 2019. You will be informed of the outcome by 17:00 on Wednesday 2 October 2019.

Course content

This course offers the theoretically and empirically informed study of citizen representation in the European Union. The principal aim of the course is to develop a better understanding of the functioning of democracy in European Union and provide the analytical tools to evaluate proposals for reform to alleviate the Union’s so-called ‘democratic deficit’. This course will examine both how citizens are represented in the European Union and how the EU shapes democratic politics in the member states. The first part of the course assesses pathways of representation and accountability in the European Union, focusing on representation of citizens’ interests in the Council, Commission and the European Parliament as well other avenues for citizen influence, such as referendums and the Citizens’ Initiative. The second part of the course examines political conflict over European integration at the domestic level, focusing on the role of European integration in national politics and public opinion, including the study of euroscepticism. The final part of the course evaluates different proposals for reform with the aim of strengthening democracy and representation in the EU, and students will have the opportunity to develop their own reform proposal.


20 hours of seminars in the MT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

One formative essay (1,750 words)

Indicative reading

D Curtin, P Mair and I Papadopoulos (2012) Accountability and European Governance (London: Routledge); S Hix, A Noury and G Roland (2007) Democratic Politics in the European Parliament (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press); S Hobolt and J Tilley (2014) Blaming Europe: Responsibility Without Accountability in the European Union; L McLaren (2006) Identity, interests and attitudes to European integration (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan); G Marks and M Steenbergen, (2004) European Integration and Political Conflict (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press); C van der Eijk and M Franklin (1996) Choosing Europe? European Electorate and National Politics in the Face of Union (Ann Arbor: Michigan University Press); F Scharpf (1999) Governing in Europe: Effective and Democratic? (Oxford: Oxford University Press).


Exam (75%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.
Essay (25%, 2500 words) in the LT.

Student performance results

(2015/16 - 2017/18 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 23.5
Merit 73.5
Pass 2.9
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2018/19: 14

Average class size 2018/19: 13

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills