GV4J4      Half Unit
Citizen Representation and Democracy in the European Union

This information is for the 2024/25 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Sara Hobolt


This course is available on the MSc in European and International Politics and Policy, MSc in European and International Politics and Policy (LSE and Bocconi), MSc in European and International Politics and Policy (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Bocconi), MSc in European and International Public Policy (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Political Economy of Europe, MSc in Political Science (Conflict Studies and Comparative Politics), MSc in Political Science (Global Politics), MSc in Political Science (Political Behaviour) and MSc in The Global Political Economy of China and Europe (LSE and Fudan). 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.

Course content

This course studies representation, public opinion and party politics in the European Union. The aim of the course is to develop a better understanding of the functioning of democracy in the European Union and provide the analytical tools to evaluate and develop proposals for strengthening democracy. This course will examine both how citizens are represented in the European Union and how the EU shapes democratic politics in 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 how national politics shapes, and is shaped by, European integration, examining party fragmentation, Euroscepticism, populism and democratic backsliding. 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 Autumn Term and 2 hours of seminars in the Spring Term.

Each seminar will be a mix of lectures, group work and student presentations, ending with a conference on the future of Europe.

This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of AT.

Formative coursework

One formative essay (1,500 words)

Indicative reading

  • C De Vries (2018) Euroscepticism and the Future of European Integration (Oxford University Press);
  • C De Vries, D Hobolt, S-O Proksch and J Slapin (2021) Foundations of European Politics (Oxford University Press);
  • S Hix, A Noury and G Roland (2007) Democratic Politics in the European Parliament (Cambridge University Press);
  • G Marks and M Steenbergen, (2004) European Integration and Political Conflict (Cambridge University Press);
  • F Scharpf (1999) Governing in Europe: Effective and Democratic? (Oxford University Press).


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

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2023/24: Unavailable

Average class size 2023/24: Unavailable

Controlled access 2023/24: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

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