Tackling Social Exclusion through OMC: Reshaping the Boundaries of European Governance

Kenneth A. Armstrong

in The State of the European Union, 6

Published in print September 2003 | ISBN: 9780199257409
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191600951 | DOI:
 Tackling Social Exclusion through OMC: Reshaping the Boundaries of European Governance

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Armstrong links macro structures to the micro level (individual action) by providing a critical analysis of the institutionalization of new modes of governance and their impact on civil society and democratic politics. The argument is presented with respect to a particular new mode of governance, the open method of co‐ordination (or OMC), which is seen as posing challenges for integration theories that assume that law and courts would be central to understanding EU governance. OMC does not rest on the instrumental usage of EU law to achieve its goal and triggers law‐production at the national rather than the EU level. Focussing on the application of the OMC to the fight against poverty and social exclusion, Armstrong elaborates the tension (and potential pitfalls and promise) this new mode of governance presents for EU democracy. The six sections of the chapter are: Introduction; OMC and Integration Theory; Institutional Context and Change: Systemic Discourses, Rules and Norms—an analysis of the systemic context of OMC inclusion policy; The Organizational, Procedural, and Substantive Levels of Policy Development; Mobilizing Actors—the roles of civil society actors at national/subnational and transnational levels in the OMC inclusion process; and Conclusions.

Keywords: civil society; EU democracy; EU law; European integration; EU; governance; inclusion policy; institutional change; institutionalization; integration; Integration Theory; modes of governance; new modes of governance; OMCinclusion policy; open method of co‐ordination; Policy Development; poverty; social exclusion; social inclusion; social policy

Chapter.  10551 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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