Political responsibility and legitimate governance

Myrto Tsakatika

in Political Responsibility and the European Union

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780719075155
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701621 | DOI:
Political responsibility and legitimate governance

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This chapter shows what political responsibility refers to and why political responsibility is desirable in all systems of governance, including the EU. The two main ways in which political responsibility is understood—that is, as a set of qualities (or virtues) and as a feature or an organising principle of a system of governance are examined and the relationship that binds them is explored. It is shown that these are only two different aspects of the same phenomenon: political responsibility is a principle that calls for certain requirements to be met in an ongoing practice of governance and these requirements are placed upon both political agents and political institutions. In other words, political responsibility is a principle of legitimate governance that refers both to how political agents should act and to how political institutions should be set up. Political responsibility is a desirable feature for every practice of governance because it enables the achievement of predictability, order and stability. Before discussing political responsibility as a requirement upon agency as well as upon institutions of governance, the chapter first provides an account of the relationship between institutions and agency.

Keywords: political responsibility; EU; governance; political agents; political institutions; agency

Chapter.  10654 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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