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“Exercising advisory functions”: Interpretations of democracy in the European Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee


  • Christopher Becton

Summary, in English

Our thesis investigates the comparative interpretations of democracy in the opinions of the European Committee of the Region (CoR) and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). Using the mixed methods of a qualitative content analysis and a discourse analysis, we assess the extent to which, how and why democracy is unevenly interpreted at the CoR and EESC; relative to their joint remits as independent bodies, representing EU regions and EU civil society, and as EU Institutions, beholden to EU Treaties. Here, we compare democracy as a discursive element in civil society and the local and regional level with democracy as a discursive element in European values.

Our research is understood and interpreted through Discourse Theory and we conclude that the institutions balance their independent and institutional remits to comparable levels and at even rates. Despite this, we find that the discursive interpretations of democracy are produced unevenly between the two institutions. The EESC positions members as experts, which weakens discourses; the CoR does not do this. The EESC gains much of its discursive objectivity for democracy through specific social events, whereas the CoR relies on the objectivity of pre-existing terms. Both institutions change their discursive interpretations towards democracy as they change which audience they are addressing.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (two years)


  • Languages and Literatures
  • Cultural Sciences
  • Social Sciences


  • The European Committee of the Regions
  • The European Economic and Social Committee
  • Democracy
  • European values
  • Civil society
  • Local and regional level
  • Content analysis
  • Discourse analysis
  • Discourse Theory
  • Eu
  • European Studies


  • Anna Cabak Rédei (Ph.D.)