Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Polycentricity in the European Union


Josephine van Zeben, Ana Bobić, Francis Cheneval, Kalypso Nicolaïdis, Martijn van den Brink, Iris Goldner Lang, Damjan Kukovec, Leticia Díez Sanchez, Vigjilenca Abazi, Sacha Garben
View all contributors
  • Date Published: April 2019
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108423540

£ 85.00

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Supranational governance is being challenged by politicians and citizens around the EU as over-centralized and undemocratic. This book is premised on the idea that polycentric governance, developed by Vincent and Elinor Ostrom, is a fruitful place to start for addressing this challenge. Assessing the presence of, and potential for, polycentric governance within the EU means approaching established principles and practices from a new perspective. While the debate on these issues is rich, longstanding and interdisciplinary, it has proven difficult to sidestep the 'renationalisation/federalisation' dichotomy. The aim of this volume is not to reject the EU's institutional structure but provide a different benchmark for the assessment of its functioning. Polycentric theory highlights the importance of multilevel horizontal relationships within the EU - between states, but also between many sub-state actors, all the way down to individuals. This helps us answer the question: how do we achieve self-governance in an interdependent world?

    • Introduces the key features of Ostrom polycentric governance theory and presents a workable framework of the theory in practice
    • Expands the application of polycentricity to the EU, outside the United States and natural resource management
    • Provides an alternative perspective on EU governance, compared to EU federalism or renationalisation of powers
    • Gives a new perspective on established EU processes and analyses specific EU processes such as access to justice, access to information, and learning, as essential parts of polycentricity
    Read more

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108423540
    • length: 340 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 157 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.6kg
    • contains: 9 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: the potential of a polycentric European Union Josephine van Zeben and Ana Bobić
    1. Polycentricity as a theory of governance Josephine van Zeben
    2. Polycentric features of the European Union Josephine van Zeben
    3. Democratic self-government in the EU's polycentric system: theoretical remarks Francis Cheneval
    4. Polycentric subsidiary Josephine van Zeben and Kalypso Nicolaïdis
    5. Polycentricity and the internal market Josephine van Zeben and Ana Bobić
    6. The shared system of rules in a polycentric European Union Ana Bobić
    7. The promises and drawbacks of EU citizenship for a polycentric Union Martijn van den Brink
    8. Self-organisation of third-country nationals in the EU: polycentric governance by the 'other' Iris Goldner Lang
    9. Peaceful contestation Damjan Kukovec
    10. Access to justice in polycentric governance Leticia Díez Sanchez
    11. Access to information in polycentric governance Vigjilenca Abazi
    12. The capacity to learn in the polycentric European Union Sacha Garben
    Conclusions: pathways to polycentricity Josephine van Zeben and Ana Bobić.

  • Editors

    Josephine van Zeben, University of Oxford
    Josephine van Zeben is a Fellow at Worcester College and Tutor in EU and Public Law. In 2013, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Vincent and Elinor Ostrom Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis. Dr van Zeben holds a degree in Social Sciences from Utrecht University, as well as law degrees from the University of Edinburgh, the University of Amsterdam and Harvard Law School. She has also been a Lecturer at the ETH Zurich since 2012. Her research focuses on how pluricentric systems - such as the EU - can best be structured to address complex regulatory problems.

    Ana Bobić, Hertie School of Governance
    Ana Bobić is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the LEVIATHAN Project at the Hertie School of Governance, Berlin. She works on questions of accountability in EU economic governance, with a focus on the role of judicial and constitutional review. At the Faculty of Law, University of Oxford, she completed the D.Phil. as a Graduate Assistance Fund Scholar and the M.Jur. as the OSI/University of Oxford scholar. She previously obtained B.A. LL.M. summa cum laude at the Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb, Croatia in 2011. Ana was also a lecturer in Constitutional and Administrative Law at Keble College, University of Oxford.


    Josephine van Zeben, Ana Bobić, Francis Cheneval, Kalypso Nicolaïdis, Martijn van den Brink, Iris Goldner Lang, Damjan Kukovec, Leticia Díez Sanchez, Vigjilenca Abazi, Sacha Garben

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.