Set in stone? Exploring the role of concreteness and abstraction in committee deliberations in the Council of Ministers of the European Union
Speaker: James Cross (University College Dublin)
Wednesday, April 12, 14:00–14:45 (Irish time)
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Abstract: Committees are the workhorses of European Union (EU) policy making. They provide a setting for policymakers to put forward positions, identify policy solutions, and build consensus. Committee members who can express concrete and specific arguments are more likely to be effective than those who express themselves in an abstract and esoteric manner. This study examines the role of concreteness and abstraction in the Committee deliberations of the Council of Ministers. We demonstrate how concreteness varies signficantly across policy area, member state representative, and time. We then link this to legislative outcomes by examining the connection between concreteness and voting behaviour on the legislative proposals that were debated in the committee in question. Our results provide new insights into the manner in which member states justify their voting behaviour to one another and the rhetorical structures that shape Council deliberations.
About the speaker: James Cross is a Jean Monnet Chair and Assistant Professor in the School of Politics and International Relations at University College Dublin and co-founder of the Connected_Politics Lab @ UCD. Broadly speaking, his research agenda addresses various aspects of international and comparative politics, with a specific focus on policymaking in the European Union (EU).
His research applies methods adapted from natural language processing to analyse a large corpus of legislative texts in the EU. These new methods and data will be used to provide insight into patterns of conflict and cooperation between the Council, the Commission, and the Parliament in the EU policy-making process..
His post-doctoral work at the ETH in Zurich and as a Max Weber and Jean Monnet Fellow at the EUI in Florence developed upon his Ph.D. work in a number of ways. He examined the role of transparency and censorship in the EU Policy-making process, specifically looking at how different levels of transparency affect negotiator position taking during negotiations.