Andreas Føllesdal, PhD
Professor of Political Philosophy
Born in 1957 in Boston, Mass., USA
Studied Philosophy, Sociology, and Psychology at the Universities of Oslo and Uppsala and Philosophy at Harvard University
The European Court of Human Rights as Antidote against Authoritarian PopulismThe European Convention on Human Rights and its Court were set up after World War Two to help states uphold democracy and the rule of law against backsliding. How can the Court perform these tasks in the face of two apparently conflicting challenges?
The Court is now required to serve a subsidiary, deferential role granting states a discretionary “margin of appreciation.” The Court also faces a rise of authoritarian populist movements and governments that are reluctant to delegate authority, in particular to elitist international human rights courts staffed with foreigners, who constrain democratic majorities in favor of minorities that threaten their traditions and values – such as criminals, refugees, and religious, ethnic, sexual, or other minorities.
The project reviews and builds on recent contributions in political science, law, and political theory to provide 1) a more careful analysis of the sorts of reactions and pushback the Court faces; 2) a working definition of authoritarian populism; 3) the peculiar design challenges for an independent yet accountable ECtHR; 4) critical and constructive engagement with authoritarian populism to identify aspects that merit respect and accommodation; and 5) some strategies available to the ECtHR to render it more resilient and helpful against authoritarian populism – without treaty change.
– Since the application was written, there have been several insightful contributions to these topics, and the project may change due to them.
Follesdal, Andreas (1998). “Survey Article: Subsidiarity.” Journal of Political Philosophy 6 (2): 190–218. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9760.00052.
Follesdal, Andreas, and Simon Hix (2006). “Why There Is a Democratic Deficit in the EU: A Response to Majone and Moravcsik.” Journal of Common Market Studies 44 (3): 533–562. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5965.2006.00650.x.
Follesdal, Andreas (2020). “Survey Article: The Legitimacy of International Courts.” Journal of Political Philosophy 28 (4): 476–499. https://doi.org/10.1111/jopp.12213.