Current research interests

Many of my research interests connect to democracy in one way or the other. I am interested in the meaning, the value, the boundaries, the institutions, and the causes and effects of democracy, in particular but not exclusively beyond the state and in contexts where the role or power of states is changing.  I have pursued research on these topics in political theory, comparative politics, international relations and international political economy. Some extensions of my central research interests include European politics, e.g. enlargement, constitutional, and monetary and fiscal politics. Other extensions, or specifications, of my core interest include civil society actors in global governance, promotion of democracy through foreign interventions, theories and politics of international recognition, emotions in international politics, problem solving capacities of international institutions, in particular regarding food security and peace and war.

Current research projects

The Founding of Legitimate States: The Problem of External Constituent Powers

Funded by the Swedish Research Council

In normative theory it goes without saying that people should establish their own political orders. Perhaps the most famous expression of this moral intuition is found in the preamble of the American constitution. ‘We the people… establish this Constitution…’ began the founding fathers and sent a message to revolutionary movements throughout the world that people have a right to constitute their own states. However, the creation of new states may sometimes involve people with no intention of becoming citizens in the future state. The US-led imposition of new regimes on Afghanistan and Iraq is one example and the UN administration of post-conflict societies in Kosovo and East Timor is another. Could such policies be reconciled with the conviction that people should establish their own political orders? This project will develop normative theory so as to account for this question. It will identify traditional principles of how a legitimate state is constituted by powers internal to the state and assess their usefulness and validity in the context of external powers. The aim of the project is to decide in what ways, if any, external powers can and cannot be used for the purpose of constituting legitimate states. Summary in Swedish »


Democracy Beyond the Nation State? Transnational Actors and Global Governance

Research program funded by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation.

This research program explores the role of transnational actors in the democratization of global governance. More specifically, the program addresses three scholarly themes: (1) transnational actors and the democratization of international institutions, (2) democracy and public-private partnerships in global governance, and (3) the democratic credentials of transnational actors. The program goes beyond existing research in three central respects. First, it integrates normative democratic theory and empirical research in a global context. In contrast to the strong emphasis on normative theory in existing research, this program pursues a dual agenda, tracing the implications of alternative models of democracy for the prospects of democratization, and exploring empirically actual attempts to democratize international institutions through transnational organization. Second, the program adopts an ambitious comparative research design. As opposed to the single-case studies that dominate existing empirical research, this program operates with a broad comparison across issue-areas, and addresses transnational organization in fields such as trade, development, human rights, security, and the environment. Third, it includes and assesses the full spectrum of transnational actors. Whereas existing studies of transnational organization in global governance tend to focus either on civil society actors or multinational corporations, we study political processes that involve both categories, and assess the democratic credentials of both categories. The program is jointly conducted by researchers at Lund University and Stockholm University.


The Design of International Institutions: Legitimacy, Effectiveness, and Distribution in Global Governance.

Funded by the European Research Council.

One of the most profound trends in global governance over the past two decades is the grow­ing extent to which international institutions offer mechanisms for the participation of trans­national actors. This project will explore two central research questions, pertaining to the causes and effects of this shift in the design of international institutions: (1) Why have inter­national institutions increasingly opened up to transnational actor involvement? (2) What are the consequences of involving transnational actors for the democratic legitimacy, problem-solving effectiveness, and distributional effects of international institutions? These are re­search questions that previously have not been explored systematically in existing literatures on international institutional design, transnational actors in global governance, and democracy beyond the nation-state. This project opens up a new research agenda on the design of inter­national institutions through an ambitious combination of novel theory development and comparative empirical research. Theoretically, the project develops and tests alternative hy­potheses about the causes and effects of transnational participation in international policy-making. Empirically, the project explores the dynamics of transnational participation through comparative case studies of five major international institutions, supplemented with a large-n mapping of formal mechanisms of transnational access in a broader sample of institutions. The project is led by Jonas Tallberg.

Books, book chapters, and articles

(English translations within parentheses)

The Politics of International Recognition, symposium in International Theory 5: 1 (forthcoming 2013).  (together with Jens Bartelson, Eva Erman, Christine Chwaszcza, Mikulas Fabry, Benjamin Herborth, Oliver Kessler, Steve Krasner, and Thomas Lindemann)

“The Politics of International Recognition: Symposium introduction”, International Theory 5: 1 (forthcoming 2013).

"Is successful democracy promotion possible? The conceptual problem." Democratization. DOI:10.1080/13510347.2012.709240, Pre-published online August, 2012.

"Democratic founding: We the people and the others - A rejoinder to Mark Tushnet". International Journal of Constitutional Law 10 (3): 866-870. (2012)

"Answering questions in parliament during budget debates: Deliberative reciprocity and globalisation in Western Europe" in Parliamentary Affairs, vol. 64, no. 1: 153-174. (2011)

"Democratic founding: We the people and the others". International Journal of Constitutional Law 10 (3): 836-861 (2012)

“The politics of international recognition”, conference opening address.
Audial excerpt »
(equally a draft of the introduction to a planned publication of the conference contributions). Available at » 

“Cosmopolitan democratic theory and legitimate founding of political community: Why Turkey has a right to participate in the politics of EU enlargement”. In Guido Montani (ed.) European Democracy and Cosmopolitan Democracy. Ventotene Paper n. 7, Altiero Spinelli Institute for Federalist Studies (2011).

"The Autonomy of Globalizing States: Bridging the Gap between Democratic Theory and International Political Economy" in International Political Science Review, 2011, vol. 32, no. 1: 43-60.

“Fiskal union for en starkare demokrati?” in Ulf Bernitz, Thomas Persson and Lars Oxelheim (eds) Överlever EMU utan fiskal union? Europaperspekti 2011. Stockholm: Santérus förlag. (2011). (“Fiscal union for a stronger democracy?” In Will EMU survive without a fiscal union?) For a TV seminar on the book, se svtplay.se/v/2320237/europaperspektiv_eurokrisen_del_2

Disciplin, inspiration och anarki: Manifest för en god statsvetenskap” in Statsvetenskaplig tidskrift, 2010: 4 (Disciplin, inspiration, and anarchy: Manifesto for a good political science in Journal of Political Science)

"Why democracy must be global: self-founding and foreign intervention", International Theory vol. 2 no 3:  381–409 (2010). 

“Does global democracy matter? Hypotheses on famine and war", in Jönsson, Christer and Tallberg, Jonas (eds), Transnational Actors in Global Governance, Macmillan, 2010

"Irrevocable powers and democratic accountability" in Sverker Gustavsson, Christer Karlsson, Thomas Persson (eds.) The Illusion of Accountability in the European Union, Routledge, 2009

"European Union Conditionality: Coercion or Voluntary adaptation" in Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, vol. 8, no. 1 (Spring 2009): 1-17. Available at »

"We the People and the Others: The Co-founding of Democratic States" in ConWEB, Webpapers on Constitutionalism & Governance beyond the State, 2008: 4 (edited version of this paper published also in International Journal of Constitutional Law, see above)

"The Foundation of Legitimate States", Statsvetenskaplig tidskrift, 2008: 1

"The Myth of International Delegation: Limits to and Suggestions for Democratic Theory in the Context of the European Union" in Government and Opposition, January 2007.

"Measuring Democratic Deliberation" in Political Concepts. Working papers by The Committee on Concepts and Methods of the International Political Science Association, IPSA 2006. Accessible at »

"Påtvingad demokrati - det filosofiska problemet" i Internationella Studier, 2006: 4 ("Imposed democracy - the philosophical problem" in International Studies 2006:4)

"A Dogma of Democratic Theory and Globalization: Why Politics Need not Include Everyone it Affects" in European Journal of International Relations, vol. 12 (2006), no. 3: 433–458.  

"Folkomröstningar och demokrati" i Internationella studier, 2005:2 ("Referenda and democracy", in International Studies, 2005:2)

Democracy Reconsidered: The Prospects of its Theory and Practice during Internationalisation - Britain, France, Sweden, and the EU. Doctoral thesis, Dep. of Political Science, Stockholm University 2004. Available at »

"Demokratins former i den internationella politiken och EU" i EU - demokratiskt och effektivt? Stockholm: Fritzes. 2002. SOU 2002: 82 ("The forms of democracy in international politics and the EU" in EU - democratic and effective?) Accessible at »

"Europeisk demokrati sui generis. En ofta antydd men aldrig utarbetad och intagen ståndpunkt." i Working papers, 2002:1, Departement of Political Science, Stockholm University. ("European Democracy Sui Generis. An often assumed but never elaborated and defended position" in Working papers, 2002:1, Departement of Political Science, Stockholm University.)

"Den europeiska föreningen av välfärdsstat och gränsöverskridande kapitalism" pp. 223-47 i Ulf Bernitz, Sverker Gustavsson et al. Årsbok för europaforskning 2000, Stockholm: Santérus förlag. ("The European reconciliation of Welfare-States and Transnational Capitalim" in Ulf Bernitz, Sverker Gustavsson et al. European Perspectives. Yearbook of Swedish Reserach on Europe 2000. Stockholm: Santérus förlag.)

"To Share Democratic Legitimacy Between Different Political Levels" pp. 117-136 in Hans Agné, Cees van der Eijk, Brigid Laffan, Britta Lejon, Pippa Norris, Hermann Schmitt and Richard Sinnott 1999. Citizen Participation in European Politics. Stockholm: Fritzes. SOU 1999: 151 (The printed version of the article by Hans Agné includes a number of disordered diagrams. The author may be contacted for a correct version). Accessible at »

"Väktarteorin. En lösning på problemet att demokratiskt rättfärdiga den europeiska centralbankens konstitutionella särställning" pp. 139-61 i Statsvetenskaplig tidskrift 1999:2. ("The Theory of Guardians. A solution to the Problem of Democratically Justifying the Constitutionally Unique position of the European Central Bank" in Journal of Political Science)

"Demokrati på europeisk nivå" pp. 7-44, i Hans Agné, Mats Lundström, Giandomenico Majone, Fritz Scharpf 1998. Demokrati på europeisk nivå? Stockholm: Fritzes. SOU 1998: 124 ("Democracy at the European Level" in Hans Agné, Mats Lundström, Giandomenico Majone, Fritz Scharpf. 1998. Democracy at the European level?). Accessible at »

Academic training (selected)

Stockholm University, Stockholm.
Doctor in Philosophy in Political Science, November 2004.

Uppsala University, Uppsala.
M.A. in Political Science, January 1998.

Sorbonne College of French Civilisation, Paris.
French Literature and Writing, 1995-96

Teaching and research experience (selected)

Research Fellow and Lecturer, Stockholm University, since July 2005. Department of Political Science

Associate Research Fellow, Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Stockholm, 2004-2006, 2008.

Junior lecturer and researcher, Stockholm University, 1999-2003.

Public Commission Expert, Demokratiutredningen (Commission on Democracy), and EU-2004 Utredningen (EU-2004 Commission), Ministry of Justice, Stockholm, 1998-2002.