Jamal Shahin » Teaching » Governance and policymaking in the EU: Connecting citizens and institutions (INRE)

Governance and policymaking in the EU: Connecting citizens and institutions (INRE) Syllabus Semester 1, Block 1, 2013-2014


The online version of this document (entitled: Governance and policymaking in the EU: Connecting citizens and institutions (INRE)), available from this link is considered to be the official version of this document.

Aims and learning objectives

All these and more questions will be addressed in ‘Governance and policymaking in the EU: Connecting citizens and institutions’ (hereafter INRE). This course will deepen our understanding of how developments in EU policymaking have changed our perception of democracy and governance in the European Union. It does so with a focus on the EU’s ‘Information Society’ policy domain.

The module is heavily research-oriented and as such should be considered a work in progress. The three-hour long seminars will be organised in a discussion format, with each participant talking ‘to’ the literature that has been read by everyone in the group.

Part of the course will require group work: students will be put into four groups in the first week of the course and will subsequently work with their colleagues to develop policy ‘dossiers’ and present their findings in the last class. Students will be required – individually – to write final papers related to the topic of new modes of governance in the EU. A study trip to Brussels is organised in the context of this course: we shall spend two days visiting different EU institutions to learn more about policymaking in the EU in the policy area of information society.

By the end of the course, students will:

This course will be run in English.

This course is not taught by a legal scholar: most of the discussions will take place in the context of political innovations.

Study load and time required

It is estimated you will need to allocate 40-50% of your working time as a minimum (that is 16-20 hours per week) for this course. This will be spent on preparation for and participation in the group seminars, group work, completing the deliverables for this course, and the study trip. The amount of effort may vary from week to week, but you should manage your time effectively by starting to work on the final assignments by the second or third week of the course. We try to ensure that the workload is spread throughout the course.

You are required to read all the articles in the [course schedule][] for each week of the course. On several occasions during the seven weeks, you are required to summarise these texts in ‘QSQ’ papers that are no longer than one page for each article: see [Assessment and feedback][] for more details. In addition, you should be constantly filling up your policy ‘dossiers’ on the chosen topic with your colleagues. You should also be thinking about your final paper’s topic, structure and bibliography. It is in your interest to use the literature from the weekly seminars to help write your final paper.

Given the nature of the seminars, participation is compulsory in all the meetings mentioned in the [course schedule][]. A medical certificate or documentation provided by a University official will be required in cases of absence.


In addition to office hours and immediately prior to our seminars, I am available primarily through email for queries about the course. Please put [INRE] at the beginning of your subject heading if your email relates to the course: failure to do so may delay a response to your question. Feel free to resend your email after five working days if you have not yet received a response. I will use my office hours to try to respond to as many emails as possible.

Please use email sensibly: questions that can be more efficiently dealt with in class should be raised there.

Course schedule

Unless mentioned below, all classes take place on Thursdays between 1pm and 4pm in PCH4.40.

Course times and dates are different in weeks four and five.

All literature in the list must be read before the class. This is an absolute prerequisite for participation in the seminar: you will be asked to leave the room and be marked as absent if you have not done the work.

Week 1 (5/9): Policymaking in the EU

It is imperative that you carry out the reading before class. Thank you. QSQs are not required for week 1.

Core questions to be addressed:

For background, please read:

Week 2 (12/9): Governance, policymaking and technology

Don’t forget to bring your QSQs!!

Please (strongly) consider attending the keynote lecture by Benedict Anderson from 5pm until 6.30pm in D0.08 in the OMHP): Imagined communities: reflections on the spread of an inspiring concept, 1983-2013

Core questions:

Week 3 (19/9): Means and methods of EU Governance

No class will be held this week: you should carry out the work in groups. No QSQs are necessary.

Core Questions:

Week 4 (23/9) 3pm - 7pm PCH519: Case study: EU information society policy


Don’t forget to bring your QSQs!!

Core Questions:

Week 5 (4/10) 1pm - 4pm PCH631: Digital politics in the EU


No QSQs are necessary.

Core Question:

Week 6 (10/10): Citizenship and the EU; discussion on final papers/dossiers

Don’t forget to bring your QSQs!!

Core questions:

Week 7 (16-17/10): Brussels visit; dossier presentations

Information regarding the trip will be provided separately. In short, in the afternoon of 16th October, we shall attend the European Parliament and speak with Judith Sargentini, MEP. On the morning of 17th October, we shall then have a discussion with staff from the European Commission’s DG CONNECT, who are specialised in our topics of research for this course. In the afternoon of 17th October, we may hold a briefing session, where your policy dossiers will be presented. Obviously, no QSQs are required.

Study materials and costs

All study materials for this course are available through the UvA digital library, through subscriptions available to UvA students via the library, on the shelves in one of the UvA libraries, or through the Internet. You are encouraged to develop your own list of reading materials in parallel to those on the list in this course manual. Feel free to share these with the entire group.

Students are strongly encouraged to visit and use the resources physically available in the University’s libraries. Although most material for the course is available on your computer, books should be consulted. High grades are impossible to award for papers written through Worldwide Web resources alone.

A study trip to Brussels takes place on 16 and 17 October. This is compulsory for participants of the course. The Faculty provides a subsidy for the trip (travel and accommodation), but please be aware that you will need your own personal spending money for meals and other expenditures.

Assessment and feedback

Your overall grade for the course must be 5.5 or above: this means that individual elements of the course do not have to reach this threshold. Your general grade will reflect your overall participation in the course in addition to the quality of the final deliverable. This will relate to your willingness to engage with reading and lecture materials, and your ability to address and discuss questions to your peers during their presentations.

This course is assessed by several different assignments noted below. In all cases, please note the [deliverable requirements][] guidelines below.

  1. A final paper (50% of the final grade, approximately 2000 words (±10%)) relating to the topic of the course. The question to be addressed in the paper will be determined by the student in collaboration with the course coordinator. It can be related to one of the core questions raised in each of the seminars. Final papers do not need to be exclusive to each individual student; similar issues can be broached by more than one student. The essay must be within the realms of the course topic (new modes of governance). You are not bound to the policy topic. It would be wise to make use of the literature we have covered in the course.
    The essays may not be resubmitted after the grade has been given: if you are in doubt about your paper, please contact the course coordinator well in advance of the deadline, preferably with a rough draft. We shall discuss final papers during our time in Brussels in any case.

    Your final papers will be evaluated on the following:

    • Capacity to structure, develop and answer a research question under the given constraints,
    • Capacity to explain, structure and use (a wide range of) secondary literature (that has been used in the course),
    • Linkage to empirical case study (if relevant) and suitable data collection (if applicable),
    • Analytical clarity, argumentation and coherence,
    • Presentation and structure (including spelling, referencing and layout).
  2. A policy ‘dossier’ (20% of the final grade), comprised of collections of policy documents and other source material (including newspaper and journal articles, possibly interviews or other information) on the chosen topic for the course. These will be collated by students in groups. They will be presented digitally to the course coordinator, and will be fully and accurately referenced, with a list of references and a summary document describing the content of the dossier (c. 2000 words ±10%) at the beginning.
    Early versions of the dossiers will be seen prior to/during the study trip; there will be no chance for a third submission of this work.

  3. For each of the specified weeks, you will need to submit ‘QSQ’ papers. Each week of graded QSQ papers count for 10% of your final grade.

    QSQs must be prepared for each article listed in the course schedule, unless otherwise indicated. A QSQ paper requires, for each piece of literature:

    • a key Quote
    • a short Summary of the argument made in the article (i.e. NOT a summary of the article, but a critical analysis of the argument)
    • a Question for discussion in the group (linking to a research question for a possible final paper)

    The QSQ may not exceed one page per article (please use standard margins and a font no smaller than size 10). Prepare these assignments with a word processor and bring them to class on paper: you can be asked to hand the assignment in at any time (and will be asked twice). These will need to be submitted every week where indicated in the [Course Schedule][]. This should be done via blackboard immediately prior to class: you will also need to bring a paper copy along to the seminars in order to facilitate discussion. The paper copies will be graded. If QSQs are not submitted for each article prior to the seminar, a zero will be awarded for the week.

  4. Your engagement with the literature and policy debates will be graded through a final presentation that you will make of your policy dossiers (10%). These should be structured in a way that will enable you to highlight key trends and conflicts in the specific policy area: rather than simply describing policies, you are expected to analyse and draw conclusions as to how this policy issue has evolved over time in a European context. The grading of the presentation will take the following into consideration:

    • Coherence of presentation
    • Fluidity of presentation
    • Analytical skills and the ability to present these clearly
    • Content of presentation
    • Quality of presentation materials
    • Innovation (how you present the topic, whether you stimulate your peers)
    • Response to questions from the audience

    The grade for the presentation will be awarded to the group (one grade will be given to all members), and will take into consideration the deliberations by group members on the course material throughout the course.

Immediate feedback will be given on the presentations: the grade for these will be announced on blackboard within a week after they have taken place.

Feedback on the final papers, including grades and comments, will be provided in written form on blackboard at latest two weeks after submission. The course coordinator will organise a date (most likely to be in the first week of Block 2 of Semester 1) for students to view their papers and receive more detailed feedback if requested.

Course Evaluation

Course evaluations are an important tool for improving the quality of courses and study programmes. At the end of a teaching period, questionnaires are distributed among the course participants. The results of these questionnaires are discussed by the Programme Committee, and ideas for improvement are communications to the course coordinator. More information on the Programme Committees is available at http://www.student.uva.nl/fgw-oc/start.cfm.

You should not feel as though you have to wait until the end of the course in order to voice any issues that you may have. The course coordinator invites you to engage either during office hours, prior or immediately after a class, or via email to discuss any concerns you may have.

Checklist: Deliverables and deadlines

Deliverable requirements

Documents submitted on paper should conform to the following rules: A4, printed on both sides of the page, fully justified paragraphs, with single line spacing AND PAGE NUMBERS CLEARLY IDENTIFIED. The pages in the document should be attached together in the top left hand corner with a single staple; no binding and no plastic coverings should be used. Only one copy should be provided. As a minimum, the following information should be clearly marked on the front page of the submission:

Written work should be submitted on or before the date specified in the syllabus, in the course coordinator’s in tray next to the European Studies Secretariat (PCH6.48) or given to the instructor immediately prior to, during, or after class. If you will not be able to submit written work on time, you should notify the course coordinator in advance or as soon as possible. Requests for additional time must be accompanied by documentation from a physician or university official. Requests for additional time after the deadline has passed will not be honoured.

A digital copy of all submissions should be provided via Blackboard (‘Ephorus assignment’ for the individual essay), in PDF format. This electronic document should be identical to the printed copy. All documents must be submitted electronically AND on paper (hard and soft copies). Students are expected to inform themselves of standard academic procedures for citing and referencing: coherence and consistency is most important. Cooperation (cheating or plagiarism) between students on the writing of the individual essays is not allowed i.e. you cannot use material submitted for the discussion paper as part of your individual essay, or that of someone else’s of course. Students are expected to be familiar with the University’s code of conduct and rules on plagiarism.

The penalty for late written work is 0.5 grade-points per day, beginning immediately after the deadline. Computer, transport, and/or printer problems are not a valid excuse for handing in work late. Work overdue for more than one week will not be accepted. Personal problems are only accepted with medical certificate or documentation from a university official.

List of deadlines

ItemWeightDate dueLength
Final paper50%25 Oct, 5pm2000 words
QSQ papers20%min. 2x during Weeks (2, 3 and 7), 5pm1p/article
Policy dossier20%First draft: 10 Oct
Final draft: 21 Oct, 5pm
2000 words summary
plus reference list
Group presentation10%17 Oct (tbc), during class10 mins p/group

[Deliverables and deadlines][]