A Normative Theory of Local Government: Connecting Individual Autonomy and Local Self-Determination with Democracy

  • Gissur Ó Erlingsson Linköping University, Centre for Municipal Studies, Department for Studies of Social Change and Culture
  • Jörgen Ödalen Linköping University, Political Science, Department of Management and Engineering
Keywords: local self-government, local autonomy, democratic theory, constitutional heory

Abstract

The issue of local government reform is high on the agenda in many developed democracies. The discussion is often framed in narrow terms, focusing on functional efficiency. In this article, we construct a normative argument for local government that values local government because it fulfills morally desirable purposes in itself, regardless of its functional efficiency. The argument is that the same foundational value – individual autonomy – constitutes the normative underpinning of both democracy and the right to local self-government. The implication is that if we value democracy, we must defend a strong and constitutionally protected local government.

Author Biographies

Gissur Ó Erlingsson, Linköping University, Centre for Municipal Studies, Department for Studies of Social Change and Culture

Associate Professor

Jörgen Ödalen, Linköping University, Political Science, Department of Management and Engineering

Adjunct Senior Lecturer

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Published
2017-04-01
Section
Articles