ARENA Centre for European Studies, University of Oslo

ARENA Centre for European Studies is a multidisciplinary research centre at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Oslo. The centre conducts theoretically oriented and empirically informed basic research on the dynamics of the evolving European political order. Main research areas include legitimacy and democracy, organizational and institutional developments, constitutionalism, media and the public sphere, gender democracy, and foreign and security policies. ARENA engages in a series of international academic networks and coordinates several large multi-partner EU-funded projects.

PLATO PhD candidates

Claire Godet

ESR6 (policy failure)

PhD project: Legitimate despite the quarrel: the EU’s legitimation troubles in the negotiations of the Emissions Trading System

Joris Melman

ESR9 (democratic state failure)

PhD project: The public and the Euro: on legitimacy, visibility and politial imagination

Jan Pesl

ESR14 (public sphere)

PhD project: The EU's post-crisis legitimacy and the public sphere


Christopher Lord

PLATO Scientific Coordinator

Professor of Political Science

Chris Lord is particularly engaged in  questions of legitimacy, democracy and the European Union. His research lies at the interface of political philosophy and political science, applying questions raised by the legitimation of political power to the study of the EU. Beginning with the development of a framework for evaluating the EU against democratic standards – a Democratic Audit of the EU – his research has made several moves that go well beyond conventional understandings of the fact-value distinction in political science.

Among his most recent publications are 'An indirect legitimacy argument for a directly elected European Parliament’ (European Journal of Political Research, 2017), ‘How can parliaments contribute to the legitimacy of the European Semester?’ (Parliamentary Affairs, 2017), ‘The legitimacy of exits from the European Union’ (Journal of European Integration, 2017), and ‘Utopia or dystopia? Towards a normative analysis of differentiated integration' (Journal of European Public Policy, 2015).

John Erik Fossum

Professor of Political Science

John Erik Fossum's main fields of research cover several topics, including political theory, democracy, and constitutionalism in the EU and Canada, as well as Europeanisation and transformation of the nation state. He is co-editor of the Routledge series on Democratizing Europe.

His key publications include The European Union’s non-members: independence under hegemony? co-edited with Erik O. Eriksen (Routledge, 2015), Practices of Inter-parliamentary coordination in international politics, co-edited with Ben Crum (ECPR Press, 2013), and Democracy in the European Union: integration through deliberation? co-edited with Erik O. Eriksen (Routledge, 2000).

Cathrine Holst

Professor of Sociology

Cathrine Holst is Professor at the Department of Sociology and Human Geography and affiliated with the Centre for Research on Gender Equality (CORE), both at the University of Oslo. Her main fields of academic interest are political sociology and democracy research, social and political theory, the role of knowledge and expertise in policy and politics, EU, European integration and the Nordic model, gender policy, feminist theory and gender studies.

Her most recent publications include 'Benevolent contestations: mainstreaming, judicialization, and Europeanization in the Norwegian gender+ equality debate', with Hege Skjeie and Mari Teigen in MacRae/Weiner (eds) Towards gendering institutionalism: equality in Europe, 'Advisory commissions, academic expertise and democratic legitimacy: the case of Norway', with Johan Christensen (Science and Public Policy, 2017), and 'Public deliberation and the fact of expertise: making experts accountable', with Anders Molander (Social Epistemology, 2017).

Asimina Michailidou

Senior Researcher of Political Communication

Asimina Michailidou's research focuses on digital news and social media, the structure, actors and grammar of the European digital public sphere, Euroscepticism and crisis communication through digital media.

Among her publications are Social media and European politics, with Mauro Barisione (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), Contesting Europe: euroscepticism in online media coverage, with Pieter de Wilde and Hans-Jörg Trenz  (ECPR Press, 2013) and The Internet and European integration, with Hans-Jörg Trenz and Pieter de Wilde (Barbara Budrich, 2014).

Her work also appears in the peer-reviewed journals European Journal of Political Research, Journal of European Public Policy, Journalism Practice, International Political Science Review, National Identities, European Journal of Communication Research and Journal of Contemporary European Research.

Espen D. H. Olsen

Senior Researcher of Political Science

Espen Olsen’s research targets European citizenship, EU integration, citizen deliberation, deliberative democracy, and the role of citizenship in the Euro crisis. He also has an academic interest in political theory focusing on citizenship and identity, as well as qualitative methods and process tracing.

His publications include ‘Eurocrisis and EU citizenship’ in Europe’s prolonged crisis (eds Trenz/Ruzza/Guiraudon, Palgrave, 2015), ‘From citizens’ deliberation to popular will-formation? Generating democratic legitimacy in transnational deliberative pooling’, with Hans-Jörg Trenz (Political Studies, 2014), and Transnational citizenship in the European Union: past, present and future (Continuum Books, 2012). 

Jarle Trondal

Professor of Political Science

Jarle Trondal is also Professor and Director of the PhD Programme in Public Administration at the University of Agder. He is an expert on the study of international public administration and the European executive order. His interests further include public administration, the EU as a political system, administrative integration and transformation, the EU/EEA and Norway, the European Commission, and EU committee governance.

He has recently published 'Researching European Union agencies: what have we learnt (and where do we go from here)?' with Morten Egeberg (Journal of Common Market Studies, 2017), 'Conceptualizing the European multilevel administrative order' with Michael W. Bauer (European Political Science Review, 2017), and Governance in turbulent times, co-edited with Christopher K. Ansell and Morten Øgård (Oxford Univeristy Press, 2016).

Erik O. Eriksen

Professor of Politcal Science, ARENA Director

Erik O. Eriksen’s research areas include political, legal and normative theory as well as the European integration process. His interests revolves around democracy in the EU, governance and leadership, functions and limits of the state, trust, and deliberative democracy.

Among his publications are Rethinking democracy and the European Union co-edited with John Erik Fossum (Routledge, 2012), The unfinished democratization of Europe (Oxford University Press, 2009), Making the European Polity: Reflexive integration in Europe (Routledge, 2005), and ‘Europe in search of legitimacy: strategies of legitimation assessed’, with John Erik Fossum (International Political Science Review, 2004)

Agustín José Menéndez

Research Professor of Law

Agustín José Menéndez is also Lecturer of political and legal philosophy at the University of León (Spain). Combining his academic interests in law and European integration, his research includes political and legal theories of democracy and fundamental rights, legitimacy, national and EU law, constitutional theory of the EU and the EU’s social dimension. He is editor-in-chief of the European Law Journal.

His publications include ‘The refugee crisis: between human tragedy and symptom of the structural crisis of European integration’ (European Law Journal, 2016), ‘Which citizenship? Whose Europe? The many paradoxes of European citizenship’ (German Law Journal, 2014) and The Constitution’s gift: a constitutional theory for a democratic European Union, with John Erik Fossum (Rowman and Littlefield, 2011).

Hans-Jörg Trenz

Research Professor of Sociology

Hans-Jörg Trenz is also Professor at the Centre for Modern European Studies (CEMES), University of Copenhagen.Trenz’ primary research areas include political communication, comparative media studies, the European public sphere, civil society, identity, and cultural and political sociology.

Some selected publications are Narrating European society: toward a sociology of European integration (Lexington Books, 2016), Europe's prolonged crisis: the making or the unmaking of a political union (Palgrave, 2015), and Contesting Europe: euroscepticism in online media coverage, co-edited with Asimina Michailidou and Pieter de Wilde (ECPR Press, 2013).

Published Oct. 10, 2017 1:10 PM - Last modified Dec. 3, 2018 3:17 PM