1st Edition

How European Citizens Understand the Economy Knowledge, Politicization and Anchoring in the European Public Sphere

By Dorian Alt Copyright 2023
    290 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book argues that the European public sphere functions to help citizens understand complex economic issues and discuss them meaningfully across borders. Through original research conducted on citizens’ perceptions of European economic issues, it explores a mechanism that allows people to make sense of such complex issues - national anchoring - and shows that the way issues are politicized today in a national public sphere will shape citizens' understandings of novel issues tomorrow.

    The book demonstrates that debates in the European public sphere spread knowledge to the population just as national debates do, thus allowing transnational deliberation to function in the EU and potentially advance a European identity. The book thus draws optimistic conclusions with regard to EU legitimacy, with the European public sphere functioning rather well and problems of complexity and compatibility seeming less pronounced than often expected in public opinion research and European studies.

    This book will be of key interest to scholars and students of public opinion, European studies, political attitudes, austerity politics and more broadly to political science, sociology and social psychology.

    Introduction: How the European Public Overcomes Problems of Understanding Chapter 1. Investigating Complexity and Compatibility in the European Public Sphere PART I: National Anchoring Chapter 2. National Culture and Past Politicization Chapter 3. Neoliberalism and the Worth of Nations PART II: The Complexity Problem Chapter 4. Diverse Understandings: Market Experiences and the Rational Choice Model Chapter 5. Informed Understandings: Economic Theory and the Deficit Model PART III: The Compatibility Problem Chapter 6. Testing Compatibility: Three and the European Public Sphere Chapter 7. Explaining Compatibility: Economic Politicization and the European Demos Conclusion Bibliography Appendix 1. Overview of Social Representations: the Economy in the Eyes of Citizens Appendix 2. Focus Group Design Appendix 3. Characteristics of Participants


    Dorian Alt is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Comparative Constitutionalism at Charles University Prague. His research interests lie at the intersection of Political Sociology and European Studies. Dorian holds a PhD in Politics from Freie Universität Berlin, an Msc in Philosophy from LSE and a BA in European Studies from Maastricht University.