The European Union and the Public Sphere: A Communicative Space in the Making?, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The European Union and the Public Sphere

A Communicative Space in the Making?, 1st Edition

Edited by John Erik Fossum, Philip R. Schlesinger


326 pages

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The European Union is often attacked for its ‘democratic deficit’, namely its deficiencies in representation, transparency and accountability, as well as its lack of popular support. Can these shortcomings be counteracted by the development of a viable European public sphere?

This book assesses the possible formation of a communicative space that might enable and engender the creation of a transnational or a supranational public. The contributors consider the EU’s democratic credentials and how well it communicates, and they also evaluate the major institutions and their links to general publics.

The European Union and the Public Sphere emphasizes a ‘deliberative democratic’ perspective on the public sphere, addressing some key questions:

• What are the prospects for a European public sphere?

• Should we think in terms of the EU having a single public sphere, or are overlapping public spheres a more viable option?

• What do this book’s findings on the question of the public sphere tell us about the EU as a political entity?

Students and scholars of European democracy, political communication, and the politics of institutions will all be greatly interested by this book.

Table of Contents

1. The European Union and the public sphere: a communicative space in the making?

John Erik Fossum and Philip Schlesinger

PART I: Communicative practices and a European public sphere

Philip Schlesinger and John Erik Fossum

2. Conceptualizing European public spheres: general, segmented and strong publics

Erik Oddvar Eriksen

3. The public sphere and European democracy: mechanisms of democratization in the transnational situation

Klaus Eder

4. A fragile cosmopolitanism: on the unresolved ambiguities of the European public sphere

Philip Schlesinger

PART II: Assessing Europe’s general public(s)

Philip Schlesinger and John Erik Fossum

5. ‘Quo vadis Europe?’ Quality newspapers struggling for European unity

Hans-Jörg Trenz

6. Political communication, European integration and the transformation of national public spheres: a comparison of Britain and France

Paul Statham

7. The European void: the democratic deficit as a cultural deficiency

Abram de Swaan

8. Political integration in Europe and the need for a common political language

Lars Chr. Blichner

9. EU enlargement, identity and the public sphere

Maria Heller and Ágnes Rényi

10. Religion and the European public sphere

François Foret and Philip Schlesinger

11. The public sphere in European constitution-making

John Erik Fossum and Hans-Jörg Trenz

PART III: Institutional conditions and the European context

John Erik Fossum and Philip Schlesinger

12. European commissioners and the prospects of a European public sphere: information, representation and legitimacy

Andy Smith

13. Transparency, audiences and the evolving role of the EU Council of Ministers

Deirdre Curtin

14. Transnationalising the public sphere? The European Parliament, promises and anticipations

Ulrike Liebert

15. Conclusion

Philip Schlesinger and John Erik Fossum


About the Editors

John Erik Fossum is Professor of Political Science at ARENA, Centre for European Studies at the University of Oslo, and Professor at the University of Bergen, Norway.

Philip Schlesinger is Professor of Cultural Policy in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies and Academic Director of the Centre for Cultural Policy Research at the University of Glasgow, UK.

About the Series

Routledge Studies on Democratising Europe

Routledge Studies on Democratising Europe focuses on the prospects for a citizens’ Europe by analysing the kind of order that is emerging in Europe. The books in the series take stock of the EU as an entity that has progressed beyond intergovernmentalism and consider how to account for this process and what makes it democratic. The emphasis is on citizenship, constitution-making, public sphere, enlargement, common foreign and security policy, and Europe society.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / General