The European Union and the Public Sphere
A Communicative Space in the Making?
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?
Part 1: Communicative Practices and a European Public Sphere 2. Conceptualizing European Public Spheres: General, Segmented and Strong Publics 3. The Public Sphere and European Democracy: Mechanisms of Democratization in the Transnational Situation 4. A Fragile Cosmopolitanism: On the Unresolved Ambiguities of the European Public Sphere Part 2: Assessing Europe’s General Public(s) 5. ‘Quo Vadis Europe?’ Quality Newspapers Struggling for European Unity 6. Political Communication, European Integration and the Transformation of National Public Spheres: A Comparison of Britain and France 7. The European Void: The Democratic Deficit as a Cultural Deficiency 8. Political Integration in Europe and the Need for a Common Political Language 9. EU Enlargement, Identity and the Public Sphere 10. Religion and the European Public Sphere 11. The Public Sphere in European Constitution-Making Part 3: Institutional Conditions and the European Context 12. European Commissioners and the Prospects of a European Public Sphere: Information, Representation and Legitimacy 13. Transparency, Audiences and the Evolving Role of the EU Council of Ministers 14. Transnationalising the Public Sphere? The European Parliament, Promises and Anticipations 15. Conclusion
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.