Summary

The overall objective of EUROSPHERE is to identify the factors which facilitate or hinder the articulation of an inclusive European Public Sphere. Rather than creating public sphere models that suit certain normative ideals, we wish in EUROSPHERE to provide innovative perspectives on the public sphere that are suited to handle the diversity of European societies. Toward this overall scientific objective, we adapt what we call the “diversity perspective”. This perspective entails the notion of legitimacy of individuals. Considering that notion of state legitimacy produces a corresponding notion of legitimacy of individuals, EUROPHERE inquires into which forms of public sphere include/exclude which groups, to what degree, and on which matters. With this perspective, EUROSPHERE endeavours to identify elements of openness in various kinds of public spaces towards the idea of a European Public Sphere. EUROSPHERE inquires into how political interaction and aggregation of interests on European issues can happen at multiple levels across various types of communicative public spaces. While doing this, EUROSPHERE treats think tanks, political parties, social movements, citizens’ initiatives, and electronic/print media as both political/social actors and as components of communicative public spaces. It assesses their contribution to the articulation of a European Public Sphere. EUROSPHERE’s scientific objectives are to:

  • Provide an innovative scientific perspective for comprehensively addressing the prospects for a common European public sphere
  • Develop novel research tools for this purpose
  • Identify the features of sub‐European public spaces and various social/political actors which facilitate/obstruct the articulation of a European public sphere
  • Assess the alignments and misalignments between citizens’ features, public spaces, and the European Public Sphere
  • Define areas of contestation and conflict in attempts to develop a diverse European public sphere
  • Assess the feasibility of certain supranational strategies for articulating a European Public Sphere
  • Create a EUROSPHERE Knowledge Base

Thematically, EUROSPHERE focuses the two following important policy dimensions regarding public sphere:

  1. The internal integration and cohesion of society (i.e., European Constitution and European citizenship&identity)
  2. The boundaries of public sphere and of the demos that it accommodates (i.e. European enlargement, mobility, migration, and asylum policy).
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