WP5 Social and Political Actors’ Roles in the Articulation of the European Public Sphere

Lead:
VD (Universite Libre), KWJ (Cardiff Univ.)
Task Group:
See below

The project will assess the social/political actors’ involvement in the European policy making and their openness to the idea of a European public sphere. These measurements will be done along the lines of the four selected policy issues, which were mentioned earlier. The features that will be assessed include:

  • What institutional and legal frames exist in social political actors to enable a direct communication and negotiation between these actors and the institutions of the European Union?
  • What sorts and degrees of openness/flexibility exist in social/political actors which can allow these actors to define themselves and act as parts of a European public sphere?
  • What additional norms and institutional/legal frames are needed to enable a direct communication between these actors and the European Union institutions?

There are five components here: (1) Elites (think tanks), (2) Political Parties, (3) Social Movements’/Citizens’ Initiatives, (4) Electronic and Print Media, (5) Integrating the gender perspective in the above components. The analyses will focus on the features of openness and containment in the communicative public spaces in and beyond which these social and political actors operate. The (potential) alignments and misalignments between these spaces and the European public sphere, regarding the four policy issues that EUROSPHERE studies, will as well be examined. These analysis activities will each result in a comprehensive report aiming for international book publication. Another comprehensive report assessing the relative and combined impacts of these actors will also be produced.

WP5.1 Data analysis about European Think Tanks

Lead:
VD (Université Libre)
Task Group:
WD (FMSH), GS (Trento University)

The main focus of EUROSPHERE here is the European think tanks. Along the lines of the four policy issues included in the project, the statements and views expressed by think tank leaders and publications, including also the organizational statements of objectives, will be mapped. Their orientation and openness towards essentialized, national, transnational, glocal, and eurospaces as well as towards the European public sphere will be depicted with a view to assessing how their discourses contribute to the articulation and the shaping of a European public sphere. The key question to be looked at here is the factors that make think tanks more or less responsive/open to citizens’ interests when they lobby with the European Union institutions. Most think tanks have legitimacy as technical experts, and this is not a democratic legitimacy. Despite this, their technical expertise seems to have a large influence on the European decisionmaking mechanisms. The analysis in this component will identify the factors enabling/
undermining the pluralization and democratization of think tanks as a channel of communication between citizens and the EU institutions. The data collection toolkit for think tanks will comprise a frame of guidelines to be used to select the relevant think tanks in each country, elite statements, elite actions, and elite views as well as typologizing and classifying the collected data along the theoretical lines of EUROSPHERE. Veronique Dimier will construct the qualitative and quantitative measures and comparative frames for analyzing think tanks’ orientations towards different types of public spaces, and she will also provide a draft analysis. Wanda Dressler, Giuseppe Sciortiono, and Veronique Dimier will finalize the comparative analysis of think tanks in collaboration.

WP5.2 Data analysis about political parties

Lead:
AB (Central European University)
Task Group:
MS (Helsinki University), ML (Tallinn University)

Along the lines of the four policy issues included in the project, we will map the statements and views expressed by selected political parties (a) in their official party programmes (b) in their statements during election campaigns, (c) in their voting patterns and preferences in both national and European parliaments. Also, a sample of the members of the selected political parties will be given qualitatively-oriented structured questionnaires. Their orientation and openness towards essentialized, national, transnational, glocal, and eurospaces as well as towards the European public sphere will be measured with a view to assessing how their discourses contribute to articulating and shaping a European public sphere. The data collection toolkit for political parties will comprise (1) a frame to be used to map the orientations of political parties and (2) a qualitative questionnaire to map the orientations of their members. Andras Bozoki will prepare the comparative analysis frame along the EUROSPHERE-guidelines and prepare a draft analysis. Matti Simila, Mikko Lagerspetz, and Andras Bozoki will finalize the comparative analysis in collaboration.

WP5.3 Data analysis about social movements and citizens’ initiatives

Lead:
(Sabanci University)
Task Group:
GD (Granada University), JL (Cardiff University)

In each country included in this project, at least three social movements and three citizens’ initiatives known to represent glocal, transnational, national, essentialized or European orientations will be selected as sites of fieldwork. The number of selected fieldwork sites depends on the particularities of the social movements that exist in a given country. We will map (a) their stated objectives, (b) their public statements, (c) their political action patterns and preferences along the lines of the four policy issues. Also, a sample of the leaders and members of these social movements/citizens’ initiatives will be given qualitatively-oriented structured questionnaires. Along the lines of the four policy issues included in the project, their orientation and openness towards eurospaces as well as towards the European public sphere will be mapped with a view to assessing how their discourses contribute to the articulation and the shaping of a European public sphere. Ayse Öncü will prepare the comparative analysis frame along the lines described in the EUROSPHERE-project and provide a draft analysis. Günther Dietz, Justin Lewis, and Ayse Öncü will finalize the comparative analysis in collaboration.

WP5.4 Data analysis about electronic and print media

Lead:
KWJ (Cardiff University)
Task Group:
VB (Amsterdam University), MM (Austrian Academy)

In each country included in this project, at least four media actors known to represent global, transnational, national, essentialized or European orientations will be selected. Two of these media actors will be TV/radio channels/news agencies and two will be newspapers. The number of selected media actors depends on the particularities of the media actors exist in a given country. Along the lines of the four policy issues included in the project, their orientation and openness towards eurospaces as well as towards the European public sphere will be depicted with a view to assessing how their discourses may contribute to the articulation and the shaping of a European public sphere. Also of specific concern in this project is an assessment of the pluralism and integrity of the information that the media actors spread. In this connection, the works of the EC’s DG Communication and DG Information Society and Media – relating to the European Public Sphere – will also be taken into consideration. Karin Wahl-Jørgensen will prepare the comparative analysis frame and provide a draft analysis. Veit Bader, Monika Mokre and Karin Wahl-Jørgensen will finalize the comparative analysis in collaboration.

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