Integration, Diversity and the Making of a European Public Sphere
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Integration, Diversity and the Making of a European Public Sphere

Edited by Hakan G. Sicakkan

Based on an extended agonistic pluralism perspective, this book offers a novel notion of a transnational public sphere that goes beyond the questions of whether a European public sphere exists or is possible and instead provides a solid understanding of its key features.
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Chapter 4: European state building, top-down elite alliances and the national media

Hakan G. Sicakkan


To what extent has the Eurosphere – the vertical, top-down communicative public space of pro-European elites and citizens in Europe – succeeded in constituting a European public sphere? This chapter discusses whether the different horizontal and vertical networks of organizations at different levels, their discursive patterns and the Europe-infused national media framings might be regarded as the beginnings of a base for the emergence of a common European public sphere. To answer this question, the author develops an analysis frame based on the neo-functionalist assumption that European integration is similar to a general state- and nation-building model. He posits that, for this to be true, the European Union’s ambition regarding integration should be embraced by the pan-European and national elites as well as national mass media and compares the citizenship and diversity discourses of national and pan-European elites with media framings and EU policies. He finds that the EU policies to create a European citizen identity are partly reflected in the national public spheres. The exclusionary implications of the European Union’s citizenship and diversity policies are not discernible in trans-European elite discourses, but highly reflected in national media framings and national elite discourses. Thus, national media seem to reflect the preferences of national elites and the premises behind the European Union policies better than they do the preferences of trans-European elites. This is because the trans-European elites are more exposed to the values of a truly transnational institution, the European Commission, whereas the European Union’s laws and policies are directly affected by the national elites through the Council of Ministers.

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