Edited by Hakan G. Sicakkan
Chapter 10: The role of EU policies in the making of the European public sphere
The chapters in this volume find that Europe is inhabited by a complex diversity of publics. These publics, for example minority publics, subnational or national publics, transnational publics, European publics and new publics that are more challenging to categorize, create their own distinct discursive and interactive spaces. Some collective actors interact increasingly beyond their own and other boundaries. Some of the trans-boundary communications and interactions are explained by a common past, shared cultural heritage, collective identities, geographical proximity, practical suitability, exit and voice possibilities, political opportunity structures, and elitism. In this chapter, based on the other chapters in the volume as well as additional analysis, the social and political dynamics triggering the emergence of a European public sphere are sought in the tensions between, on one hand, the architects and gatekeepers and, on the other, the transcenders and trespassers of borders and boundaries within the existing and newly emerging European publics. The European public sphere is thus conceptualized as a sphere that consists of several different types of public spaces and publics contesting each other at different levels, where the trans-European public sphere, or Eurosphere, is only one of the constituent public spaces that co-exist. The chapter evaluates the extent to which the European Union’s public sphere policies were successful in creating links between citizens and the European Union’s political institutions, on one hand, and constitutive and integrative political cleavages on the European scale, on the other hand.
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