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Between Communication and Community. EU Constitution Making, a European Public Sphere and the (Un-)Likelihood of Transnational Debate.

Conrad, Maximilian LU (2009) In Lund Political Studies 158.
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Behövs en gemensam offentlig sfär i Europa för att EU:s beslutsprocess ska kunna anses vara demokratiskt legitim – och hur skulle en sådan europeisk offentlig sfär kunna se ut? Mot bakgrunden av debatten om EU:s demokratiska underskott undersöker denna studie vilken roll dagstidningar spelar i skapandet av transnationella debattarenor. Specifikt undersöker studien om en starkt utpräglad samhörighetskänsla bland européerna är en förutsättining för en transnationell debatt, eller om en sådan debatt snarare förutsätter en viss syn hos centrala aktörer (i vårt fall dagstidningar) angående var demokrati i Europa ska vara förankrad: leder en mer postnationell syn på demokrati till en mer aktiv roll i... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Behövs en gemensam offentlig sfär i Europa för att EU:s beslutsprocess ska kunna anses vara demokratiskt legitim – och hur skulle en sådan europeisk offentlig sfär kunna se ut? Mot bakgrunden av debatten om EU:s demokratiska underskott undersöker denna studie vilken roll dagstidningar spelar i skapandet av transnationella debattarenor. Specifikt undersöker studien om en starkt utpräglad samhörighetskänsla bland européerna är en förutsättining för en transnationell debatt, eller om en sådan debatt snarare förutsätter en viss syn hos centrala aktörer (i vårt fall dagstidningar) angående var demokrati i Europa ska vara förankrad: leder en mer postnationell syn på demokrati till en mer aktiv roll i skapandet av transnationella debattarenor?

Frågan om den offentliga sfärens identitära förutsättningar har hittills inte besvarats tillräckligt. Försöket att fånga dessa i en slags inklusiv ”lättidentitet” skiljer inte tillräckligt tydligt mellan en prepolitisk kollektiv identitet och själva erkännandet av berörda parter i en demokratisk debatt. Även i detta perspektiv måste någon samhörighetskänsla komma före den demokratiska debatten. Å andra sidan tyder John Deweys pragmatism på att identitetsbegreppet kan undvikas: det är inte någon form av samhörighetskänsla som är förutsättning för politisk kommunikation, utan snarare människors känsla av att vara kollektivt berörda av existerande politiska problem.

I och med att berördhet är socialt konstruerad blir dagstidningar ett relevant studieobjekt: dagstidningar har olika syn på hur den Europeiska Union bör se, var demokrati ska vara förankrad och hur politiska problem ska lösas på europeisk nivå. Som följd av detta ramger de debatter om EU-frågor på olika sätt. Konservativa tidningar har en tendens att lyfta fram EU-politikens konsekvenser för nationalstaten och dess självständighet, medan liberala och socialistiska tidningar tenderar att lyfta fram demokratiska och medborgarliga aspekter. Den empiriska analysen visar ett tydligt samband mellan tidningars syn på EU och deras sätt att ramge debatten om EU:s konstitutionalisering. Samtidigt visar analysen att transnationell debatt förekommer såväl i de konservativa som i de utvalda liberala och socialistiska tidningarna i Sverige och Tyskland. Däremot har de konservativa tidningar en stark tendens att kritisera förespråkarna av konstitutionaliseringsprocessen, medan de liberala och socialistiska tidningarna snarare väljer att kritisera de aktörer som tycks ha orsakat processens misslyckande. Om det faktiskt går att påstå att det inte finns någon europeisk kollektiv identitet, så tyder studien på att transnationell debatt och en transnationell offentlig sfär trots allt är möjlig: även konservativa dagstidningar med ett starkt mellanstatligt syn på integrationsprocessen spelar en aktiv roll i skapandet av transnationella debattarenor. (Less)
Abstract
What kind of public sphere is possible in the European Union? Against the backdrop of debates on the transformation of democracy beyond the nation-state, this study explores daily newspapers’ role in providing forums for transnational debate in the presumed absence of an overarching European collective identity. It uses empirical means to reconsider the question of the supposed co-constitutiveness of the public sphere and political community. In Habermasian discourse theory, the deliberative public sphere is thought to bridge gaps in social integration, while communitarians claim that normative debate can only draw on pre-existing communal values. But if the public sphere has a social integrative function, how can we then conceptualize the... (More)
What kind of public sphere is possible in the European Union? Against the backdrop of debates on the transformation of democracy beyond the nation-state, this study explores daily newspapers’ role in providing forums for transnational debate in the presumed absence of an overarching European collective identity. It uses empirical means to reconsider the question of the supposed co-constitutiveness of the public sphere and political community. In Habermasian discourse theory, the deliberative public sphere is thought to bridge gaps in social integration, while communitarians claim that normative debate can only draw on pre-existing communal values. But if the public sphere has a social integrative function, how can we then conceptualize the minimum level of social integration that allows individuals to initiate a deliberative search for solutions – in our case in the European Union?

This study contends that efforts to conceptualize this minimum level of social integration as an “identity light” fail to distinguish clearly between the identity of the community (even in a thin form) and recognition of affected parties on a given issue. Drawing on social constructivism, constitutional patriotism and Deweyan pragmatism, the study argues that affectedness ultimately determines recognition of legitimate participants in any political debate. Yet affectedness is constructed in framing processes. On this basis, the study explores whether transnational debate hinges on daily newspapers' perspectives and preferences on European integration and EU democracy. Daily newspapers are here presented not only as important framers of public debate, but also as bearers of normative views regarding the level at which democratic opinion formation on European issues should take place. Do newspapers with a pronounced preference for more democracy beyond the nation-state play a more active role in providing forums for transnational debate?

The empirical analysis of debates on EU constitution making indicates that newspaper framing and transnational engagement follow cross-national patterns linked to newspaper orientations. This empirical finding suggests that despite the presumed absence of a thick sense of European community, lively transnational debate is possible even in newspapers favoring intergovernmental integration. On the other hand, the empirical also indicates that the inclusion of non-domestic speakers as authors presents a challenge for a European public sphere understood as a shared communicative space. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • Professor Manners, Ian, Roskilde University
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
postnational democracy, framing, European public sphere, daily newspapers, constitutional patriotism, transnational debate, deliberation, Habermas, transnational engagement, permeability
in
Lund Political Studies
volume
158
pages
325 pages
defense location
Edens hörsal, Statsvetenskapliga institutionen
defense date
2009-12-12 10:15
ISSN
0460-0037
ISBN
978-91-88306-77-7
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
42bb77fc-d232-46aa-b4be-270c13fe7a85 (old id 1503099)
alternative location
http://www.svet.lu.se/Fulltext/Maximilian_conrad.pdf
date added to LUP
2009-11-23 09:17:52
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:00
@misc{42bb77fc-d232-46aa-b4be-270c13fe7a85,
  abstract     = {What kind of public sphere is possible in the European Union? Against the backdrop of debates on the transformation of democracy beyond the nation-state, this study explores daily newspapers’ role in providing forums for transnational debate in the presumed absence of an overarching European collective identity. It uses empirical means to reconsider the question of the supposed co-constitutiveness of the public sphere and political community. In Habermasian discourse theory, the deliberative public sphere is thought to bridge gaps in social integration, while communitarians claim that normative debate can only draw on pre-existing communal values. But if the public sphere has a social integrative function, how can we then conceptualize the minimum level of social integration that allows individuals to initiate a deliberative search for solutions – in our case in the European Union?<br/><br>
This study contends that efforts to conceptualize this minimum level of social integration as an “identity light” fail to distinguish clearly between the identity of the community (even in a thin form) and recognition of affected parties on a given issue. Drawing on social constructivism, constitutional patriotism and Deweyan pragmatism, the study argues that affectedness ultimately determines recognition of legitimate participants in any political debate. Yet affectedness is constructed in framing processes. On this basis, the study explores whether transnational debate hinges on daily newspapers' perspectives and preferences on European integration and EU democracy. Daily newspapers are here presented not only as important framers of public debate, but also as bearers of normative views regarding the level at which democratic opinion formation on European issues should take place. Do newspapers with a pronounced preference for more democracy beyond the nation-state play a more active role in providing forums for transnational debate?<br/><br>
The empirical analysis of debates on EU constitution making indicates that newspaper framing and transnational engagement follow cross-national patterns linked to newspaper orientations. This empirical finding suggests that despite the presumed absence of a thick sense of European community, lively transnational debate is possible even in newspapers favoring intergovernmental integration. On the other hand, the empirical also indicates that the inclusion of non-domestic speakers as authors presents a challenge for a European public sphere understood as a shared communicative space.},
  author       = {Conrad, Maximilian},
  isbn         = {978-91-88306-77-7},
  issn         = {0460-0037},
  keyword      = {postnational democracy,framing,European public sphere,daily newspapers,constitutional patriotism,transnational debate,deliberation,Habermas,transnational engagement,permeability},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {325},
  series       = {Lund Political Studies},
  title        = {Between Communication and Community. EU Constitution Making, a European Public Sphere and the (Un-)Likelihood of Transnational Debate.},
  volume       = {158},
  year         = {2009},
}