IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Public Spheres within Movements: Challenging the (Re)search for a European Public Sphere

Listed author(s):
  • Christoph Haug
Registered author(s):

    The emergence of a transnational public sphere in Europe is expected to facilitate democratic control and public debate about European issues as well as enable the formation of a European collective identity. Taking this claim seriously, though, reveals that empirical research has so far taken a rather restricted view on the European public sphere by assuming that the mass media constitute the core framework in the transnationalisation of the public sphere. This paper argues that such an approach reinforces the dominant ‘top-down’ perspective of EU institutions and should thus be complemented by including ‘lower’ levels of the public sphere in the analysis. Transnational social movements, for example, have often contributed to the diffusion of vital information across borders, thus creating public spheres ‘from below’. However, because of their capacity to mobilise public opinion across borders, social movements have mainly been seen as actors who are engaged in contentious debates within the given frameworks of communication, even though numerous public arenas are created also within social movements themselves. The paper suggest to link both fields of research by looking at the public spheres created within social movements, such as the European Social Forum. To facilitate such an approach the arena model of the public sphere is presented as a conceptual framework providing some clarity about the public sphere as a structured space of communication which comprises interlinked public arenas as well as private networks. As a result, Based on this distinction between two modes of communication, ‘publicness’ and ‘density’ can be distinguished as two parameters of a public sphere.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by RECON in its series RECON Online Working Papers Series with number 2.

    in new window

    Date of creation: 15 Jan 2008
    Handle: RePEc:erp:reconx:p0021
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:erp:reconx:p0021. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marit Eldholm)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.