Digital Publics in Transnational Spaces: EU Blogs and the European Public Sphere

Dr. Georgios Papanagnou
Visiting Research at UNU-CRIS
Abstract of the UNU-CRIS Working Paper W2013/6

The paper presents the results of the empirical research conducted on the emerging EU-blogosphere and relates them to the Habermasian notion of the public sphere. Conceptually, it traces the development of the public sphere as a normative category and borrowing from Fraser (2007) establishes a series of criteria that seem to guarantee its effective operation as a democratic bridge between publics and authorities in a transnational context. In the process, it refers to the various empirical works in this area which aim to trace the public sphere in Europe (off/online). The empirical part analyzes the findings of the qualitative research conducted with EU-bloggers (expert interviews and content analysis). The results show that the EU-blogosphere to some extent exhibits characteristics of an effective (if inconsistent) transnational public sphere (extension of democratic debate, promoting an EU-common identity, achieving at times influence). Nonetheless, its deliberative quality is low and overall it remains too small and expert driven. Finally, in order to interpret the findings the paper makes use of Mouffe’s (2005) critical examination of the concept of the public sphere.

Consult this Working Paper here.

One thought on “Digital Publics in Transnational Spaces: EU Blogs and the European Public Sphere

  1. Luis Bouza García (@luisbouzagarcia)

    Thanks for this contribution, I will read the paper with interest. It looks like the blogosphere is yet another manifestation of the problems of the notion of a European public sphere: it exists, but remains highly segmented and the links between specialized and general publics are weak. We don’t yet know how it can change. I personally expect a lot from ongoing social movements and the politicization of the governance of the euro-area.


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