Vol. 2 (2007) > lreg-2007-3

Living Rev. Euro. Gov. 2 (2007), 3

The EU as a public sphere

1 University of Amsterdam, Department of Communication Science, Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012 CX Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Article Abstract

This Living Review takes stock of our current theoretical and empirical knowledge with respect to a European public sphere. It first provides a discussion of the notion of a public sphere and the virtual incompatibility between the notion of a public sphere in the nation state and the current state of European integration. It is then argued why a notion of a (Europeanized national) public space for debate between citizens and with power-holders is important for the legitimacy and accountability of the EU. A three-fold typology is proposed that organizes previous research on the European public sphere: the Utopian, the Elitist and the Realist perspective. The diverging conclusions stemming from extant research are reviewed in the light of the methodological pluralism in the studies. It is demonstrated that most signs of Europeanization of national public spheres stem from studies focusing on the quality broadsheet press, whereas studies focusing on the popular press, television and new media provide little evidence (yet) of a Europeanization trend. The review looks ahead in both theoretical and methodological terms and also assesses the consequences of the (absence of) a European public sphere and current policy initiatives in this area.

Keywords: media, multilevel governance, legitimacy, Europeanization, European identity, public opinion, European public space

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Claes H. de Vreese,
"The EU as a public sphere",
Living Rev. Euro. Gov. 2,  (2007),  3. URL (cited on <date>):

Article History

ORIGINAL http://europeangovernance-livingreviews.org/Articles/lreg-2007-3
Title The EU as a public sphere
Author Claes H. de Vreese
Date accepted 16 November 2007, published 21 December 2007
Date accepted 29 June 2012, published 24 August 2012
Changes This Living Review is an updated version of the original from 2007. 24 references were added. All parts of the text were revised, with paragraphs added on the coverage of the 2009 European Parliament elections, the role of journalism and online sources in the EU public sphere.

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