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The European Public Sphere

From Critical Thinking to Responsible Action

Series:

Luciano Morganti and Léonce Bekemans

The development of a fully fledged European Public Sphere is seen by many as the solution to the legitimation crisis the European Union is suffering today. It is conceived as a space in which a Europe-wide debate about the current economic, social and political crises can take place and through which solutions can be developed.
This book proposes a new multi-disciplinary approach to discuss the European Public Sphere, arguing that it should be approached as a complex and interlinking concept, considering issues such as identity, citizenship building and multi-level governance structures and actors, and that it should not be analysed merely from the traditional perspectives of information and communication policies.
The volume presents both academic papers and more policy-oriented contributions, offering perspectives from scholars, politicians, consultants and administrators to give the reader a truly multidisciplinary understanding of the European Public Sphere.

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PART 2: THE EUROPEAN PUBLIC SPHERE AND EUROPEAN IDENTITY-BUILDING AND CITIZENSHIP-BUILDING

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PART 2 THE EUROPEAN PUBLIC SPHERE AND EUROPEAN IDENTITY-BUILDING AND CITIZENSHIP-BUILDING 43 The European Public Sphere An Overview on Perspectives of Identity and Citizenship Building Carmina CRUSAFON Senior Lecturer, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona Introduction The European Public Sphere (EPS) is a timely research topic among scholars. It plays a relevant role in the European integration project and it is directly rooted in the foundations of democracy. The concept and its definition should be analysed from different perspectives. This is why this chapter is an introduction to the contributions from the perspective of identity building and citizenship building. Its main objective is to offer an overview on how identity and citizenship are central elements in the construction of EPS. This overview takes into consideration the different steps needed in order to get a complete image of what the European Public Sphere really is. The first one starts with the definition of the public sphere. Several explanations can be found in thousands of academic contributions. Among them, one is selected for being very descriptive: “It is a common space for free communication that is secured by legal rights to freedom of expression and assembly, where problems are discovered, but also thematised and dramatised and formed into opinions and wills that formal decision-making agencies are to act upon” (Eriksen and Fossum, 2002: 403). In this public sphere, citizens are active players together with gov- ernmental and social institutions. Their interactions contribute to build up the notion of the public sphere. Furthermore, issues...

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