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The Transformation of Political Mobilisation and Communication in European Public Spheres

This project analyses the role of intermediary public spheres, and mass media and collective mobilisation in particular, in the process of European integration. It focuses on public spheres both as channels for citizen participation and the expression of citizenship identities, and as arenas in which EU policies and institutions can be held accountable and where their legitimacy is at stake. The project is proposed against the background of the increasing Europeanisation of governance structures, on the one hand, and the lagging behind of the development of an active European form of citizenship, on the other – a problematic often denoted as the EU's 'democratic deficit'. 

To study the Europeanisation of public spheres, we compare degrees and forms of Europeanisation of political mobilisation and communication along three dimensions:

- in seven countries: Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and Switzerland;
- across six selected policy domains: monetary politics, agriculture, immigration, military troops deployment, pensions/retirement, and education. In addition to these topical areas, we study political debates and mobilisation that relate to the European integration process in general;
- over time during the period 1980-2002

 Our methodological approach combines the analysis of political claim-making and editorials in newspapers in our seven countries as well as on the European level with structured interviews with institutional representatives, civil society actors, and mass media professionals. In addition, the study pays special attention to the potential for transnational networks of political communication and mobilisation in the internet.

Funding: European Commission
Contract No.: HPSE-CT2000-00046
Starting date: 1 September 2001 (duration three years)

Project Coordinator: Dr. Ruud Koopmans, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin (WZB)

Scientific responsible at partner institutions: Dr. Paul Statham, University of Leeds
Prof. Dr. Hanspeter Kriesi, Université de Genève
Prof. Dr. Donatella Della Porta, Universita degli Studi di Firenze
Prof. Dr. Jos de Beus, Universiteit van Amsterdam
Dr. Virginie Guiraudon, CRAPS-Lille
Prof. Dr. Juan Diéz Medrano, ASEP-Barcelona
Prof. Dr. Barbara Pfetsch, Universität Hohenheim

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Last Update: 06-12-2004