Public Spheres in Europe

DFG Project "The Transnationalization of Public Spheres in Europe: Citizens' (re)actions"

Project lead: Prof. Dr. AndreasHepp (ZeMKI Lab "Mediatization and Globalization")

Project team members: Dr. Swantje Lingenberg, Dipl.-Pol. Johanna Möller, Dr. Anke Offerhaus, Anne Mollen, Monika Elsler

Research association/cooperation:  Collaborative Research Center 597 'Transformations of the State' at the University of Bremen

Project duration: 2011 - 2014

The comparative content analysis of the newspaper coverage in six European countries (A, D, DK, F, GB, PL) reveals a process of transnationalization of public spheres. However, this process of transnationalization remains segmented according to nations as well as to transnational newspaper types. In the second phase of the communication studies project the multi-segmented European public sphere has been explained by drawing on the inertia of different political discourse cultures. In the third phase of the project (2011-2014) the citizens’ reactions to the multi-segmented European public sphere are being explored. The empirical research in our six EU-countries is based on qualitative in-depth interviews, media diaries, citizens’ contributions to newspapers and online forums as well as secondary analyses of standardized data on media use. Thereby the citizens’ (perhaps deficient) public connection to the European public sphere, their participation in the European public sphere as well as their political identifications and understandings of political legitimization shall be analyzed. Such research on citizens’ media use and media appropriation allows for a concluding, qualitatively differentiated evaluation of the transnationalization of public spheres in Europe.
Additionally, we will continue the newspaper content analysis in the third phase of the project and broaden it to an event-related analysis. Thereby, we shall examine if and how far the world financial and economic crisis of 2008/9 marked a sustainable caesura with regard to the transnationalization of public spheres in Europe – for example due to calling in question or rather supporting the expanding competences of the EU as a supranational institution. Combining the event analyses with the follow-up longitudinal content analysis will enable us to evaluate the long-term stability of the multi-segmented transnationalization of public spheres in Europe.

Important Publications

Hepp, Andreas/Brüggemann, Michael/Kleinen-von Königslöw, Katharina/Lingenberg, Swantje/Möller, Johanna (2012): Politische Diskurskulturen in Europa. Die Mehrfachsegmentierung europäischer Öffentlichkeit. Wiesbaden: VS.

Hepp, Andreas/Elsler, Monika/Lingenberg, Swantje/Mollen, Anne/Möller, Johanna/Offerhaus, Anke (2015): The communicative construction of Europe: Cultures of political discourse, public sphere, and the euro crisis. Palgrave Macmillan, in print.

Hepp, Andreas/Kleinen-von Königslöw, Katharina/Lingenberg, Swantje/Möller, Johanna/Brüggemann, Michael/Offerhaus, Anke (2015): Cultures of political discourse in Europe: Explaining multiple segmentation in the European public sphere. In: Rothgang, Heinz/Schneider, Steffen (eds.): State transformations in OECD countries. Dimensions, driving forces, and trajectories. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 145-166

Hepp, Andreas/Lingenberg, Swantje/Elsler, Monika/Möller, Johanna/Mollen, Anne/Offerhaus, Anke (2015): “I just hope the whole thing won’t collapse”: “Understanding” and “overcoming” the EU financial crisis from the citizens’ perspective. In: Gripsrud, Jostein/Murdock, Graham (eds.): Money Talks: Media, Markets, Crisis. Bristol: Intellect.

Hepp, Andreas/Lingenberg, Swantje/Elsler, Monika/Möller, Johanna/Mollen, Anne/Offerhaus, Anke (2013): „I just hope the whole thing won’t collapse“: „Understanding“ and „overcoming“ the EU financial crisis from the citizens’ perspective. TranState Working Paper 168, Bremen,

Hepp, Andreas/Wessler, Hartmut (2009): Politische Diskurskulturen: Überlegungen zur empirischen Erklärung segmentierter europäischer Öffentlichkeit. In: Medien & Kommunikationswissenschaft 57(2), 174–197.

Lingenberg, Swantje/Möller, Johanna/Hepp, Andreas (2010): „Doing Nation“: Journalistische Praktiken der Nationalisierung Europas. TranState Working Paper 140, Bremen,

Möller, Johanna (2013): The Missing Crisis – European citizens, the media and communication about the crisis. In: London School of Economics and Political Science (Hrsg.): Euro Crisis in the Press. The politics of public discourse in Europe. 

Offerhaus, Anke/Mollen, Anne/Hepp, Andreas (2014): Nationalizing Europe Regionally – The Europeanization of Public Spheres in Regional Newspaper Reporting and the “Crisis” in Europe. In: Stepinska, Agnieszka (Hrsg.): Media and Communication in Europe. Berlin: Logos, 13–32.

Wessler, Hartmut/Peters, Bernhard/Brüggemann, Michael/Kleinen-von Königslöw, Katharina/Sifft, Stefanie (2008): The Transnationalization of Public Spheres, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.