Risse, Thomas (2003) "An emerging European public sphere? Theoretical clarifications and empirical indicators". In: UNSPECIFIED, Nashville, TN. (Unpublished)
This paper tries to make sense of the empirical and theoretical literature by asking two questions: What do we know empirically about a Europe public sphere? How can we make sense of the empirical findings in light of the theoretical debate on a European public sphere? I concentrate on media reporting on European issues as an-albeit problematic-proxy for the (non-)existence of a European public sphere. The short answer to the first question is somewhat paradoxical: the available evidence suggests that the overall salience of European themes is still low, but that similar meaning structures and frames of reference prevail in media reporting about Europe. The short answer to the second question is that a European public sphere emerges out of the interconnectedness of and mutual exchanges between various national public spheres. An ideal typically European sphere would then emerge if and when the same (European) themes are discussed at the same time at similar levels of attention across national public spheres, and media; if and when similar frames of reference, meaning structures, and patterns of interpretation are used across national public spheres and media; if and when a transnational community of communication emerges in which speakers and listeners recognize each other as legitimate participants in a common discourse.
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