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Which European Public Sphere? Normative Standards and Empirical Insights From Multilingual Switzerland

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Published in Javnost - The Public. 2012, vol. 19, no. 3, p. 59-74
Abstract Since the beginning of the 1990s, the EU has increasingly been criticized for its democratic deficit, which is intrinsically linked to the absence of a public sphere at the European level. Whereas scholars consider the emergence of such a public sphere a necessary requirement for democratizing the EU, they disagree on the conceptualization and normative requirements for a meaningful public sphere at the European level. This article takes an empirical perspective and draws on the nation-state context of multilingual Switzerland to get insights into what a European public sphere might realistically look like. Based on a content analysis of the leading quality papers from German- and French-speaking Switzerland using political claims analysis, this article shows that three of the most often cited criteria for a European public sphere—horizontal openness and interconnectedness, shared meaning structures, and inclusiveness—are hardly met in the Swiss context. On this basis, the article concludes that the normative barrier for finding a European public sphere might be unrealistically high and should be reconsidered.
Keywords European Public SphereSwitzerlandMediaContent analysis
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TRESCH, Anke Daniela. Which European Public Sphere? Normative Standards and Empirical Insights From Multilingual Switzerland. In: Javnost - The Public, 2012, vol. 19, n° 3, p. 59-74. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:23467

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Deposited on : 2012-10-18

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