The Referenda on the European Constitution: A Crucial Moment for the Development of a European Public Sphere?



The main part of the project consists of a theory driven text analysis of print media in seven Member States: Austria (no referendum), France, Great Britain, Ireland (constitutionally obliged to a referendum), Portugal , Poland, and Sweden .
The analysis will encompass print media coverage of the process of constitutionalisation in the period from the IGC 2004 to September 2005 in (online available) quality and yellow press (one quality paper and one yellow press paper in each country of the sample). Fur-thermore, small independent media shall be included in the analysis where available.

The categories of the analysis as well as its evaluation are based on the concept of an ago-nistic political public sphere as developed by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe.

Methodologically, the project is based on different kinds of text analysis including a theory driven qualitative content analysis and methods based on metaphor analysis. A set of quanti-tative and qualitative categories has been developed out of theoretical assumptions. Sub-categories and possibly also further main categories will be developed during the content analysis. The methodology is thus partly inductive and partly deductive.

The main question shall be addressed by analysing media coverage of the adoption process and, especially, of the referenda on the European Constitution. Which public debates are triggered by the process of adoption? Do they refer to European or national matters, to the constitution or to the EU in a wider sense? Do they con-tribute to a deeper understanding of the EU, to loyalty of the citizens with the EU and with each other, to Euro-scepticism, to re-nationalisation? Which perspectives, voices, and sub-jects are included in the debates? Do gender, class, and race play a role within this dis-course? Which expectations for the future of a European democracy in general and a European public sphere in particular can be developed out of this analysis?
The empirical analysis is based on the theory of radical agonistic democracy (Laclau/ Mouffe 2000); the project thus also aims at bridging the gap between normative-theoretical consid-erations on the European public sphere and empirical work on this theme.

The project focuses on the debates around the adoption of the European Constitution. How do these debates contribute to the emergence of a European public sphere and thereby to the development of a European democracy?
Tatsächlicher Beginn/ -es Ende1/03/053/02/06

Systematik der Wissenschaftszweige 2002

  • 5115 Europäische Integration