Who inhabits the European public sphere? Winners and losers, supporters and opponents in Europeanized public debates

R. Koopmans

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    Abstract

    European integration shifts the distribution of political opportunities to influence public debates, improving the relative influence of some collective actors, and weakening that of others. This article investigates which actors profit from and which actors stand to lose from the Europeanisation of political communication in mass-mediated public spheres. Furthermore, it asks to what extent these effects of Europeanisation can help one to understand collective actors' evaluation of European institutions and the integration process. Data is analysed on some 20,000 political claims by a variety of collective actors, drawn from 28 newspapers in seven European countries in the period 1990-2002, across seven different issue fields with varying degrees of EU policy-making power. The results show that government and executive actors are by far the most important beneficiaries of the Europeanisation of public debates compared to legislative and party actors, and even more so compared to civil society actors, who are extremely weakly represented in Europeanised public debates. The stronger is the type of Europeanisation that is considered, the stronger are these biases. For most actors, a close correspondence is found between how Europeanisation affects their influence in the public debate, on the one hand, and their public support for, or opposition to, European institutions and the integration process, on the other. © 2007 The Author(s); Journal compilation © 2007 (European Consortium for Political Research).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)183-210
    Number of pages28
    JournalEuropean Journal of Political Research
    Volume46
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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