Reconstituting Democracy from below: New Approaches to Civil Society and the Public Sphere

WP 5 – Civil Society and the Public Sphere  

WP 5 events

Bremen, 17-19 May 2007


Organised by the Jean Monnet Centre for European Studies (CEuS), University of Bremen, in cooperation with ARENA – Centre for European Studies, University of Oslo.

Venue: Hanse Wissenschaftskolleg Delmenhorst



The goal of WP 5 РCivil Society and the Public Sphere is to identify the mechanisms that translate formal democratic principles and procedures into citizens’practices. Accordingly, we analyse the changing roles of civil society in relation to the public sphere as the social and communicative infrastructure of an unfolding European polity. Depending on postnational constitutionalisation in the enlarged Europe and the political opportunity structures for social inclusion and political participation this process offers, different scenarios for reconstituting democracy can be expected to evolve. Read more on the research objectives of WP 5 and on the overall research objectives of RECON.


The workshop

This first workshop in WP 5 brought together some 50 researchers from across Europe, including Russia, and from the US. The workshop had three major objectives. First, to take stock of current and previous international research projects on both civil society and the public sphere, namely Europub, Civgov, Cinefogo, Connex, Emediate, EIF Vienna, ConstEPS, and others. Second, the establishment of closer cooperation and exchange within WP 5, and the preparation of the Bremen Summer School in Advanced Methods and Techniques in Media Analysis (22 July – 18 August 2007). Third, an exchange on future cooperation between the subprojects in RECON’s WP 5 and WP 8 – Identity Formation and Enlargement.

The workshop started with a keynote by Prof. Sidney Tarrow (Cornell University) on the possibility of a European civil society in a neo-Polanyian theoretical perspective. It was followed by paper presentations in four panels.


Workshop outline and programme (pdf) 


Pictures from the workshop

Hans-Jörg Trenz (co-coordinator WP 5) and participants

Ulrike Liebert (co-coordinator WP 5) and participants 

Maria Heller (ELTE) 

Alexander Gattig (Bremen)

Petra Rakusanova (Prague) 

Workshop participants 



Jean Monnet Centre for European Studies (CEuS)

Hanse Wissenschaftskolleg