Publications and findings

WP 5 – Civil Society and the Public Sphere


As a public sphere rooted in civil society is essential to democracy, it is important to investigate what kind of civil society and public sphere is emerging in Europe and how this contributes to the EU’s democratic character and legitimacy. To shed light on this, RECON has asked the following questions: How is European democracy practiced? Why is it contested? To what extent is there communication across different types of public spheres?


Publications and activities WP 5

A complete list of publications and presentations is available for each year of the project:

2007 / 2008 / 2009 / 2010 / 2011

You can also try an open search in RECON’s database, or search by partner institution and name.



Online Euroscepticism

One project within the framework of WP 5 focuses on Euroscepticism as advanced in public discourse, particularly on the Internet. Read more.






Selected findings from RECON’s research on civil society and the public sphere

  • Euroscepticism is forcefully amplified through media debates
  • Citizens’ disconnect from the EU is strengthened by EP election campaigns, which are dominated by national politics and interests
  • Mass media not only inform readers about EU issues but also enable readers to evaluate the EU in democratic terms
  • Civil society actors increasingly identify themselves as representatives of a ‘European civil society’, questioning decisions made at the European level
  • Mainstream political parties do not oppose the European integration process itself, as radical parties do, but rather discuss how to mend the EU’s democratic deficit
  • Intellectuals tell very different stories about what defines Europe and what it means to be European


Read more on these findings in the WP 5 leaflet Democratising the EU from below? (pdf), which presents snapshots of selected findings to practitioners and policy makers, media and informed readers, civil society actors and interest groups, as well as other ‘stakeholders’.


RECON pamphlet

Reconstituting Democracy in Europe – Snapshots of findings (pdf)

Selected findings in brief from all RECON’s research fields