Civil Society and the Public Sphere

Work package 5


WP coordinators

Ulrike Liebert, CEuS, University of Bremen


Hans-Jörg Trenz, ARENA, University of Oslo

WP 5 analyses how civil society and the public sphere shape the democratic reconstitution of Europe. Adopting a cross-national and cross-sectoral comparative perspective, it explores the conditions and dynamics of democratisation from below: the scope of media communication and public debates and the formation and mobilisation of citizens’ support and resistance to European governance. The guiding question is whether democratic practice is conducive to a particular kind of polity. Alternative scenarios for democratisation are derived from RECON’s three theoretical models:

  • Are civil society and the public sphere constrained to the preservation or reconstitution of national democracies?
  • Do they take part in the construction of a federal polity through the emergence of representative structures and multi-level public spheres?
  • Do they promote a novel, post-national and deliberative democracy embedded in global civil society and world discourses of justification?

More details on the research objectives of WP 5.


Publications and findings from WP 5

Research from the project is published in academic journals and books, as well as in RECON’s publication series (reports and online working papers). A complete list of publications and presentations from WP 5 is available for each year of the project.

This research group organises a number of workshops and conferences, as well as panels at international conferences. Complete list of WP 5 events.


The work package cooperates with the following established networks and organisations.


RECON participants WP 5

ARENA, University of Oslo
Hans-Jörg Trenz (coordinator), Asimina Michailidou, Pieter de Wilde

Eötvös Lórand University Budapest
Maria Heller,
Akos Huszár, Borbala Kriza, Erika Kurucz, Agnes Rényi, Nora Schleicher 

Institute of Sociology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
Zdenka Mansfeldová, Petra Rakusanová

Jagiellonian University Krakow
Olga Brzezinska, Magdalena Góra,
Jacek Kolodziej, Zdzislaw Mach, Natasza Styczynska

Université Libre de Bruxelles
Amandine Crespy, François Forêt,
Justine Lacroix, Janie Pélabay

Jean Monnet Centre for European Studies (CEuS), University of Bremen
Ulrike Liebert (coordinator), Alexander Gattig, Sandra Kröger, Aleksandra Wyrozumska Maatsch,
Sönke Maatsch, Katrin Packham, Ewelina Pawlak, Radostina Primova, Joanna Serdynska