The public sphere and debates about Europe in Britain: internalized and conflict driven?

Statham, Paul and Gray, Emily (2005) The public sphere and debates about Europe in Britain: internalized and conflict driven? Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research, 18 (1). pp. 61-81. ISSN 1351-1610

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Abstract

This article undertakes an analysis of British public debates on European integration by recourse to an original data set on political claims-making. The public sphere is conceptualized as a space where citizens interact through their acts of public communication. Such public communications are an important source of the Europe-building process, because they potentially provide public inputs to the elite-led processes of European political institutional integration. Our empirical findings show that British public debates are internalized within the nation-state rather than creating links to supra- or transnational European polities. In addition, we find relatively low levels of civil society engagement compared to that of political elites, and a high level of political competition between the two major political parties, Labour and Conservative. Overall, we argue that elite ambivalence to Britain’s position within the European Union has created this climate of uncertainty and political competition over Europe.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
J Political Science
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN0030 European Union. European Community. European communities
Depositing User: Paul Statham
Date Deposited: 03 May 2013 12:34
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2017 14:31
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/44633

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