The Europeanization of Public Debate between Normalization and Polarization

Open Panel

This panel addresses the process of Europeanization of public debate. During the last decade, the 2008 financial and economic crisis, the migration issues and the growing success of Eurosceptic parties have enhanced the visibility of the EU within and across members states. Literature showed that the Europeanization of public debates may follow both vertical and horizontal paths. The Vertical Europeanization is meant as the communicative linkages between the national and the European level, while the Horizontal Europeanization is intended as the communicative linkages between different member states. More precisely, the processes of Europeanization could take place as: (a) the Europeanization of national public spheres, (b) the domestication of Europe, (c) the overlapping between national public spheres, and (d) the increasing interrelation between national public spheres.
However, this process of Europeanization should not be understood as a linear, inevitable path. In fact, the growing relevance of the EU within public debates may result into two different patterns: (a) normalization and (b) polarization. European Union, indeed, could be normalized, namely this happens when embedded within the domestic public debate as a full-flagged systemic component. At the same time, the EU may become a trigger of polarization, whereas interdependent contesting publics coexist and contribute to igniting conflict around EU or EU related issues within public debate. Therefore, normalization and polarization have to be intended as intertwined and concurrent patterns, alternating within public debates.

This panel aims to clarify whether and to what extent is possible to identify processes of Europeanization of the public debates of EU member states. Which are the main outcomes emerging? How are they interrelated? Under which circumstances do domestic public debates tend to normalize or polarize the EU within the paths of Europeanization? How do media and social media contribute to the process of Europeanization? How and to what extent it impacts on public opinion and citizens’ attitudes towards the EU?

With this purpose, this panel invites papers that - based on a sound theoretical framework and supported by empirical analyses – address the dynamics of Europeanization in EU member states comparatively or in a single case study.