The European public sphere and the debate about humanitarian military interventions

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Series Details Vol.23, No.4, December 2014, p409-429
Publication Date December 2014
ISSN 0966-2839
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Studies on the democratic control and legitimacy of Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) have thus far mostly focused on formal institutions. However, a comprehensive analysis requires including the ‘sociocultural infrastructure’ in which such formal institutions are embedded. Students of democracy have argued that the public sphere is a crucial dimension, if not a precondition for all mechanisms of democratic control in general. This paper investigates whether and in which ways Europeans participated in transnational European communication on humanitarian military interventions (1990–2005/2006). The paper analyzes a full sample of 108,677 newspaper articles published in leading newspapers of six EU member states, and the US as a comparative case. It demonstrates that the ‘national’ arenas of political communication are intertwined and allow ordinary citizens to make up their minds about common European issues in the highly controversial and normatively sensitive realm of humanitarian military interventions.

This article is part of the forum 'The EU's Common Security and Defence Policy and the Challenge of Democratic Legitimacy beyond the Nation-State'.

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