The Europeanization of public discourse in Italy: a top-down process?

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Series Details Vol.7, No.1, March 2006, p77-112
Publication Date March 2006
ISSN 1465-1165
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European integration has raised hopes and concerns about its effect on the distribution of power among different actors, and in particular on the role of the civil society. Focusing on the Europeanization of public discourse in Italy as a case study, this article addresses the specific problem of the formation of supranational public spheres. On the basis of content analyses of daily press and interviews, we argue that various forms of Europeanization of the public discourse are indeed on the rise, with a growing presence not only of purely European actors but also of European targets and frames. Europeanization appears to have been traditionally a ‘top-down’ process: in fact the more Europeanized is a policy, actor, target or issue scope, the less civil society actors seem to have access to the public sphere. However, some changes across time emerge, with the development of (conflictual) forms of ‘Europeanization from below’.

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