Community by Controversy

Short Title


Full Title

Community by Controversy: Analysing European Public Sphere via Debating Contraversial Issues

Brief Description

The project examines the creative power of debates in constructing European public sphere. Empirical analyses on European disputes on controversial issues are planned to test the research design and to compare the results provided by the previous study on the Hungarian media laws.

Research Period

January 1, 2011 – December 31, 2013

Research Type


Research Monitoring Body

Centre for Social Science, Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Project Supervisor

Balázs Kiss


Gabriella Szabó


Gabriella Szabó (


Centre for Social Science, Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Research Summary

The aim of the research is to trace how issues outside of the institutional, legal and policy frames of the EU become ’European’ while topics considered genuinely ’Europeans’ (such as EP elections, institional reforms, highly Europeanised policies) remains rather unreflected by the publics. The point of departure is that the political actors play crucial role in constructing European public sphere around certain issues as communicating them ’European’ (or vica versa: denying the European relevance). In this context, the debates have a creative capacity to bring European public sphere into existance, since the disagreement provokes public engagements which build communication communities from those who share common viewpoints and use similar arguments. Therefore, the study considers the debate of the Greek state finance crisis as an example of the case when its Europeanness was constucted by the key players and the consequences have been affected the European integration (moving towards to the Fiscal Union). The aim is to re-test the research design elaborated by the previous study on the Hungarian media laws, compare the results and reflect the theoretical challanges of the European public sphere literature. This project has been working in close cooperation with the project titled ’Politics in European spaces’ (led by Szűcs Zoltán Gábor, Centre for Social Science, Hungarian Academy of Sciences).