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Questioning the European Public Sphere, Vol. 19 - 2012, No. 1

Political Parties and the Politics of Diversity in the European Public Sphere

, pages: 51-66

This article compares how diversity views affect political parties’ willingness to engage in trans-European deliberation to create trans-European publics. Relying on data collected within the Eurosphere, we investigate the extent to which European diversity frames the issue of integration in the public discourse of political parties in 16 European countries – 14 members of the EU plus Norway and Turkey as non-members. We identify the homogeneity vs. heterogeneity of political party discourses and the consensus or contestation among these discourses. As a result, we find that parties with more inclusive views of diversity are more likely to be active participants in European arenas irrespective of the parties’ government role or ideological background (though limited to mainstream parties). More importantly, the nature of the national public spheres and domestic political competition and cleavages determine whether national publics are willing and able to be more open to transnationalisation efforts.

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