The cognitive-cultural dimension
In this work package we ask: How are the 'Europe of knowledge' and the 'European public sphere' institutionalised?
The "Europe of knowledge" between culture and economy
The emerging European governance layer for research and higher education reflects aspirations of balancing the unity of Europe as a knowledge area with the diversity of nationally-embedded knowledge systems and key socializing institutions for citizens of Europe. Research and education are policy areas characterized by limited formal competencies for the EU, and by entrenched mutual dependencies between knowledge systems and the political order of the territorial state. Moreover, attempts at building a European Research Area and a European Higher Education Area, and the implementation of the ‘5th Freedom’ aiming at the free flow of knowledge in Europe, activate a latent tension between institutional spheres and policy sectors, between the economic role versus the cultural and democratic role of knowledge. We examine such tensions involved in the build-up, shaping and institutionalization of governance capacity for a “Europe of knowledge”. We do so by studying empirically (A) the decision-making processes where ideas and interests underpinning the potential transformation towards the Europe of Knowledge meet, are shaped and justified;(B) Capacity building, accounting for the dynamics of crafting new European institutions (e.g. the European Research Council and the European Institute of Technology) and of the institutionalization of the European executive in these areas and the networks it forges with national ministries, agencies, transnational actors, and directly with universities and research groups across Europe; (C) The key mechanisms of implementation and the transformative effects of ideational convergence, the OMC (benchmarks, indicators and mutual learning), the use of voluntary standards, and of European incentives’ programmes in the absence of legal recourse for the European level.
Media, culture and the public sphere
The question of political re-ordering and its legitimatory impact is intrinsically linked to the notion of the public sphere, which is the medium for discourse and justification that puts political decision-makers to account – as well as for political initiative, mobilising political support and linking the citizens to the power structure of the polity. The project will study the mediation of justificatory discourse, the instrumental repertoire of collective action, and the cultural repertoire of the opinions, attitudes and belonging of citizens in relation to European integration.
Accordingly, the transformation of European public spheres is examined (A) in terms of justifying the legitimacy of new institutional and governmental designs; (B) in terms of mobilising citizens’ support or opposition, and (C) in terms of meta-discourses of belonging and self-understanding.