Postgraduate course

The Publics of Europe and the European Public Sphere

  • ECTS credits10
  • Teaching semesterSpring
  • Course codeSAMPOL334
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Resources

Level of Study


Teaching semester


Objectives and Content

A central aim of the course is to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different theoretical and methodological approaches to the European public sphere as well as introducing the Rokkanian paradigm into the field. We take as the point of departure, a synthesis of the conceptual tools of political philosophy with the basic principles of comparative politics as a method and field of analysis, and apply these to the study of the European public sphere.

The course focuses on an up-to-date selection of themes, theories and methodologies for the study of the European public sphere. It addresses the key dimensions, channels and actors facilitating or impeding the recent transnational integration of European publics and public spaces. Transnational integration of European publics and public spaces is problematized in several dimensions: The parts on institutional integration cover the development of the EU decision-making mechanisms as an igniter of integration. The focus on political integration is concerned with the development of a transnational political cleavage system in Europe as well as a European party system and EP elections (numerical democracy), the trans-European civil society networks (corporate-plural democracy), and transnational communication and Europeanization of national media systems (the media sphere). The societal integration is addressed with a focus on European citizenship and identity. Depending on the current state of the art in the field, different channels, dimensions, or actors of European integration may be emphasized each semester.

Learning Outcomes

A student who has completed the course should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


  • Demonstrate advanced-level theoretical and empirical knowledge and understanding of the European integration processes and the transnational European public sphere.


  • Use the key concepts, theories, and methodological approaches to the European public sphere as part of their own independent academic work.
  • Systematically interrelate the integration processes and mechanisms that are observed in different segments and levels of the EU political system.
  • Acquire advanced academic skills in analyzing and studying formations of transnational political phenomena.

General competence

  • Display motivation and ability to work independently in an academic or a professional setting.
  • Display improved oral academic communication skills, after participating in class discussions and the class panel debates.

Required Previous Knowledge

Students must have completed a bachelor's degree in political science or an equivalent (subject to approval by the administration of the Department of Comparative Politics).

Recommended Previous Knowledge


Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap

Full credit reduction with SAMPOL343 (spring 2013 and 2014)

Access to the Course

Master Programme in Comparative Politics

Teaching and learning methods

  • Lectures
  • Seminar discussions
  • Roundtable debates in teams

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

  • Full attendance at no fewer than 7 of the 10 class meetings
  • Prepared participation as a discussant in at least one roundtable debate team on a pre-given theme (to be organized within the course)

Forms of Assessment

A maximum 4500-word essay on topic of own choosing that utilizes literature from the course syllabus.

Grading Scale

The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.

Assessment Semester

Assessment in teaching semester

Course Evaluation

The course is evaluated according to the guidelines found in Handbok for kvalitetssikring av universitetsstudia.

Course Coordinator

Prof. Hakan G. Sicakkan


Department of Comparative Politics


Contact Information


Tlf 55 58 33 16