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Civil Society and EU Public Diplomacy

Instructor: Christos Frangonikolopoulos

Course Description

The aim of this course is to examine how the diversity and dense texture of civil society within the EU (European Union) can contribute to EUPD (European Union Public Diplomacy). In so doing, the course will examine how transnational and multidimensional civil society efforts (such as EUNIC, EL-CSID, CERN, ERASMUS/Centre for EU Research, European Network on Religion and Belief, EU MEDIA Program/Creative Europe, MEDIANE – Media in Europe for Diversity Inclusiveness, Debating Europe Project, Euractiv, Young Reporters for the Environment, Digital News Initiative):

  • can work in the direction of re-focusing the thematic orientation of EUPD, and instead of working predominantly on issues of the Union’s  image promotion and branding, also invest on explaining it’s policies and show how they contribute to the delivery of public goods, such as peace, security, respect for human rights and international law, prosperity, sustainable development,
  • can work in the trajectory of enhancing the transparency, legitimacy and awareness of the EU internally and externally,  by creating spaces for alternative theorizations to mainstream paradigms, aiming and shaping shape conducive ground for alternative, potentially groundbreaking policies, as well as functioning in the direction of existing policies, making them more efficient.

Course Structure

The course will be divided in as follows:

  1. The examination of EUPD in terms of identity, narratives and norms
  2. The examination of the under-recognized aspect of EUPD, the civil society networking dimension, within and between member states of the Union, and in particular, the structures, policies and activities through which the EU and member states involve or could involve
    • domestic politics/civil society at multilevel (supranational, subnational and national) collaborative networks,
    • media and journalists (national and transnational)
      and how such involvement
    • can work as a counterweight to the national angle which continues to inhibit EUPD,
    • can support/facilitate not only transnational multidimensional political engagement among the European citizens, but also how it can generate cross national solidarities and new kinds of narratives and understandings of the EU.

Class/Learning activities

Class and learning activities will be lectures, group-work, class presentations, literature study and written assignments. Guest speakers will also offer their perspective on the issues discussed in class. The total workload in terms of hours will be 300, with 29.5 hours devoted to lectures/teaching, 150 hours to the preparation and presentation of exercises and the study of the compulsory and optional literature, and 110 hours to the preparation and submission of working assignments/essays.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course, students will be able to critically understand how EUPD can and should encourage discursive processes, strengthening the European public sphere with regard to the profoundly political and critical issues of the present era.