RF: Can INGOs' Publics be the Carrier for a Transnational Public Sphere?
Join the University of Portsmouth's Interdisciplinary Webinar Series, chaired by Leïla Choukroune, Professor of International Law and Director of the University of Portsmouth Thematic Area in Democratic Citizenship, and presented by Dr Amandine Hostein, Editorial Assistant for the Interdisciplinary Political Studies Journal and a member of the BISA NGO working group.
Social media have provided individuals with new tools to unite around common transnational grievances and create democratic spaces for dialogue, thus redefining avenues of democratic participation. Nevertheless, publics’ deliberative potential is challenged by polarising discourse and authoritarian tendencies afflicting societies worldwide. This has reinvigorated debates about how the Habermasian public sphere could be transnationalised to energize transnational public opinion capable of exercising influence over political authority. Yet, scholarly attempts to transnationalise the public sphere undertake a compartmentalised disciplinary approach reducing the concept to specific enabling conditions, such as the internet, institutions, and convergence around issues. This is problematic as it detracts from the public sphere’s inherent normative essence in displacing the publics as primary agents of public-opinion formation. This research provides a corrective to prevailing public sphere disciplinary silos by engaging a normative pragmatic inquiry reconfiguring the concept as a communicative environment. This enables the disaggregation of publics defined by their fluid contextualised and situated practices which give rise to discursive, structural and social conditions that enable the emergence of a transnational public dialogue. This is nurtured by the mediating qualities of an infrastructural setting, historically fulfilled by the 17-19th century coffee-houses, and presently performed by INGOs. This reconfiguration provides a holistic normative framework which is applied on the exploratory case study of Amnesty International UK’s Facebook conversations using an emancipatory, dialectical and dialogic methodological approach to critical discourse analysis. This bridges the gap between holistic normative theorising and practical application in order to advance the research agenda towards more attuned, creative and emancipatory directions for democratic renewal.
Having recently completed her PhD, Dr. Amandine Hostein’s research investigated how the nation-state bound Habermasian concept of the public sphere could be transnationalised to envision potentialities for democratic renewal. Her PhD is informed by her broader research interests of deliberative democracy, INGOs and transnational civil societies, global governance and pragmatic philosophy. Alongside her research, she has previously served as the British International Studies Association (BISA) PGN Vice-Chair in 2017 before taking the lead as Chair of the PGN in which she played an active role until November 2019, in overseeing its activities, supporting the membership’s academic and professional development and enhancing the network’s visibility. She has taught at a wide range of International Relations units and levels, from undergraduate to MA-level as a part-time lecturer and Teaching Fellow at the University of Portsmouth. She is also an editorial assistant for the Interdisciplinary Political Studies Journal, based at the University of Salento, and a member of the BISA NGO working group.
Date: 29 September 2021 | Wednesday
Time: 2:00pm to 3:00pm (UK Time)
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