Students at University of Portsmouth Festival of Cultures

In this talk Dr Amandine Holstein discusses her research on the idea of a transnational public sphere and how through using the internet INGOs have carried on the baton for shaping and creating a 'public'.

  • 29 October 2021
  • 1 hour watch

In this edition of the University of Portsmouth's Interdisciplinary Webinar Series, Leïla Choukroune, Professor of International Law and Director of the University of Portsmouth Thematic Area in Democratic Citizenship, is joined by Dr Amandine Hostein, Editorial Assistant for the Interdisciplinary Political Studies Journal and a member of the BISA NGO working group.

Social media has provided individuals with new tools to unite around common transnational grievances and create democratic spaces for dialogue redefining the nature of democratic participation. However, polarising discourse and authoritarian tendencies are affecting societies worldwide. This has reinvigorated debates about how a perceived public sphere could be energized on a transnational scale to create public opinion actually capable of exercising influence over political authority.

This research aims to correct prevailing thought around the public sphere by reconfiguring the concept as a communicative environment. This is nurtured by the mediating qualities of the setting of a 'public' and its discourse, historically housed in the 17-19th centuries in coffee-houses, this baton has been transferred to INGOs (International Non-Governmental Organisations). By looking at Amnesty International UK and its use of Facebook to drive engagement, shift opinion and change the conversation on topics it wants to focus on, Dr Amandine Hostein bridges the gap between the theory of a public sphere and the practical application used by INGOs. Showing how the public sphere can be shifted towards more creative and emancipatory directions for democratic renewal.

Speaker's Bio

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.