10  Rethinking European society

The global civil society context

The idea of the EU-as-polity contains a normative vision of a European civil society, but one which is rooted in nation-states, functional for integration, and amenable to organization and management by the European Union. For most commentators on EU affairs, a European civil society does not exist at the present time (although see Kastoryano, 2003: 80) and is generally perceived as an absence (Chryssochoou, 2001b; Grundmann, 1999; Habermas, 2001a), or at best an aggregation of the national societies of EU member states (Closa, 2001). Some commentators have discerned the emergence of public spheres, mainly limited to activities of European political and economic elites (Lord, 1998; ...

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