Volume 6, Issue 1, 2009
Mass Media and European Cultural Citizenship
The main thesis of my article is that the viability of the European Union does not depend so much on its political structure as on its being anchored in a culture-based public sphere and on the establishment of a cultural European citizenship. The public sphere could be defined as an unique world, characterized by consensus and cooperation, in which only public goods can be sought and acquired, or as an unique world, characterized by rivalry and competition, in which everyone could pursue their private interests, but only if there is a consensus regarding an objective and fair procedure. In any way, we cannot speak of a pluralism of public spheres - like the black public sphere, the LGBT public sphere, etc. - but (at the most) a plurality of interests represented in the public sphere, under the reserve of respecting a fair procedure, which allows the expression of axiological judgments. The EU needs a progressive citizenship, from civil citizenship to cultural citizenship, depending on the acquired skills, behavior and virtues. One deserves cultural citizenship and have the right (or, perhaps the privilege) to manifest - in the public sphere - a way of life and a cultural identity only if promote authentic values: virtues, rationality, free will etc. The problematic aspects of the European media sphere are obstacles on the way to establishing an authentic European cultural citizenship. They can be kept under control by assuming a healthy reactionary attitude and associating every element of change and contingent progress (speed, reductive simplicity, user's solitude, pictoriality, lateralness, data overload, immediacy, segmentation, social amnesia, etc.) with an element of moderation and equilibrium. Only thus can the media contribute in the making of a viable union of the European peoples, grounded on a well articulated European cultural citizenship.