European Society or European Societies? Critical and discoursive perspective
Institute of Sociology Jagiellonian University Krakow, Poland
The fundamental conference question: "European society or European societies?" will be considered in a communicative and critical perspective. According to the assumptions of many contemporary social thinkers (eg. Habermas, Baudrillard, Bourdieu, Czyewski, van Dijk, Fairclough) whose analysis concentrates on the communicative aspect of social reality, and civil society conditions in particular, the discoursive aspect of theoretical and practical reflection on the mentioned conference problematic seems to be essential.
Thus, in the first part of my paper I would like to concentrate on the discoursive aspect of the European social reality taking into consideration the principles of so-called CDA (critical discourse analysis) postulated by Teun van Dijk. Such a critical perspective will be used to develop two theoretical models of discourse - civil and uncivil one. The civil model of discourse is based on the prepositions of Jrgen Habermas theory of communicative action (especially his conception public sphere, communicative action, consensus, rational argumentation, Lebenswelt). The second model of the discourse, that is unicivil one, is constructed on the theoretical conceptions of two French authors: Pierre Bourdieu and Michel Foucault (especially the ideas of symbolic power, oppresive discourse, symbolic elites, exclussion, imposion of mental structures).
In the second part of the presentation the above mentioned theoretical constructions will be applied to the problematic of the public sphere development of European society / societies. The fundamental questions which will be taken into consideration are: 1) can we talk about one coherent European public sphere, or several public spheres on the national level?; 2) having in mind the importance of the communicative processes within European society/societies, the elements of which model of discourse predominates in European debates (such problem will be discussed on the base of two examples - the debate on the Constitutional Treaty and Treaty of Lisbon); 3). What are the critical postualtes (according to CDA principles) to identify positive and negative aspects of communicative processes within European society/societies?
In conclussion, the paper will present the potentials and possibilities of critical theory application to the problem of European society/societies conditons on the discoursive level.