PUBLIC - Public Sphere and Emerging Subjects

The project PUBLIC (FFI2016-75603-R, AEI/FEDER, UE) aims to analyze, from the deliberative theory of the public sphere, the emergence of new social and political subjects and the challenges they pose on democratic institutions and values. In the New Millennium, the proliferation of new forms of social demands and mobilization contest the legitimacy of institutions and political frameworks; express deep structural changes in the economic, financial, occupational, social, educational, cultural, environmental and political domains, and indicates a novelty for the theoretical and normative foundations that underpin democratic orders and citizenship. In this study, we propose to consider the following aspects of emerging subjets: (1) the perspectives of agency in its public discursive forms of expression; (2) the moral and legal validity of the different intersecting vectors of social demands; (3) the democratizing potential of these demands in order to enhance rights-bearing processes in the context of powerful structural trends of exclusion and neutralization of citizenship.

Our hypotheses are that: (1) we are facing a wave of democratic movements in the New Millenium, which uses original expressive and discursive resources and generates new forms of public spheres and an enlightened public; (2) the analytical and legal-political framework of citizenship is overwhelmed by the phenomena of disaffection, the disengagement of the spaces of citizenship in axes of inclusion/exclusion, and the destabilization and weakening of national or regional (EU) sovereignty; (3) new subjects embody ideals of justice that reveal axes of injustice –in vectors of gender, ethnicity, class, membership or participation –which entwine with new demands raised under the current crisis in the financial-economic, social and political domains; and provide guidance for democratic reform of institutions and juridification of demands.


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