Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Sustainable development in the global convergence of new media and public sphere

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
5.06.03  Social sciences  Political science  Communication science 

Code Science Field
S265  Social sciences  Press and communication sciences 

Code Science Field
5.08  Social Sciences  Media and communications 
sustainable development, public sphere, mass media, globalisation, convergence
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (14)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  32438  PhD Marinko Banjac  Social sciences  Researcher  2011 - 2014  166 
2.  31086  Zdravko Kozinc  Political science  Researcher  2011 - 2014 
3.  30964  PhD Boris Mance  Political science  Technical associate  2011 - 2014  40 
4.  31641  Lina Pavletič  Political science  Researcher  2012 - 2014 
5.  19074  PhD Gregor Petrič  Sociology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  261 
6.  27574  PhD Andraž Petrovčič  Sociology  Researcher  2011 - 2014  290 
7.  19073  PhD Jernej Pikalo  Political science  Researcher  2011 - 2013  355 
8.  28827  PhD Peter Sekloča  Political science  Researcher  2011 - 2014  85 
9.  29056  PhD Aleksander Sašo Slaček Brlek  Political science  Researcher  2011 - 2013  114 
10.  03661  PhD Slavko Splichal  Political science  Head  2011 - 2014  721 
11.  28695  Eva Stare  Political science  Researcher  2011 
12.  27570  PhD Maja Turnšek  Economics  Researcher  2011 - 2013  289 
13.  29384  PhD Igor Vobič  Political science  Researcher  2012 - 2014  267 
14.  32439  PhD Blaž Vrečko Ilc  Political science  Researcher  2011 - 2014  90 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0582  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences  Ljubljana  1626957  40,399 
2.  1510  Science and Research Centre Koper  Koper  7187416000  13,871 
Background From 1980 onwards, social sciences have responded to the spectacular social changes in the world with a series of theoretical innovations and reconceptualizations. These include ideas of globalization and globalism, sustainable development, public sphere, convergence, and new media. These scientific (re)visions may be attributed to the challenges to the entire “universe of publicness” that has expanded beyond the borders of the nation-states, traditional media, and conventional isolation of sciences from the public sphere.   Problem Definition The project will examine issues of sustainable development and their relationship to the (re)construction of the public sphere in the age of media convergence. Sustainable development is becoming a "public issue" globally and locally, which requires the establishment or the public (sphere) dealing with issues and problems related to the consequences of social transactions in which citizens cannot participate. This can only happen with free and democratic forms of communication constitutive of civil society and a “sustainable” public sphere, as well as “public science.” The key question is: How to solve the age-old problem of making the public sphere universally accessible, interactive, and truly deliberative?   Research Objectives The project raises the following key objectives: 1. to clarify the relationship between (social) sciences, knowledge and the public sphere in relation to sustainable development, particularly issues of legitimacy and efficacy of a constructive science-policy dialogue through democratic participation; 2. to analyze genealogies of (re)conceptualizations of "sustainable development" in order to clarify the relationship between the concept(s) and specific interests of key actors in supporting certain types of sustainable development; 3. to identify the key dimensions and types of sustainable development discourses in Slovenian society in terms of homogeneity—fragmentation of discourses, statuses of actors, rational-critical arguments, and issues of the conditions and prevailing forms of production that are (not) addressed; 4. to analyze the transformation of communication activities in the public sphere brought about by new media, the possibility of the transformation of previously passive audiences into protagonists in content production, and the empowerment of civic actors.   Research methods and procedures Work on the project will be divided into four work packages according to the defined key objectives. To achieve the objectives, a wide range of various quantitative and qualitative research and analytical methods for collecting data will be used, from text analysis and discourse analysis through focus groups and in-depth interviews to standardized survey questionnaires (by phone and online), and analysis of online interactions. Data collected with quantitative methods will be analyzed with appropriate multivariate statistical methods.   Relevance This project derives from the increasing awareness that both civil society organizations as political parties and governments need to transform their practices to encourage the involvement of all social groups and individuals who are long term and significantly affected by the consequences of actions that citizens can not directly influence. It raises issues that are important for understanding the processes of convergence in the public sphere and essential for the promotion of democratic political participation by citizens. The project will have important implications for policy and practice, particularly by the fact that it will contribute to the elimination of important weaknesses in the process and method of developing long-term development plans – the exclusion of many stakeholders who may essentially contribute to the success of the process; misunderstanding of the need to involve these stakeholders; the absence of skills and knowledge to manage these processes and the moderation of the planning proce
Significance for science
After the concept of sustainable development discussed in the Brundtland report and the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 has become almost indispensable part of international and national policy documents, business marketing and operation of non-governmental organizations, it appears that, at least at the declarative level, any opposition to sustainable development has become impossible. However, consensus on the fact that sustainable development is needed hides different or even conflicting views on what sustainable development actually is and how it can be achieved. Consequently, the term sustainable development has become both utopian and saturated with so many definitions that it is at least threatened with the danger of meaninglessness, if not becoming a mere demagogic phrase (Workshop on Global Sustainability, 2008). It is not an unambiguous concept: on the one extreme, we find neo-liberal free market dogmatism as the solution to all the problems, and the view that a radical social change is required on the other extreme. The concept of sustainable development, its ambiguities and contradictions, reflect social conflicts and power relations; we are dealing with political struggles regarding the definition of social reality. Therefore, it is important to reveal the background of different understandings of sustainable development appearing in public and identify social actors (re)presenting specific understandings. Our analysis of how civil society, scientists, corporations and mass media see and present sustainable development in Slovenia suggests that the concept of sustainable development is mostly treated in the public discourse in a way that does not threaten the existing power relations and takes for granted an everlasting economic growth. Deep-seated reforms that could provide an economic development not undermining social well-being and the natural environment are shoved aside for the sake of business opportunities of "green" innovations, "green" tax incentives and subsidies, and "green" sponsorship funds. The concept of sustainable development is thus threatened to become depoliticized and reduced to particular technological innovations, individual actions and material for corporate publicity, thus becoming merely the name of a market niche rather than a call for careful consideration of the desired future. An important reason for such treatment of sustainable development lays in the fact that access to decision-making mechanisms and publicity is distributed disproportionately in favour of the holders of political and economic power. Our analysis indicates that we are facing the phenomenon of "refeudalization" of the public sphere where decisions are made in the negotiations behind closed doors and only subsequently offered for public dicsussion. In such a situation publicity turns into its representative function: its aim is not the control of power holders, but legitimization of their decisions already taken.
Significance for the country
The issue of sustainable development is one of the central issues on the agenda of the United Nations. Only the problem of human rights is as widespread and popularized internationally as the problem of sustainable development, which clearly shows its great social significance. The Brundtland Report (1987) was the landmark in the conceptualization of sustainable development. It was a result of the increasing attention devoted mainly to transnational nature of environmental protection. While sustainable development had previously been part of the academic debate only, the Brundtland Report and subsequent activities of the UN (e.g. 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro) built it up as a central concept framing transnational not only environmental but also socio-economic concerns on both transnational and national levels. With the introduction of the concept of sustainable development, people stopped to ask whether development and environmental protection are mutually exclusive; rather, the central question becomes, how can we ensure sustainable development (Lele 1991). Conceptualization of sustainable development within the UN was not primarily referring to an increased attention of a group of people devoted to a new problem, which was not detected before; it rather represented an important step towards identifying, forming and framing public debate – a step that has been made "top-down" as opposed to the ideal process of public opinion, where public debate takes place first outside the political sphere, and then affect the political sphere. In contrast, the analysis of treatment of sustainable development in the frameworks of civil society, (social) sciences, economy and mass media in Slovenia – a “bottom-up” approach – was central to our project. In a non-governmental public sphere they fall within the discussion of citizens, experts and scientists and non-governmental organizations, which can be conducted in the mass media or directly in different forums and social networks. Mass media should be seen, according to the classic normative understanding of the role of journalism, as the central social institution that connects all three types of discursive communities. The mass media have a central role in the creation of the institutional (infra)structure that enables identification and organization of general interests. Problems of understanding and conceptualisation of sustainable development in the public discourse open up the broader issues of disproportionate access to decision-making mechanisms, transparency in decision-making processes and the role of civil society organizations in Slovenia. Achieving sustainable development depends not only on the implementation of appropriate technological solutions, but also requires political change; it requires a comprehensive democratization of the political system that would allow to take into account the future development of the full range of social needs, not only the maxim of unlimited economic growth.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2011, 2012, 2013, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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