Approaching the Communicative Construction of Europe: Cultures of Political Discourse, European Public Sphere and the Euro Crisis
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In this chapter, we outline a communicative constructivist perspective on the European public sphere, Europe and the EU. As already emphasised in the introduction, this perspective does not mean that we reduce Europe and the EU to a semiotic phenomenon. Other processes of social construction are also taking place and are of great importance. Beyond any reductionism, the idea of communicative constructivism proposes that the everyday meaning of a European society is articulated in ongoing processes of communication. These communication processes are increasingly mediatised: mediated by and related to the institutions and technologies of the media, and also moulded by them. Furthermore, communication processes such as these are rooted in different cultures of political discourse: the culture producing a certain kind of political discourse, both national and transnational. The latter involves the various transnational cultural patterns of media communication which mark the transnational stratification of an emerging European society. We also suggest that something like a European culture of political discourse emerges. Considered in a long-term perspective, the euro crisis seems to be not so much a collapse of the communicative construction of Europe, but a potential ‘tipping point’ (Eder 2014: 221) in the practice of communicative construction. It has been observed that the euro crisis has brought about a ‘politicisation’ (Risse 2015b: 3) of the European public sphere: a general shift to a public sphere in which more citizens find their voice.
KeywordsEuropean Society Public Sphere Political Discourse Political Communication European Culture
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