Legitimating the European Union: The Contested Meanings of an EU Constitution
Following up on a previous study on the Convention on the Future of Europe, the present article investigates the reception of the EU's constitutional experience in the public. A qualitative analysis of the press coverage of the various phases of constitutionalisation between the decision on establishing a Convention in December 2001 and the provisional suspension of ratification in 2005 is carried out. While it is pointed out that the constitutional project entailed a bid for legitimacy which implied a strong engagement of the public, the reception of constitutionalisation in the press did not result in a democratic process of mobilisation. However, the failure of such an interpretation of the European Union as a democracy in the making did not amount to a de-legitimation of the EU in the coverage analysed. Rather, another semantic framework for making meaning of the Europolity was found which was based on a predominantly statist reading of its constituents and which legitimated co-operation over unilateral action, namely constructing a normative discourse of the EU member-states in search of a common "European" as opposed to their "national" interests. Hence, the article proposes to take note of the fact that discourses about the European Union show a large degree of polysemia and contestedness, and it develops a framework for empirically studying legitimation as a semiotic process involving the justification of the political system and its output.
|Date of creation:||15 Oct 2007|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.eui.eu/RSCAS/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Follesdal, Andreas & Hix, Simon, 2005. "Why There is a Democratic Deficit in the EU: A Response to Majone and Moravcsik," European Governance Papers (EUROGOV) 2, CONNEX and EUROGOV networks.
- Claes H. de Vreese & Susan A. Banducci & Holli A. Semetko & Hajo G. Boomgaarden, 2006. "The News Coverage of the 2004 European Parliamentary Election Campaign in 25 Countries," European Union Politics, , vol. 7(4), pages 477-504, December.
- Christoph Meyer, 2007. "The Constitutional Treaty debates as revelatory mechanisms: Insights for public sphere research and re-launch attempts," RECON Online Working Papers Series 6, RECON.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:erp:euirsc:p0184. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Valerio PAPPALARDO)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.