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Mass Media and Contested Meanings: EU Constitutional Politics after Popular Rejection


  • Ulrike LIEBERT
  • Hans-Jörg TRENZ


This paper applies a normative democratic perspective on European constitutional politics to the analysis of discursive practices related to the crisis of the 'Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe' (TCE), in the aftermath of the failed referenda. Starting from three distinct logics of constitutionalisation, we ask whether and in which ways EU constitutional politics has interacted with the general public sphere. In terms of constitution politics, did the national mass media basically ignore the European dimension, and fail to take the debate beyond the national state? Or did they closely represent deliberations that went on during the 'reflection period,' and present the various reasons for and against this joint agreement designed to get the EU out of its impasse? And, moreover, did they represent social contentions and enhance the diversity of interests and identities involved in the constitutional crisis debates in the run up to the Lisbon Reform Treaty? To answer these questions, we will use the methodology of comparative discourse analysis and a data set covering constitutional media debates from May 2005 - June 2007 in 14 EU member and candidate countries.

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  • Ulrike LIEBERT & Hans-Jörg TRENZ, 2008. "Mass Media and Contested Meanings: EU Constitutional Politics after Popular Rejection," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 28, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:euirsc:p0188

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. George Tsebelis, 2008. "Thinking about the Recent Past and the Future of the EU," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46, pages 265-292, March.
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    constitution building; discourse; media; normative political theory; treaty reform;

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