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Denouncing European integration: Euroscepticism as reactive identity formation

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  • Hans-Jörg Trenz
  • Pieter de Wilde

Abstract

The spreading phenomenon of Euroscepticism relates to particular discursive formations within the battlefield of collective identities that is opened by European integration. This paper first aims to highlight the reactionary nature of Euroscepticism. Secondly, it argues for understanding Euroscepticism as a discursive formation in the public sphere rather than as a collection of party positions or characteristic of public opinion. Thirdly, it points to the media as central players and amplifiers of Euroscepticism. In order to describe the dynamics of Euroscepticism, we need to understand how the polity worth of the EU is framed in public debates (the discursive contents of Euroscepticism). We further need to understand how and by whom Eurosceptic narratives are mobilized (the performance of Euroscepticism). Last but not least, we need to account for the public resonance of Euroscepticism and its dynamic expansion (the public salience of Euroscepticism). By emphasizing this dynamic element in the ‘making of’ Eurosceptic counter-narratives this paper therefore proposes to turn to the mediating infrastructures through which the European Union is challenged and contested in front of a wider public. This relates to the public and media sphere as the principal locus of analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Hans-Jörg Trenz & Pieter de Wilde, 2009. "Denouncing European integration: Euroscepticism as reactive identity formation," RECON Online Working Papers Series 10, RECON.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:reconx:p0049
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andreas Follesdal & Simon Hix, 2006. "Why There is a Democratic Deficit in the EU: A Response to Majone and Moravcsik," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44, pages 533-562, September.
    2. Hooghe, Liesbet & Marks, Gary, 2009. "A Postfunctionalist Theory of European Integration: From Permissive Consensus to Constraining Dissensus," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 39(01), pages 1-23, January.
    3. Sebastian Dullien & Daniela Schwarzer, 2009. "Bringing Macroeconomics into the EU Budget Debate: Why and How?," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47, pages 153-174, January.
    4. Pieter de Wilde, 2008. "Media Coverage and National Parliaments in EU Policy-Formulation. Debates on the EU Budget in the Netherlands 1992-2005," ARENA Working Papers 19, ARENA.
    5. Pieter de Wilde, 2008. "Media Coverage and National Parliaments in EU Policy-Formulation: Debates on the EU Budget in the Netherlands 1992-2005," RECON Online Working Papers Series 13, RECON.
    6. Pieter de Wilde, 2009. "Reasserting the Nation State: The Trajectory of Euroscepticism in the Netherlands 1992-2005," RECON Online Working Papers Series 1, RECON.
    7. Pollack, Mark A., 1997. "Delegation, agency, and agenda setting in the European Community," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 51(01), pages 99-134, December.
    8. Pieter de Wilde, 2007. "Politicisation of European Integration: Bringing the Process into Focus," ARENA Working Papers 18, ARENA.
    9. Erik Oddvar Eriksen & John Erik Fossum, 2002. "Democracy through Strong Publics in the European Union?," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 401-424, September.
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    Keywords

    discourse; European public space; identity; legitimacy; media;

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