Online Euroscepticism in the European Parliament elections of June 2009
Within the framework of WP 5 - Civil Society and the Public Sphere, this project is focused on Euroscepticism as advanced in public discourse, particularly on the internet. Much scientific research on Euroscepticism has either focused on positions of political parties as documented in party manifestoes, or on public opinion largely based on Eurobarometer data. Contrary to this, RECON will understand Euroscepticism as a discourse located in the public sphere, interacting with – and reacting to – the continuing constitutionalisation of the European Union and justificatory actions accompanying this process. This approach is set out in a conceptual working paper by Hans-Jörg Trenz and Pieter de Wilde: 'Denouncing European integration: Euroscepticism as reactive identity formation' (RECON Online Working Paper 2009/10).
Building on this, WP 5 partners have taken stock of the scholarly literature on Euroscepticism in a variety of member states. Common themes, actors and forums for Eurosceptic discursive practices have been identified, with a particular focus on the campaign surrounding the European Parliament elections of June 2009.
With existing scholarly attention predominantly focused on party politics and public opinion, the nature and dynamics of Euroscepticism online appear relatively unchartered. The focus in the study is on how Eurosceptic discourse is developed and challenged in interactive internet discussions on professional journalism websites and political blogs.
The results will be interpreted to assess the nature of Eurosceptic discourse, compare across countries and websites, study the extent to which ‘Europe’ features in the election campaign, and evaluate the online European public sphere in light of existing knowledge on its ‘offline’ counterpart.