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"Constructions of Multilevel Legitimacy in the European Union: A Study of German and British Media Discourse"

Hurrelmann, Achim. (2007) "Constructions of Multilevel Legitimacy in the European Union: A Study of German and British Media Discourse". In: UNSPECIFIED, Montreal, Canada. (Unpublished)

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    Abstract

    [From the introduction]. While academic debates about the EU’s normative legitimacy have reached a relatively high level of conceptual sophistication, and most of the remaining points of contention can be traced back to ultimately irreconcilable differences between various views of democracy, considerably less is known about the Union’s empirical legitimacy. In spite of the regular Eurobarometer reports, there is little reliable data on what Europeans value about the EU, why they accept or oppose its institutions, and on what criteria they base such assessments. Are different evaluative benchmarks used when people judge the legitimacy of the EU, as opposed to the nation state? Are democratic standards less important compared to output- and performance-oriented criteria? In which relevant respects is the EU seen as doing well, and which aspects of its activities are seen as generating legitimacy problems? In this paper, I argue that the most promising way to answer these questions is to focus on the construction and transformation of legitimacy in public discourse. In other words, the dominant strand of empirical legitimacy research in the EU – public opinion surveys such as the Eurobarometer – should be complemented by an approach that focuses on political communication (see also Schneider, Nullmeier and Hurrelmann 2007). After sketching how a focus on communication might help to alleviate some of the deficiencies of existing research on the EU’s empirical legitimacy (Section 2), I apply this approach in a study of British and German media debates surrounding EU enlargement, the Draft Constitution, and the 2004 election to the European Parliament (Sections 2 to 4). The paper yield insights into the construction of legitimating and delegitimating arguments about EU institutions, as well as into the ways in which these are related to evaluations of the member states.

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > European Parliament
    EU policies and themes > Treaty reform > Constitution for Europe
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > European elections/voting behavior
    EU policies and themes > Treaty reform > enlargement
    Countries > Germany
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > media
    Countries > U.K.
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > legitimacy
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > public opinion
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series: UNSPECIFIED
    ["eprint_fieldname_eusries" not defined]: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 2007 (10th), May 17-19, 2007
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 13 May 2008
    Page Range: p. 31
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:50
    URI: http://aei.pitt.edu/id/eprint/7912

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