European identity constructions in public debates on wars and military interventions

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Series Details No.2, April 2010
Publication Date 2010
ISSN 1504-6907
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Drawing on the classical distinction between community (Gemeinschaft) and society (Gesellschaft) by Tönnies (1963) and the related analytical distinction between strong and weak forms of collective identities, this paper analyses European identity constructions in ‘future-of-Europe’-debates on war and military interventions in German, British and Polish mass media between 1990-2006. Based on a discourse analytical framework the empirical analysis scrutinises the ways in which the European Union (EU) is represented as a distinct political space. The paper illustrates that discursive constructions of the EU as a cooperative enterprise – a political entity mainly constituted by the self-interest of its members – and as a community with a shared ethical self-understanding occur almost equally frequent in all of the three analysed public debates. Yet, there are considerable national differences with respect to the exact arguments that are employed to construct these two larger discursive dimensions.

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