While public opinion is still trying to agree on what ‘belonging to Europe’ exactly means, the European Union’s horizons do not appear to have stabilized. EU enlargement is often described as an ‘unprecedented adventure’ in terms of its scale and socio-political consequences, but the question of where EU’s borders end is still left unanswered. The linguistic and semiotic analysis of EU discursive practices reveals that no geographical bound has been posed to the creation of a multinational and polyethnic EU: “The EU is based more on values and political will than on rivers and mountains. The European Union is a political project, and its borders are political” (The European Commission, 2005. 20 Myths and Facts about Enlargement). The unwillingness to formulate precise geographical limits clearly responds to the political need to keep institutional doors open to future aspiring candidates. Enlargement is thus presented in EU texts as an open-ended process of social and political ‘integration’, which gradually replaces the previously widespread concept of European ‘unification’. The mapping of EU identity unfolds as an in fieri project whose futurity is symbolised in EU communication policy by new images and mottos. Taking into account the framework set by studies in Discourse Analysis and Social Semiotics, this paper investigates the linguistic and rhetorical strategies used by the European Union that are conducive to the formation of European identity and citizenship. To this purpose, an analysis of visual and textual material issued by the Community institutions is introduced to uncover the discursive practices used to widen, shape and reformulate the principles of a common European heritage. This emerging and multifarious process of integration is of paramount interest to this study as it gives rise to visual and verbal symbols aimed at promoting a new awareness of what ‘being European’ is all about.

Communities, Boundaries and New Neighbours: the Discursive Construction of EU Enlargement

CALIENDO, GIUDITTA;
2008

Abstract

While public opinion is still trying to agree on what ‘belonging to Europe’ exactly means, the European Union’s horizons do not appear to have stabilized. EU enlargement is often described as an ‘unprecedented adventure’ in terms of its scale and socio-political consequences, but the question of where EU’s borders end is still left unanswered. The linguistic and semiotic analysis of EU discursive practices reveals that no geographical bound has been posed to the creation of a multinational and polyethnic EU: “The EU is based more on values and political will than on rivers and mountains. The European Union is a political project, and its borders are political” (The European Commission, 2005. 20 Myths and Facts about Enlargement). The unwillingness to formulate precise geographical limits clearly responds to the political need to keep institutional doors open to future aspiring candidates. Enlargement is thus presented in EU texts as an open-ended process of social and political ‘integration’, which gradually replaces the previously widespread concept of European ‘unification’. The mapping of EU identity unfolds as an in fieri project whose futurity is symbolised in EU communication policy by new images and mottos. Taking into account the framework set by studies in Discourse Analysis and Social Semiotics, this paper investigates the linguistic and rhetorical strategies used by the European Union that are conducive to the formation of European identity and citizenship. To this purpose, an analysis of visual and textual material issued by the Community institutions is introduced to uncover the discursive practices used to widen, shape and reformulate the principles of a common European heritage. This emerging and multifarious process of integration is of paramount interest to this study as it gives rise to visual and verbal symbols aimed at promoting a new awareness of what ‘being European’ is all about.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11588/356579
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