The EU is briskly expanding before the concept of its identity actually finds a clear definition. The 2005 referendum fiasco in France and the Netherlands clearly revealed that the EU process of geographical widening is counterbalanced by widespread scepticism on the part of its social actors, who are left puzzled in the attempt to understand where Europe’s movable epicentre lays. Presented with a situation of high deficit in civic participation, the EU has to respond by finding ways to promote new goals and generate common interests in its fields of action. Being the communication between Community citizens and institutions increasingly perched on the use of Information and Communication Technologies, the EUROPA website plays a leading role in arising consensus around the EU institutional apparatus. The paper sets out to investigate the different strategies employed in institutional discourse in order to encourage, via the new media, participatory democracy and the construction of a new system of collective values that EU citizens can identify with. Taking into account the theoretical framework set by computer-mediated communication studies and social semiotics, the study focuses on the comparison between two specific website sections (“The EU at a glance” and “Europe in 12 lessons”) in their 2005 and 2007 versions. The longitudinal analysis of the website’s textual and visual formulations - in terms of their different content and pragmatic aims - reveals the presence of new identity-formation features, mainly aimed at bringing together Europe’s diverse and increasing members on the basis of their common interests and more practical needs. The crisis of a Community thus far presented on conceptual and far too abstract cultural values is now leading to new communicative moves in institutional discourse. This corresponds to a process of ‘hybridisation’ of identity values: the EU is no longer promoted on the sole basis of its cultural and historical common roots. On the contrary, it is increasingly ‘advertised’ as a service-provider, able to offer benefits and advantages to all its citizens, who become conscious and demanding users of a machine providing services, funds and a better quality of life.

The Role of the New Media in the Promotion of Identity Frameworks

CALIENDO, GIUDITTA
2009

Abstract

The EU is briskly expanding before the concept of its identity actually finds a clear definition. The 2005 referendum fiasco in France and the Netherlands clearly revealed that the EU process of geographical widening is counterbalanced by widespread scepticism on the part of its social actors, who are left puzzled in the attempt to understand where Europe’s movable epicentre lays. Presented with a situation of high deficit in civic participation, the EU has to respond by finding ways to promote new goals and generate common interests in its fields of action. Being the communication between Community citizens and institutions increasingly perched on the use of Information and Communication Technologies, the EUROPA website plays a leading role in arising consensus around the EU institutional apparatus. The paper sets out to investigate the different strategies employed in institutional discourse in order to encourage, via the new media, participatory democracy and the construction of a new system of collective values that EU citizens can identify with. Taking into account the theoretical framework set by computer-mediated communication studies and social semiotics, the study focuses on the comparison between two specific website sections (“The EU at a glance” and “Europe in 12 lessons”) in their 2005 and 2007 versions. The longitudinal analysis of the website’s textual and visual formulations - in terms of their different content and pragmatic aims - reveals the presence of new identity-formation features, mainly aimed at bringing together Europe’s diverse and increasing members on the basis of their common interests and more practical needs. The crisis of a Community thus far presented on conceptual and far too abstract cultural values is now leading to new communicative moves in institutional discourse. This corresponds to a process of ‘hybridisation’ of identity values: the EU is no longer promoted on the sole basis of its cultural and historical common roots. On the contrary, it is increasingly ‘advertised’ as a service-provider, able to offer benefits and advantages to all its citizens, who become conscious and demanding users of a machine providing services, funds and a better quality of life.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11588/366264
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