One narrative or several? Politics, cultural elites, and citizens in constructing a ‘New Narrative for Europe’

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Abstract

European Union institutions have cultivated narratives of European integration for a long time. For its 2013-14 ‘A New Narrative for Europe’ project, however, the European Commission for the first time explicitly used the ‘narrative’ label. Drawing on non-participant observation, semi-structured interviews and qualitative discourse analysis, this article contrasts the drafting process and the resulting declaration’s narrative structure and content with its discussion by citizens in a web-based consultation. The analysis shows that participating citizens forcefully demanded a bottom-up debate and advocated pluralistic perspectives. In these circumstances, elite-driven attempts at strengthening European identity and EU legitimacy are likely to be ineffective.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-230
JournalNational Identities
Volume19
Issue number2
Early online date12 Jan 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017

Keywords

  • Cultural Committee
  • European Commission
  • European identity
  • European Parliament
  • integration narratives
  • narrative pluralism

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