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

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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
Issue number2
Early online date12 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


  • One Narrative or Several

    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in National Identities on 12/01/2017, available online:

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 159 KB, PDF document

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