ECREA TWG - Special panel

Special Panel of the ECREA Temporary Working Group "Why Europe? Narratives and Counter-narratives of European Integration"

Panel head: Alina Bârgăoanu

Pressured by what appears as a never-ending crisis, the European Union has to face multiple internal fractures and external pressures. Populism, nationalism and right-wing extremism are seeing resurgence in a number of states across Europe, with consequences on the decision-making process in the European Union. As it became a very familiar narrative in recent years, this phenomenon creates severe discontinuities from the previous EU communication paradigm. The dangers associated with extremism and populism in the political discourse is that in order to meet the increasingly Eurosceptic public opinion, many political leaders artificially oppose the “national interest” to the EU’s interest. Populist tendencies are worth exploring in the light of EU’s multiple difficulties, the immigrant crisis being only the latest one.

The popular mobilization that far right parties (through political figures like Le Pen in France, Gyöngyösi in Hungary or Petry in Germany) have adds new perspectives to the concept of populism and poses additional challenges to the very idea of European solidarity. Searching for the lowest common denominator (Rooduijn, 2013) of these movements, Euroscepticism and even anti-europeanism come to the forefront of the national action. Populism of the recent years, or the “new populism” (Canovan, 2006), finds in Euroscepticism one of its strongest arguments. The opposition towards the EU has become the playground for extremist actors, and the playground is getting larger with every missed step in action and communication belonging to the EU institutions.

This panel welcomes contributions related to the latest communication patterns in the EU, as depicted in the media and in the political discourse. Our aim is to promote a critical, yet constructive, approach on European integration. Contributions may include, but are not restricted to:

  • Narratives and counter-narratives of disruption: nationalism, populism and extremism
  • The multiple crises of the European Union: fuelling far right movements
  • Symbolical representations of intra-EU fractures: East-West/North-South divides and the “Brexit”
  • Public opinion in the EU
  • Populism, nationalism, and/or extremism across EU member states (the discourse of the political leaders, public opinion, media research, etc.)
  • Framing the European Union in turmoil contexts/li>
  • Social media and extremism
  • EU Communication as a means of resurrecting the “European idea”
  • Europeanization models and narratives – recent developments

A broad goal of this edited panel is to explore new theoretical and empirical frameworks that might explain how current communication practices, including media visibility and framing, public discourse, citizens’ perceptions and participation, influence the development of a European arena of communication.

Dr. Alina Bârgăoanu - short bio

Prof. Alina Bârgăoanu is the Dean of the College of Communication and PR at NUPSPA. As a full-time Professor, she delivers the following courses: EU Regional and Cohesion Policy, EU Communication Policy, Mass Media and Society. Her research interests revolve around European integration studies, with a particular focus on EU communication and European public sphere. She has authored 5 books and over 30 articles on EU communication related themes. She is a Jean Monnet Chair in the field of EU Communication and the European Public Sphere.

She has a Ph.D in Communication and she was a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Alabama (USA) in the field of communication and mass media research. Between 2008 and 2011, Prof. Bârgăoanu was the academic coordinator of the Jean Monnet Teaching Module “Communicating Europe”, successfully concluded in 2011. She is also a Board member of ACREA – an academic association containing 10 European universities that functions as a working committee within the EUPRERA group Communicating Europe to the Europeans. She is the President of the ECREA Temporary Working Group on Communication and the European Public Sphere.