Seminar: Enhancing or Deflecting Public Accountability? The Language of European Commission Press Releases 1985–2018 - Christian Rauh (WZB Berlin)
14:00-15:00 (IST) Wednesday, November 11.
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Abstract: Against the public politicisation of European integration and the legitimacy challenges that this involves, strategic communication efforts of supranational actors have recently attracted considerable attention. Do EU executives clarify and justify their responsibilities when facing public criticism or do they engage in position blurring and obfuscation instead? This paper argues that supranational political communication enhances public accountability only to the extent that it signals clarity, agency, and choice to the wider citizenry. These concepts are operationalised with linguistic indicators on the term and grammar level which allows measuring them across an original corpus of all 43,760 English press releases issued by the European Commission between 1985 and 2018. Describing and systematically comparing these language patterns provides a novel perspective on whether and how Europe’s central supranational organization responded communicatively to the varying levels of EU politicisation in the recent decades.
About the speaker: Dr. Christian Rauh is a senior research fellow and deputy director of the research unit ‘Global Governance’ at the WZB Berlin Social Center. His research primarily focusses on the drivers and consequences of the public politicization of the European Union and other international institutions. To this end Christian often uses, develops, and teaches text-as-data methods and resources. More information is available at www.christian-rauh.eu