Discursively ‘Undoing’ and ‘Doing Europe’ the Austrian Way

Karner, Christian (2017) Discursively ‘Undoing’ and ‘Doing Europe’ the Austrian Way. In: National Identity and Europe in Times of Crisis. Emerald, pp. 37-59. ISBN 978-1-78714-514-6, 978-1-78714-513-9

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-78714-513-920171003

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Discursively ‘Undoing’ and ‘Doing Europe’ the Austrian Way
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Abstract

Literature on European and national identities displays a tension between occasional observations of an emerging ‘banal Europeanism’ (Cram, 2009) and a dominant strand (e.g. Guibernau, 2007; Toplak & Šumi, 2012) that questions the viability of European identifications vis-à-vis historically entrenched nationalisms, particularly in the context of the debt crisis and the resulting (re)nationalization of European politics. This chapter builds on recent work on Austrian European Union (EU) scepticism and its contestation (Karner, 2013) to examine instances – in diverse media coverage, readers’ letters to the editor of Austria’s most widely read newspaper, internet platforms, political essays and party political positions – of national identity negotiations in relation to the EU and as articulated in the context of successive European crises and the most recent elections to the European Parliament. The qualitative, thematic analysis of these wide-ranging materials developed here draws on two key concepts in critical discourse analysis, the notions of deixis (Billig, 1995) or ‘rhetorical pointing’ and of the topos or ‘structure of argument’ (e.g. Reisigl & Wodak, 2001), which are complemented by a third theoretical tool, namely the anthropological concept of ‘grammars of identity’ (Baumann & Gingrich, 2004). The resulting discussion reveals the uneasy coexistence of (critical) Europeanisms and various national reassertions in Austria’s public sphere and their respective discursive features. Further, the theoretical approaches synthesized cast light on internal diversities within political positions that are often too monolithicly classified as being ‘simply’ pro- or anti-European respectively. Instead, the analysis presented here reveals a spectrum of (at least five) competing positions.

Keywords:EU Scepticism, Deixis, Public sphere, Austria, Media
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Social & Political Sciences
ID Code:39573
Deposited On:14 Jan 2020 10:19

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