Bashing Europe! – The construction of Europescepticism in Austria

Project Lead: Johannes Pollak
Team: Peter GrandGuido Tiemann, Daniel Gaubinger
Duration: May 2017 – December 2019
Funding: Anniversary Fund of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB)

The European Union (EU) is highly contested and is increasingly connected to new profound challenges like the refugee crisis, or the economic crisis in Greece, the Ukrainian crisis or the Euro crisis and the not predictable consequences of BREXIT.
Simultaneously, populist parties are on the rise and attribute political responsibility for those crises to Brussels. Therefore, stereotypes and resentments and prejudice against the European integration process are used to mobilize voters. The emotionalisation of politics is comparably easy in the case of the EU, because the institutional setup of the political system, the centre of political power, is far away and channels of political accountability are rather blurred and thus the attribution of political responsibility difficult. This research project focuses on political statements and political claims which use stereotypes and resentments against the EU and analyses which actors use such statements and how the EU is framed in order to maximize political mobilization. In this project political claims published in quality newspapers and tabloids as well as press releases of political parties, manifestos, parliamentary speeches and statements published by the certain actor via social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook will be collected. Methodologically, all these statements and documents will be coded using media-claims analysis and then analyzed with qualitative as well as quantitative methods. Beside the analytic-scientific goal of the research project, the project team will explicitly focus on instruments suitable for the ‘reification’ of the wider debate or discourse. Fact sheets about the topics of the collected statements, clarifying the background, the relevance and the state of discussion of those mentioned topics will be published regularly. These fact sheets will be publicly available via the project website.