The Eurosceptic Europeanization of public spheres: print and social media reactions to the 2014 European Parliament elections
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The present study tests the theoretical claim that Eurosceptics contribute to the Europeanization of national public spheres. Although advocating a renationalization of European politics, Eurosceptic parties can engender public media debates of transnational or European relevance. Through a comparative research design of two national cases (Sweden and Denmark), we examine the public discourse on the day following the 2014 European Parliament elections across three media: print, Twitter, and Facebook. Separating the discussions of Eurosceptic issues and actors from other topics of the election coverage, we find that the discourses about Euroscepticism exhibit a higher degree of Europeanization in four of the six media analyzed. Moreover, while we detect significant differences in valence between the Swedish and Danish press when reporting about the Eurosceptics, such national variation is much less pronounced on the social networking sites. The findings suggest, firstly, that Eurosceptics’ contestation of the EU may have the unintended effect of giving national media debates a stronger European dimension. Secondly, the study warrants moderate optimism for the Europeanization potential of social media vis-à-vis traditional media structures: Print media was more Europeanized in scope, whereas social media publics were more aligned in their sentiment toward Euroscepticism.
KeywordsEuroscepticism Political communication Facebook Twitter Sweden Denmark
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