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The Communicative Setting of the Eurovision Song Contest

  • Heiko Motschenbacher
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Part of the Postdisciplinary Studies in Discourse book series (PSDS)

Abstract

The ESC looks back on a history of 60 years in which the competition has grown to become a European institution in its own right. This status has also been officially recognised, as in 2016 the ESC received the Charlemagne Medal for its contribution to European unification and identity formation. Originally created by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU ) with the aim to re-unite the war -ridden Europe of the 1950s through a popular music television format, the event is today more popular than ever before and continues to be an important driving force for European integration and identity formation. The TV broadcast of the ESC 2015 had a market share of 39.6 % (in the youngest age group, 15–24 years, even of 44.8 %), with individual countries showing remarkably high viewing rates (85.6 % in Sweden [SWE] , 95.9 % in Iceland [ISL] ). In total, the contest attracted 197 million viewers. Audience segments show a roughly equal distribution across age, occupational and social-class groups (Le Guern 2000). This makes the ESC a powerful device to unite not just people from various cultures but also from diverse social backgrounds in an endeavour to celebrate Europe. Especially since the implementation of public televoting in 1997, the popular culture mediated access to European identity formation of the ESC can be seen to possess a strong bottom-up, affectively anchored element (see e.g. Zaroulia 2013), which contrasts markedly with the top-down approach to Europeanisation embodied by the EU .

Keywords

European Union Country Politics Message Success Country Eurovision Song Contest Song Contest 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heiko Motschenbacher
    • 1
  1. 1.Goethe-University Frankfurt am MainFrankfurtGermany

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