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Constructing European Identity through Mediated Difference: A Content Analysis of Turkey's EU Accession Process in the British Press

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Abstract:

An ever expanding and constantly intensifying mass-mediated environment means that we are surrounded by a variety of narratives that shape our sense of identity through mediated notions of difference. The lack of clear boundaries demarcating Europe have made discourses of differentiation particularly important for European identity formation. In the case of European identity, which has been defined historically in contrast to the Eastern frontier, the East continues to be used as an important point of reference for the construction of an opposing Other vis-à-vis Europe today. The empirical part of this research explores the role of mediated Othering in forging European identity, through a quantitative content analysis of British newspaper texts centred on Turkey with a European dimension; in particular, it looks at Turkey’s bid to join the EU. Results show that although the British press communicate an inclusive interpretation of European identity, it continues to portray Turkey in connection with persistent exclusivist perceptions.

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