The use of social media in EU policy communication and implications for the emergence of a European public sphere

Barberio, Vitaliano ORCID: and Kuric, Ines and Mollona, Edoardo ORCID: and Pareschi, Luca ORCID: (2020) The use of social media in EU policy communication and implications for the emergence of a European public sphere. Investigaciones Regionales - Journal of Regional Research, 46 (1). pp. 111-129. ISSN 2340-2717

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Cohesion policy is the European Union’s (EU) main investment policy and seeks to strengthen economic, social and territorial cohesion. While accomplishments in this regard are constantly measured, European citizens are not always aware of the policy’s impact and the role the EU plays therein. This is especially relevant as the communication of EU policies is central to the emergence of a European public sphere, an acknowledged condition for European integration. In this paper, we aim at advancing research in this regard through the analysis of cohesion policy communication on the social media channels of ten Local Managing Authorities (LMAs) responsible for managing and communicating structural funds at the local level. By building on a bottom-up construction of shared meaning structures through semi-automatic analysis techniques, we make the following three observations: first, social media communication is indicative of "horizontal Europeanization"; second, Europeanization occurs both in the form of the spontaneous amalgamation of shared discontent expressed by citizens and the institutionalization of top-down EU communication measures adopted by LMAs; and third, a cluster of topics articulated internationally and showcasing a negative attitude towards the EU funding scheme suggests that, counter-intuitively, Euroscepticism seems to facilitate the emergence of a European public sphere.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The authors acknowledge the financial support received from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement number 693529 – PERCEIVE (Perception and Evaluation of Regional and Cohesion Policies by Europeans and Identification with the Values of Europe).
Divisions: Forschungsinstitute > Urban Management and Governance > Meyer
Version of the Document: Published
Depositing User: Gertraud Novotny
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2020 11:56
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2020 06:38
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