Towards a new European narrative

Examining the concept and notion of a European Republic - A socio-linguistic approach

Project Description

In 2016 the publication of Ulrike Guérot’s book on a prospective European Republic provoked various reactions reaching from enthusiasm to harsh critiques. This project focused on the citizen’s perspective regarding a prospective European Republic.

A large-scale survey conducted among European citizens examined the linguistic and emotional connotations of the “attitude object” European Republic and evaluated the approval of possible attributes such as prosperity, security and equal rights et cetera. The semantic differential, consisting of several pairs of adjectives, aimed to measure the perceptions of the citizens’ notion of a European Republic. Following a three-dimensional model this approach aims to capture attitudes including power, activity and evaluation as main dimensions. Even more metaphorical meanings are central when designing a semantic differential. Hence, this procedure is practicable in examining the full emotional and linguistic content of a subject through a quantitative analysis. This study has been developed and conducted in cooperation with the Institute of German Studies, University of Münster. The questionnaire has been established in an interdisciplinary manner and combined linguistic as well as sociological approaches to this issue.

The Online survey has been translated into 15 languages and spread all over Europe and has been financed by own resources. The aim was not to create a representative sample; instead our respondents cover a so-called European Civil Society grounded on youth organizations, trade unions, think-tanks, NPOs, church-related institutions and economic institutions. In conclusion the hypothesis arises that these institutions might serve as multipliers in a public discourse or even as opinion leaders when it comes to induce social and political change.

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