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Discourse and European Integration: European Integration Theory

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Abstract

This chapter examines discourse analysis as an approach to the study of European integration. It first provides an overview of the basic principles underlying discourse studies before tracing its philosophical roots. It then considers when and how discourse studies entered political science, international relations, and European integration studies. It explores three examples of bodies of work that have each operationalized discourse (analysis) in a particular way in order to make it speak to European integration: the first covers governance and political struggle; the second approach posits the discursive configuration of concepts of nation, state, and Europe as layered structures able to explain foreign policy options for a given state; and the third focuses on the project of European integration as a productive paradox. The chapter concludes with a case study on the mediatization and politicization of the refugee crisis in Austria from 2015-2016 by discussing the application of discourse analysis to the nature of the European Union enlargement process.