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The European Union in Cyberspace. Multilingual Democratic Participation in a virtual public sphere?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2006
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Language and Politics
Issue number2
Number of pages25
Pages (from-to)251-275
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish


This article analyses the European Union's Futurum discussion forum. The EU hoped that Futurum would help close the acknowledged gap between institutions and citizens by facilitating a virtual, multilingual, transnational public sphere. Futurum was both an interesting example of how the EU's language policies shape the structure of deliberative experiments and of a public debate about their relative value. We combine various quantitative measures of the discussions with a critical discourse analysis of a thread which focused on language policies. We found that although the debates were predominantly in English, where a thread started in a language other than English, linguistic diversity was more prominent. The discourse analysis showed that multilingual interaction was fostered, and that the debate about language policies is politically and ideologically charged.