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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
<mark>Original language</mark>English


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.