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

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2006
JournalJournal of Language and Politics
Journal number2
Volume5
Number of pages25
Pages251-275
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

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.