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EU crises and integrational panic: the role of the media

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journal contribution
posted on 10.06.2015, 15:48 by Mai'a K. Davis Cross, Xinru Ma


Even a casual look at the history of the European Union (EU) since its inception in 1957 shows that at numerous junctures through its development the EU (or European Economic Community/European Community [EEC/EC] in its previous incarnations) has been portrayed as being in severe crisis. Of course, the EU continues to exist today, and it is arguably stronger and more integrated than ever. This article focuses on the role of international media coverage in framing certain events as crises and seeks to draw out a pattern across three prominent case studies: the 2003 Iraq crisis; 2005 constitutional crisis; and 2010–12 eurozone crisis. Detailed media content analysis shows that the international media was not just reporting on crises, it was framing challenges and setbacks to EU integration as existential threats. The authors introduce the concept of integrational panic to conceptualize the media's role in potentially contributing to the social construction of EU crises.