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Combining the Antagonistic: a critical discourse analysis of the Lisbon strategy

Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen
  • Social Sciences
  • Law And Political Science
  • Political And Administrative Sciences
  • Statsvetenskap
  • FöRvaltningskunskap
  • SamhäLlsvetenskaper
  • Critical Discourse Analysis
  • The European Union
  • The Lisbon Strategy
  • Comparative Reference Group
  • Normative Reference Group


In the light of the debate about the nature of the European Union, the current study proposes to look at how the EU is perceived by its policy-makers. The purpose of the study is to identify how the EU is understood in normative terms. Another aim of the study is to speculate as to why this kind of understanding is preferred in the documents. In order to achieve that, the study employs theoretical concepts within reference group theory and through means of critical discourse analysis, conducts an examination of the political documents from the launch of the Lisbon strategy and up to initiation of the Wim Kok report. Through lenses of critical discourse analysis, the study arrives at a conclusion that two grand discourses are combined in the documents. The grand discourses of the EU as a firm and the EU as Europa are then discussed as to represent comparative and normative reference groups. Implications of the combination of these conflicting reference frames is then related to literature on the Lisbon strategy as well as to the purpose of the project called the EU.

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