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Framing the European Union
The Power of Political Arguments in Shaping European Integration

$120.00 (C)

  • Date Published: October 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107115170

$ 120.00 (C)
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About the Authors
  • What is the impact of political language upon public opinion towards European integration? Based upon media analysis, public opinion data and over 140 in-depth interviews with senior officials and campaigners, Ece Özlem Atikcan examines six EU referendum votes: in Spain, France, the Netherlands and Luxembourg on the European Constitution in 2005; and in Ireland on the Lisbon Treaty in 2008 and 2009. In all instances, polls show that the voting public favored the referendum proposals before the campaigns began, yet this initially positive public opinion melted away in three of these six cases. Why did this occur? Atikcan demonstrates that the key to the puzzle lies in political campaigns, where argument strategies can, at least temporarily, reverse public opinion enough to affect referendum outcomes. Providing a critical analysis of campaign strategy and EU communication policy, this book will be essential reading for academics, policymakers, politicians and future campaigners.

    • The first study to systematically and qualitatively analyze campaign arguments and strategies in six EU referendums
    • Based upon extensive interviews with European ministers, members of parliament, party strategists, civil society activists and EU officials
    • Avoids complex mathematical, spatial, statistical models to make findings accessible to a wide audience
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Failed national referendums on proposals to change EU treaties have been a major reason for declining European Union legitimacy and political crisis. Ece Özlem Atikcan proposes new ways to explain this. Using concepts from the social movement literature and excellent interview data, Atikcan elegantly refocuses our understanding not only of EU referendums, but also on the intimate workings of direct democracy."
    George Ross, Université de Montréal

    "An empirically rich and theoretically insightful study of direct democracy in action. Atikcan provides valuable insights into both the national and European political context of the major referendums of the past decade in Europe."
    Lawrence LeDuc, University of Toronto

    "Framing the European Union masterfully unites concepts from comparative politics, international relations, and sociology to reveal the central role of campaign dynamics in six crucial EU referendums. When 'no' campaigners used emotional appeals linking the EU vote with contentious issues such as immigration, they could overcome initially favorable public opinion and win the day. Destined to become a classic in EU studies."
    Juliet Johnson, McGill University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107115170
    • length: 342 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.63kg
    • contains: 64 b/w illus. 38 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The referendum conundrum
    2. Diffusion channels
    3. Spain: the quiet referendum
    4. France: the momentum referendum
    5. The Netherlands: the reversal referendum
    6. Luxembourg: the diffusion referendum
    7. Ireland: the double referendum
    8. Through the eyes of the European Union
    9. From champions to campaigners.

  • Author

    Ece Özlem Atikcan, Université Laval, Québec
    Ece Özlem Atikcan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, Laval University. Her research seeks to explain rapid shifts in public opinion towards the European Union, focusing particularly on referendum campaigns. The recipient of academic grants from the Quebec Research Council for her work on double referendums, she has also been awarded postdoctoral fellowships from the European University Institute, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Center for International Studies and Research at Université de Montréal.

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