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Home style: governments, parties, and the domestic presentation of European integration

Hunter, Tom (2021) Home style: governments, parties, and the domestic presentation of European integration. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004334


National governments are accused of being evasive and opportunistic in their presentation of European integration, thereby exacerbating the EU's crisis of legitimacy. Yet empirical evidence on how governments present Europe at home is limited to a small handful of qualitative studies. This thesis provides the first comparative, quantitative study of how governments - and the parties that form them - present Europe in their domestic public spheres, and what these presentational strategies mean for representation and legitimacy in the EU. Inspired by Fenno's 1978 classic, I call this their `home style'. Through innovative text as data methods combining machine translation, automated text analysis, and hand coding, I show that rather than adopting a nationalist home style marked by evasiveness and opportunism, governments have responded to EU politicization by adopting a home style I label technocratic-patriotic. Technocratic, in the sense that gov- ernments actually talk frequently about the EU, but avoid clear position taking on the issue by defusing it with complex language. Patriotic, in the sense that governments extensively claim credit for defending the national interest on the European stage, but in fact rarely blame or criticise the EU directly. I argue that despite not fitting the stereotypical image of evasive, opportunistic blame shifters, this technocratic-patriotic home style still poses deep problems for democratic accountability in Europe's multilevel system of governance. The thesis also contributes two resources to the academic community: EUCOSpeech, an original dataset of over 6,000 statements by national leaders in the aftermath of EU summits, and EUParlspeech, an original dataset of over 1 million references to European integration made in parliamentary speeches between 1989 and 2019.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2021 Tom Hunter
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Sets: Departments > European Institute
Supervisor: Hagemann, Sara and Hobolt, Sara

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