The European Union in cyberspace: Multilingual democratic participation in a virtual public sphere?

Ruth Wodak, Scott Wright

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    52 Citations (Scopus)


    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)251-275
    Number of pages25
    JournalJournal of Language and Politics
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2006

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