What does it mean to be an EU citizen? How news media construct civic and cultural concepts of Europe

Sanna Inthorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The official accession criteria for EU membership define the Union as a civic community. Yet, in the debate over enlargement the definition of ‘Europeanness’ remains complex and EU membership at times becomes a question of cultural affinity. Arguing that the media play a key role in shaping European identities, this study explores how British and German press coverage since 2001 ascribes both civic and cultural components to EU membership. Its analysis of the representation of Turkey and Central and Eastern European countries reveals a complex and context-dependant concept of European identity. While overall we can see a civic and culturally inclusive concept, when it comes to Turkey cultural criteria appear as well. Whereas Central and Eastern European countries are presented as ‘natural’ members of the European family, Turkey remains its ‘other’ and is excluded on the basis of its cultural identity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-90
Number of pages20
JournalWestminster Papers in Communication & Culture
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006

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