National Framing of EU-related events
This research project examines the construction of reality in different national (public) spaces. It aims to describe the main features of the national framing of social events and to create a model for multidi mensional analysis. It is widely expected that with a common set of events (a true reality) a similar interpretation (or a universal interpretation) should be expected. National differences could namely be justified by communi cation problems or problems with the journalistic coverage. This is a dominant approach in various EU institutions, strongly promoting a common interest and a common agenda. At the same time, national media institutions tend to cover similar topics that are clearly interpreted in different ways. The term framing was originally introduced, to theorize the organi zation of fragmentary items of experience or information (see Goffman, Tuchman). Typically, framing analysis embraces one essential marker (such as a discrimination frame, a Holocaust frame, etc.). According to Entman, framing involves selection and salience. Framing could be first of all handled as a tool for moral evaluation. But there are numerous fac tors that can determine national framing. National interpretation is a complex multidimensional instrument; among the elements involved are: modality, actors described and quoted, various discursive strategies such as justification, perpetuation or dismantling (Wodak). To a great extent, framing processes mark varying degrees of commitment to truth, necessity or intermediation between categorical assertion and denial i.e. modality, which is defined as a relationship between authors (jour nalistic coverage) and representations. There are also various (national) representations of time and space. Hypothetically there are different national public spaces with certain ‘sacred areas’ of interpretation, that have a small level of dialogicality (limited relations between different approaches) and areas, which are considered as a subject to strong criticism (obvious dialogicality). My critical qualitative analysis of journalistic texts is based on the media coverage of a EU-summit. In December 2005, heads of state and governments gathered to discuss the future budget of the Union. A draft for the budget was proposed by the British presidency of the EU; it was vividly criticized by all other member states and clearly different national positions were revealed shortly before the Summit. The cross- national research is carried out on a sample of articles in national news papers of Germany, France and Great Britain. Those countries are selected as different national spaces, firstly determined by different languages and media cultures.