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12 publications

"Methodological approaches in the study of collective action and political claim making in hard times"

Maria Kousis, Jochen Roose

Appeared In: Greek Sociological Review, Vol. 1, Issue 2-3, 57-75.

"Blame Shifting and Credit Claiming – Comparing Strategies of Communicative Self-Legitimation in the Eurozone Crisis Debate"

The recent Eurozone crisis has transformed into a dramatic crisis of democratic legitimacy that affects both domestic actors and European Union institutions. The withdrawal of popular support, increasing demands for accountability and a growing public attention put political actors under intensive legitimation pressure that has to be dealt with. In times of crisis, effective performance is an unreliable source of legitimacy; top-down strategies of communicative self-legitimation, such as blame shifting and credit claiming (Weaver 1986) gain importance. The self-portrait of actors in the discursive contest over responsibility attributions is likely to influence their perceived legitimacy. In this sense, the public sphere turns into a central arena for legitimacy contestation. Understanding politics as a discursive struggle between actors over public support we test in how far different degrees of legitimation pressure can explain the communication behavior of core political institutions (European Union institutions, national governments) during the crisis. This paper draws on empirical data on responsibility attributions in the Eurozone Crisis debate in Greek and German newspapers as well as Reuters news reports. The data stems from a collaborative Greek-German research project (GGCRISI) applying Discursive Actor Attribution Analysis. The analysis of responsibility attributions for the period between 2009 and 2013 allows approaching discursive strategies of self-legitimation via a detailed analysis of public communication patterns.

"Party Conflict in the Eurozone Crisis"

Moritz Sommer, Jochen Roose, Franziska Scholl, Dimitris Papanikolopoulos

Appeared In: Krieger, Tim; Neumärker, Bernhard and Panke, Diana (Eds.): The Eurozone Crisis – the Conflict-Theoretical Perspective. Baden-Baden: Nomos. Pp. 87 – 110.

"In the Eye of the Storm. European Commission and ECB in the ‘Battle’ of Attributing Responsibility in the Eurozone Crisis"

Jochen Roose, Moritz Sommer, Franziska Scholl


Paper presented at the panel “The Public Attribution of Responsibility in Politics: Structures of Public Sense Making” (organized by Jochen Roose, Maria Kousis) at the 22nd International Conference of Europeanists “Contradictions: Envisioning European Futures”. Council for European Studies, held at Sciences Po, Paris (07/2015).

"Attributing Responsibility in the Debate on the Eurozone Crisis: Comparing the Europeanization of Public Spheres in Greece and Germany"

Franziska Scholl, Moritz Sommer, Jochen Roose, Maria Kousis, Marina Papadaki, Kostas Kanellopoulos, Dimitris Papanikolopoulos

2014_Scholl_et_al_Attribution_of_Respons ...

Paper for the section "The European Socio-cultural Space and the New Global Order" at the Third Midterm Conference of the European Political Sociology Research Network of ESA hosted by EuroChallenge at the University of Copenhagen.

"Assessing legitimacy in the Southern Eurozone crisis through Discursive Actor Attribution Analysis of media reports, 2009-2013"

Moritz Sommer, Jochen Roose, Kostas Kanellopoulos, Maria Kousis, Franziska Scholl

2014_Sommer_et_al_Assessing_Legitimacy_i ...

The Eurozone crisis has transformed into a dramaticlegitimacy crisis for domestic as well as European political actors. The collapseofpublic support and increasing levels of public attention and societal conflict put political actors under intensive legitimation pressure that has to be dealt with. In the sense of Alexander (2006) who conceives of politics as a “discursive struggle” between actors over public supportwe test in how far legitimation pressure can explain communication behaviorduring the crisis.This paper draws on fresh empirical data on patterns of attributing responsibilityduring the Eurozone Crisis in Greece and Germany. The data stems from a collaborative Greek-German research project (GGCRISI) applying a novel empirical tool, Discursive Actor Attribution Analysis which allows approaching discursive strategies of self-legitimationvia adetailed analysisof publiccommunicationpatterns. First results from this research show that the crisis is more controversially debated in a country hit stronger by the crisis (Greece), producing a larger number of responsibility attributions and a higher share of causal attributions. Moreover, we show that higher levels of legitimation pressure translate into higher levels of public sphere activity and we can partially confirm that legitimation pressure leads to a greater relevance of positive self-presentation in the public sphere. (Paper for the section "Reshaping State and Society in Southern Europe" at the ECPR General Conference in Glasgow)

Subject: Crisis, political sociology, Greece, Germany, Discursive Actor Attribution Analysis, legitimacy, responsiveness

"Discursive Actor Attribution Analysis: A Tool to Analyze How People Make Sense of the Eurozone Crisis"

Jochen Roose, Maria Kousis, Moritz Sommer

2014_Roose_et_al_Discursive_Actor_Attrib ...

A crisis situation is marked by a fundamental questioning of routines, structures and established action patterns. The Eurozone Crisis is clearly a crisis in this sense. Making sense of such a crisis is pressing for a society and difficult at the same time as established interpretations are questioned as well. Analyzing the process of interpreting a crisis is of major importance because the interpretations pave the way to future decisions. At the same time it is a methodological challenge for a standardized approach because researchers cannot rely on already established arguments and interpretive frames. With the discursive actor attribution analysis, we propose a tool to analyze a contentious discourse without relying on established frames. Looking at attributions of responsibility as the backbone of making sense in a political contention we provide a structure for data collection without predefining combinations of arguments and evaluations to which the material is assigned. The discursive actor attribution analysis is based on content analysis tools from social movement studies, i.e. protest event analysis, frame analysis and political claim analysis, and analysis of responsibility attribution. It forms a new approach which has the advantage of including many of the merits of the aforementioned perspectives but does not rely on predefined argumentative structures. The paper introduces the discursive actor attribution analysis with reference to existing approaches and reports on some experiences in its application in a Greek-German project on analyzing the discourse on the Eurozone crisis. (Paper for the section "Citizens' Resilience in Times of Crisis" at the ECPR General conference in Glasgow)

Subject: Crisis, political sociology, Greece, Germany, Discursive Actor Attribution Analysis, research method, content analysis

"Die Griechen, die Deutschen und die Krise (GGCRISI). Projektvorstellung"

Jochen Roose, Franziska Scholl, Moritz Sommer

Appeared In: Forschungsjournal Soziale Bewegungen 27(1): 96-100.

"European Crisis Discourses – the Case of Germany"

Moritz Sommer

Appeared In: Murray-Leach, Tamsin (ed.): Crisis Discourses in Europe. Media EU-phemisms and Alternative Narratives. Background Paper for the Research Project 'The Subterranean Politics in Europe', Civil Society and Human Security Research Unit, London School of Economics and Political Science, pp. 11-15.