The European Union in Cyberspace
Democratic Participation via Online Multilingual Discussion Boards
This chapter analyzes the European Union's “Futurum” discussion forum, which was intended to help close the gap (“democratic deficit”) 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. Various quantitative measures of the discussions are combined with a critical discourse analysis of a thread that focused on language policies. Although the debates were predominantly in English, if a thread started in a language other than English, linguistic diversity was more prominent. Discourse and argumentation analysis of multilingual threads showed that multilingual interaction was fostered, and that the debate about language policies was politically and ideologically charged. The analysis also illustrates that deliberation and compromise were achieved, in contrast to other recently investigated discussion forums.
Keywords: argumentation analysis, critical discourse analysis, democratic deficit, electronic democracy, European Union, gender differences, language policies, language shift, public sphere, topic choice
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.