The conference aims at theoretically approaching and empirically observing the linkage between the discursive constructions of Europe and their contexts of production/reception.
Discourse & Context
The theoretical question on the relation between text and context dates back to the early decades of the 20th century and the distinction between Langue and Parole proposed by De Saussure (1916). The various approaches that have been developed ever since, bring out three main features of discursive contexts (Flowerdew 2014): (a) contexts are dynamic since the relation between discourse and context is interactive. While the production of discourse is constrained by elements of the context, any utterance produced within a context, in its turn, transforms and renews the context (Fairclough 1992); (b) contexts are subjective, since participants in a given context may interpret their situation differently (Van Dijk 2006); (c) contexts are multilevel, acting at micro, meso and macro levels, thus the context needs to be explored within and between discourses, in the situation of production and reception of discourse, as well as in the broader societal structures (Wodak 1996). In this perspective, the recontextualisation of discourse (Bernstein 1996), as constitutive of social action in various policy areas within Europeanisation and globalisation processes, is fruitful in a discourse-analytical approach (Chouliaraki and Fairclough 1999; Reisigl and Wodak 2009; Wodak and Fairclough 2010; Krzyżanowski 2016).
Discourses, Contexts and Europe
The Discourse Analysis of texts and talks related to Europe is yet to be developed in a systematic way. However, most current studies seem to be in accordance with the diversity and the dynamic of the discursive constructions of Europe. They are constantly being reproduced and recontextualised in relation to the socio-political and cultural context, as well as to economic transformations within States, the EU and the world (Gobin 2013; Krzyżanowski 2010; Trimithiotis 2016). Beyond the consideration of methodological issues, the conference wishes to open the discussion on the current expressions of relations between discourses on Europe and context(s), on their stability and/or transformation in time and space. In recent years, the European Union and European countries have been facing major challenges that are contextually defined, often taking different forms depending on countries, sectors, fields, technologies, media types, audiences and discourse genres. For instance, the rise of populism, conspiracy theories and hate speech, but also of solidarity, linked in particular to the refugee issue, youth unemployment and the general impact of the economic crisis, doubled by the Covid-19 health crisis are only some of those challenges Europe encounters today. How do these events impact the discourses related to Europe? Are there any new relations being established between discursive constructions of Europe and their context(s)? Do these events allow or even reinforce the pursuit of common horizons? Do they open up avenues for contestation, resistance, fragmentation and/or the emergence of alternatives? How are such discursive events recontextualized when viewed from the perspective of European overseas territories and postcolonial spaces? What are the means by which these relations between discourse and context(s) are constructed in the current configuration of Europe?
The conference provides a space for critical discussion on these yet-to-be thoroughly investigated aspects of the discursive construction of Europe. The conference comprises contributions from different fields of research on the discursive dimension of Europe, such as studies on media content/production, political and electoral communication, social and economic policy, culture, educational processes, conflict (trans)formations, institutional and public action, among others. The contributions develop analytical approaches and methods for understanding the relation between discourse and context on four main levels of analysis:
A. Macro context: What are the main similarities/differences between discourses on Europe in different societal contexts? How do social, political, economic, cultural, technological characteristics influence the discursive construction of Europe? How can discourses on/of Europe impact these contexts?
B. Meso context: How does the process of production/reception affect the discourse on/of Europe? What is the impact of institutional and organisational features? How is the discursive construction of Europe related to the specificities of professional sectors, working conditions, gender relations, media type, etc.?
C. Co-text: Does the type/genre of discourse have any impact on the discursive construction of Europe? How do discourses on Europe vary depending on whether they are descriptive, analytical, critical, humoristic, etc.?
D. Multi-level: Comparative perspectives on how can recontextualisation at national, institutional or local level explain distinct and different responses to common problems? What are the relations between context, discourse and process affecting the discursive production? What methods/indicators can be associated to the study of recontextualisation of discourse?