The Politicization of Eurozone Crisis Policies in Greece and Germany – Insights from the Public Attribution of Responsibility Between 2009 and 2014

Thursday, April 14, 2016
Assembly G (DoubleTree by Hilton Philadelphia Center City)
Moritz Sommer , Freie Universität Berlin
Jochen Roose , Willy Brandt Center for German and European Studies, University of Wroclaw
The Eurozone crisis contributes to unforeseen levels of public attention for European affairs and to contentious debates on a European scale. Whereas the general argument of this increasing politicization is widely accepted, empirical assessments of the antagonism between creditor and debtor countries are missing. Building on a Greek-German research project, this paper compares the politicization of European crisis politics in newspaper reporting in Germany and Greece between 2009 and 2014.

In how far does the politicization of Eurozone crisis policies differ in Germany and Greece and over time? What explains these differences?

Politicization describes a societal process of transforming seemingly a-political matters into the objects of public controversy which involves an increasing issue salience, an expansion of debates beyond a narrow circle of actors and processes of actor polarization. Degree and direction of these three sub-processes are described and explained by two dimensions, derived from the political opportunity structure approach and the deprivation approach: Firstly, the institutionalized openness of the political system and secondly, the socio-economic and political crisis impacts. First results surprisingly suggest a strong but rather domestically oriented politicization of Eurozone crisis policies in Greece with relatively little reference to European institutions.

Beyond its empirical contribution, the paper proposes an innovative operationalization of politicization which focuses on the contested debate about the public attribution of responsibility. Claims about who is responsible for failures and successes in politics form the backbone of a political discourse and are the core unit of the quantitative content analysis applied in this research.

  • Sommer & Roose_CES 2016_Politicization in Greece and Germany.pdf (1.2 MB)