To Justify Globalization: Patterns of Ideological Conflict in the Public Sphere

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Gilbert Scott Building - Room 656A (University of Glasgow)
Pieter de Wilde , NTNU Trondheim
Recent societal conflicts over immigration, free trade and EU membership testify to the controversiality of globalization in Europe and its strong consequences for the European Union. Brexit, the refugee crisis, and the debate around TTIP are clear illustrations of the salience of a rising globalization cleavage in Western Europe. As Trump combines arguments against immigration with arguments against free trade, we find reflection of the same cleavage across the Atlantic. Clearly, political entrepreneurs defending and challenging an integrated world with open borders seek to persuade citizens to support their views. How do they present their arguments? How do they justify their positions? These questions are addressed in this paper based on a large original dataset of claims on European integration, trade, migration and other globalization related issues. It presents evidence for structural differences in argumentation between those favoring and those challenging open borders. The implication is that debates about globalization become increasingly ideological, further strengthening the emergence of a structural cleavage dividing Western societies.