Brexit’s a Priori in Common Sense Journalistic Discourse

Thursday, July 13, 2017
John McIntyre - Room 201 (University of Glasgow)
Luciana Radut-Gaghi , LSH, University of Cergy-Pontoise
European media have faced an unprecedented situation in the months before the Brexit-vote. We analyze the strategies that journalists – as carriers of common sense – chose to face this unusual European situation, showing how “continental” journalists framed the event and leveled out the room of possible interpretations.

On a theoretical level, we rely on the Simmel model to analyze this reality: to explain the phenomenon, journalists relied on "implied proposals" that mobilize a priori of ordinary knowledge. As "witness" the journalist completes the event to give it meaning (Simmel, 1900, 1923, Boudon 1990).  For the continental mainly French media, we identified four a priori: a bilateral negotiation EU-UK (although the UK is part of the EU), the evaluation of the four conditions set by the UK to the EU (without much discussion of their legitimacy), the In OR the Out (no middle way), the Out as a bad thing, as inconceivable (in the spirit of an immutable EU).

To conduct this analysis, we rely on the LEMEL project – L’Europe dans les médias en ligne -a comparative research project spanning over 8 European countries, which analyzes the images of Europe in online media. The corpus is gathered in the two most important on line versions of national mainstream newspaper (7900 articles collected in a full period of four weeks in 2014 and 2016, data to come for 2016).

  • CES 2017 Glasgow Brexit an.pdf (95.8 kB)