Europe in conflict – an analysis of European discourses in light of the Ukrainian crisis
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The main goal of this thesis is to create understanding on how the EU sees the events in Ukraine and creates itself through the articulation of a self and other. This official discourse, articulated through the readings of EU political elite, is seen as hegemonic and discourses radically opposing it as counter-hegemonic discourses. To achieve this a poststructuralist approach to discourse, language and identity is adopted. The results of the analysis show that by the official discourse, the events in Ukraine are depicted in a way as to offer legitimacy for the EU and the values underpinning it. At the same time these events are seen as threat to the very idea of Europe. Within the official discourse, the identity of the EU is created through a linking to the values underpinning the Union and though a differentiation from Russia. Meanwhile the counter-hegemonic discourses were both very similar in the way in which they viewed Europe, Russia and the events in Ukraine constructing a radically different identity for Europe. The findings of this comparative analysis stretch far beyond the discourses emanated from the actors analysed. They are illustrative of deep splits within EU identity, with Ukraine being one of catalysts. It is possible to further research the identity construction and antagonisms in the EU though other topics, such as accepting refugees from Africa, or by choosing other actors, such as far-left political parties, leaders of member states, or by adopting different research methods, such as Fairclough’s Critical Discourse Analysis.