Eurole ülemineku legitimatsioon valitsuskommunikatsioonis ja ajakirjanduses



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The aim of this Master’s thesis, entitled “Legitimation of Euro adoption in government communication and press”, is to analyse the government’s role in communication regarding the euro, how the transition to the euro has been reported in the Estonian press and who are the participants in communication. The main focus is on observing the legitimation of the topics related to the euro changeover in government communication and press. In the introductory part of this thesis, an overview of the euro is given as well as the social and communication context of the euro adoption. As research in this thesis is in the area of political communication, the theoretical part also deals with definitions of political communication and the focus is on the Meadow’s political communication model and the Estonian political culture. In addition, the focus is also on the definition of legitimation and the public sphere, these are mainly based on Habermas’ theories. In the empirical starting point of the thesis, the main results of euro-related opinion surveys are given. The empirical part of the thesis contains both content analysis of media texts and discourse analysis of government communication and media texts. During the survey, important euro-related key events are also mapped. The thesis is based on the following main research questions: a) What communication tools are used by the government to legitimise the euro adoption i.e. what are the main events and key points of the government communication related to the euro? What topics, problems and values are used by the government to initiate the subject of the euro adoption? What are the main euro-related discourses?; b) How is the euro adoption reported in the Estonian media? What is the frequency and progress of this topic in daily newspapers and how is it related to government communication? Has a dialogue emerged between the government and the public? What are the euro-related topics, problems, values and discourse in the media? Who are involved in this communication? The main conclusions of the thesis are the following: Considering the timeline and discourse analysis of government communication, the government’s aim for legitimation becomes evident in the following key aspects: fulfilling Maastricht criteria at the institutional level, improving Estonia’s reputation in identity questions and repositioning it in the European context as well as decisions on improving the government budget position. Despite the formal legitimation of the purpose of the euro (approval in the referendum to join the EU, support in opinion surveys) in its communication, the government constantly maintains the rightness and necessity of joining the Eurozone, which appears to be the basis of its entire legitimation strategy. As a governmental tool of legitimation during discourse analysis, appealing to such positive values as solidarity, unity, trust and reliability, Estonia’s uniqueness and distinctness, capability and responsibility were used – these values are difficult to doubt. At the same time, a key element of the legitimation strategy is to use positive identity questions, highlighting Estonia’s position and capability, compared to other countries. As a result of the content analyses becomes evident that the amount of newspaper articles notably varied each month depending on external events and government action and communication. Also the dominant topics related to the euro remain generally the same as in government communication. Compared to government communication the attitudes, values and voices of the media discourses were broad-ranging. In the thesis, two hypotheses were raised. The first is that the government is trying to legitimise the strategy of overcoming the economic crisis using the euro. This was not directly proven. It became clear that the government did not try to legitimise the painful solutions using a euro target, but that this was sensed so by the public. The other hypothesis is that the active and agenda-setting half of the legitimation process of decisions and actions connected to the euro is the government and that the role of the media in representing public expectations and demands remains one-sided. This was partly proven. It was found that in comparing the content and discourse analysis and constructing a timeline of communication of the topics that dominated the press, there was a general correlation between events and the topics initiated by the government. Also, a certain correlation emerged between the frequency of topics raised by the government and by the media. Despite the wide reflection of euro subjects in the media, including different communication actors, several aspects raised in the opinion surveys were not treated recurrently and dominantly. As communication regarding the transition to the euro will be a topical issue in Estonia over the coming year, the empirical data gathered in the framework of this thesis and the analysis of it enables to give additional input to the government’s euro-communication strategy. As an expansion of this subject, several questions that have yet to be analysed which are related to euro-communication could be examined: efficiency of the communication strategy in Estonia; the impact of the economic crisis on Estonian citizens’ attitudes towards the euro; and the role and attitudes of media and other communication partners in shaping euro topics, etc.


magistritööd, rahasüsteemid, euro, euroala, liitumine, Eesti, legaliseerimine, poliitiline kommunikatsioon, suhtekorraldus, ajakirjandus