Coronavirus as a source of Eurosceptic narratives: Evidence from Central Eastern Europe

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Rok publikování 2022
Druh Další prezentace na konferencích
Fakulta / Pracoviště MU

Fakulta sociálních studií

Popis The paper investigates the utilisation of the coronavirus crisis by the Eurosceptic leaders in Visegrad Group (VG) counties. Our main argument is that the pandemic crisis reshaped and reinforced the Eurosceptic narrative frames in the region in two ways. First, as part of the ongoing polycrisis, it has contributed to maintaining Euroscepticism as a major and mainstream political narrative on the European Union. Second, it has helped to find new policy areas enriching the Eurosceptic arguments and vocabulary, such as Schengen cooperation, where the local leaders are attacking the mainstream policies of the European Union, using, e.g. securitising rhetorical strategies or blaming to frame the COVID crisis in Eurosceptic tone. The VG countries are not the only examples of similar Eurosceptic discursive treatment of pandemic crisis, yet they represent an excellent research sample for our analysis. The VG countries have reinforced Eurosceptic narratives in the course of the European polycrisis, finally yet importantly, due to illiberal leadership predominant in the region. Therefore, considering the path dependence established in the period of polycrisis, we could expect a more evident manifestation of the trends mentioned above. The paper explores analyses and compares the Eurosceptic narratives at the peak of the coronavirus crisis 2020-2021. We will analyse different texts produced by the selected politicians, such as official press releases, interviews, statements, or other longer and more profound pieces of communication produced by them since March 2020 (outbreak of the crisis in the region) and fall 2021 (termination of the delta mutation wave in the region). We will analyse the documents through the lens of narrative analysis. We prefer the analysis of narratives over discourse analysis since the latter is more suited to assessing individual actors’ discursive practices. A study of narratives was selected because it emphasises understanding the content and the discourse priorities expressed by the political actors. We focus on the main actors dealing with the pandemic crisis, which means the prime ministers of VG countries. Czechia, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia are parliamentary democracies. It means that both executive treatment and political communication of pandemic crisis are vested in the governments’ hands.
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