DCU awarded €2.87 million euro grant to research media in European politics

Jamie Mc Carron

The European Commission has allocated close to €3 million to DCU researchers as part of a project that will study how media discourse impacts the public’s opinion on the European Union.

DCU’s team will be led by Dr Tanya Lokot of the School of Communications, with the team also including Dr Roderick Flynn and Dr Alessio Cornia, also from DCU’s School of Communications. The overall project will be led by Dr Lokot’s team and begin in January 2021.

 The research aims to analyse how europeanisation, the phenomenon of a cultural European identity within the EU, benefits or suffers from mediatisation.

Mediatisation is the media’s shaping and framing of the processes and conversations in political communication.

Dr Tanya Lokot spoke to the College View about how the study “MEDIATISED EU: Mediatised Discourses on Europeanisation and Their Representations in Public Perceptions,” will be conducted.

“Debates about the European project and the idea of europeanisation often emerge between the policy makers, the media and the public. We plan to analyse existing media coverage, interview policymakers, media editors and journalists, and also run surveys with the public to understand how europeanisation is portrayed, presented and perceived across our seven countries,” siad Lokot.

The research is expected to take four years, with DCU’s team comparing their findings with Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Hungary, Georgia and Estonia.

Although the UK will not be a subject of focus for the study, Dr Lokot expects Brexit to be a key issue.

“In our work we’ll be drawing on other Brexit-related research, for instance, produced by our colleagues in DCU’s Brexit Institute. But europeanisation as a concept also includes other dimensions – cultural, economic, political, and we hope to gain deeper insight into how these play out in different European countries,” she said.

The international partners for the research led by DCU’s team are the Center for Social Sciences in Tbilisi, Nebrija University in Madrid, Tallinn University of Technology, University of Coimbra, the European Neighbourhood Council in Brussels, and Corvinus University of Budapest. 

As the comparative results from each participant country are finalised close to the end of 2025, they will be used to develop policy recommendations for legislators in their individual countries, as well as on a continent-wide scale.

The use of disinformation will also be examined by Dr Lokot’s team, and she expects the project to have “important implications for European diplomatic relations, strategic communication and security policy.”

Jamie Mc Carron

Image Credit: Sam O’Neill