A Primordial Attachment to the Nation? French and Irish Workers and Trade Unions in Past EU Referendum Debates

23 Pages Posted: 1 May 2020

See all articles by Élodie Béthoux

Élodie Béthoux

University of Paris 10 Nanterre

Roland Erne

University College Dublin, School of Business

Darragh Golden

University College Dublin (UCD)

Date Written: September 2018

Abstract

We aim to contribute to a better understanding of the dynamics that are driving EU politicization and the rising Euroscepticism of workers and unions in the public sphere. One explanation frames the rise in Euroscepticism in cultural terms, emphasizing workers’ alleged primordial attachment to their nation. A second uses socioeconomic frames, linking growing Euroscepticism to the increasingly neo‐liberal direction of the EU. The weight of these competing frames in the referendum campaigns on the EU Constitution in France and the Lisbon Treaty and the Fiscal Treaty in Ireland cannot be measured easily, as the categorization of a phrase as socioeconomic or cultural is in itself subject to political classification struggles. We therefore presents the findings of an inductive lexical analysis of all Irish Times, all Le Monde and all worker‐ or union‐related articles published in almost all national media outlets during the mentioned referendum debates. This was made possible by the Alceste software package that allowed us to analyse very large corpuses of articles inductively. Our analysis reveals that socioeconomic terms dominated policy debates in both countries. The findings question existing EU politicization studies that were measuring the salience of different frame types by deductive analysis.

Suggested Citation

Béthoux, Élodie and Erne, Roland and Golden, Darragh, A Primordial Attachment to the Nation? French and Irish Workers and Trade Unions in Past EU Referendum Debates (September 2018). British Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 56, Issue 3, pp. 656-678, 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3589647 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjir.12303

Élodie Béthoux (Contact Author)

University of Paris 10 Nanterre ( email )

Room G301, Building G
92001 Nanterre Cedex, 92001
France

Roland Erne

University College Dublin, School of Business ( email )

Belfield, Dublin 4 4
Ireland

HOME PAGE: http://www.ucd.ie/indrel/staff/rolanderne/

Darragh Golden

University College Dublin (UCD) ( email )

Belfield, Dublin 4 4
Ireland

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