Forschungsprojekt: Another legitimation crisis (2013-2014)

Grant: Viadrina Seed Money, 2013-2014

Sponsor: European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder)

Principle investigator: Amelie Kutter

Research assistants: Sophia Grunert

The Eurozone crisis and its management called into question the EU’s capacity for decision-making and cast doubt on its responsiveness and accountability towards various groups’ and members’ demands. In addition, it introduced new problems of legitimacy that concern relations between the centre and periphery of economic and political power in the European Union. For those countries that, for different reasons, struggle with the threat of sovereign default and use the European Stabilisation Mechanism (ESM), or equivalents operated by the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the crisis has also damaged the project of developmental catch-up that, since the 1970s, had been at the core of EU integration and expansion. A crucial rationale of European integration – cohesion and democratization for the sake of political stability – is about to lose its credibility. In countries under EU/IMF austerity conditionality, demands for alternative approaches to crisis management and EU economic integration have been mobilised and turned upside down landscapes of political competition.

The project takes this situation as a starting point to explore the reconfiguration of centre and periphery in the European Union since the emergence of the North-Atlantic financial crisis in 2007/2008. It takes discursive struggles over the adequate management of the Eurozone crisis as a subject of investigation via which to reveal such reconfiguration.

During the period funded by the Viadrina Seed Money grant, preparations will be made to run a full research project on the reconfiguration of centre and periphery in the European Union after the crisis. Literature on the topic of EU developmental catch-up will be reviewed and materials collected that are appropriate for a discourse study of struggles over crisis management and cohesion. In addition, existing corpora of financial commentary will be analysed with regard to the image that journalists constructed of Greece during the sovereign debt crisis.