Recruiting media pseudo-information reportage to enhance unification: European Union Identity Myths, Israel vs. Romania

Abstract : One of the chief expectations from the information revolution is the creation of info-processing media reportage based upon new opportunities for social and cultural development. Yet sometimes it seems that, despite the flow (not to say flood) of information, media construction of knowledge and opinions still lies within cultural arenas dominated by myths and beliefs. Thus, although attitudes towards mythology have changed considerably in recent years, a wide range of new conceptions and approaches still shape our pseudo-informative world (Honko; 1984, Kirk; 1984, Rogerson et al., 1984). Cultural myths, like political ones, provide the imaginative impetus necessary for adopting the frameworks and characteristics of identity (Sarbin, 1997). At times the identity-shaping mythical story draws on sources celebrating the optimistic, hopeful and resilient human spirit (Girardelli, 2004; Buchanan, 2002). At other times, especially regarding disasters, myths become the basis for tragic identification (Nyusztay, 2002); at times the mythical story turns to technology in order to promote the shaping of identity; at other times, the mythical tale depicts science and technology as the enemy, arousing primeval fear and trembling (Caeton, 2007). The enlargement of the European Union in the past few years has brought new countries into the European arena, whose citizens have entered a new social order with disproportionate hopes of prosperity and wellbeing. These structural notions of the desire to belong and succeed might be tied to the mythology of everyday life (Berger, 2010), hence exerting an influence on each and every Romanian and Israeli. Our research has focused on a dual cultural study of EU news items retrieved from the most prominent online news sites in Israel and Romania (immediately following the postponement of Romania's Schengen integration) in the course of one month, namely January, 2011. The use of framing analysis made it possible to identify and compare the ways in which media coverage of the EU creates and shapes mythological narratives of European identity. The research population included 452 news items from the Israeli news sites Ha'aretz and Ynet, and 289 news items from the Romanian news sites Hotnews and Ziare.com. It seems that in both the Israeli and Romanian media, political leaders are the driving force behind the construction and de-construction of myths. Consistent with Degenaar (2007), our study revealed that the European myth operates in the service of power. We found a troubled image of internal inequities and political and economic disputes, as well as an imbalance between "old" and "new" member states. The notion of the "savior" myth (which was dominant in the Romanian media before and immediately after that country's integration into the EU in 2007) was replaced by the myth of the 'punisher'. The "old" European Union, the "A-Team" composed of old member states appeared as the deciding factor in the fate of new member states, sometimes going against treaties that had already been agreed upon. Using the "powerlessness" frame, Romanian authorities and citizens are portrayed as discriminated against and weak, incapable of defending themselves and at the mercy of the great powers, Germany and France. Thus, a disenchantment myth is in the making, disillusioning the population and depriving it of its hopes of well-being and prosperity. On the other hand, regarding the general image of the EU, the old myth of a unified and Europe that is fair to all its members has lost its power, giving way to a newly divided Europe based on political strategies, economic inequality and different integration levels. A fragmented European Union is being born, in which old state members, economically prosperous and balanced, form an elite core, around which are situated other, less powerful, satellite nations. This "outsider" perspective still preserves the general myth of the savior: the European Union as having brought economic or political salvation to countries affected by the economic crisis in recent years or the European Union as a mediator prepared to intervene in the IsraeliPalestinian dispute. According to the Israeli media, its role as savior allows the EU to construct a re-creation myth. By adopting a symbolic framework of the ideal world in which we wish to live, the Israeli media foster a fundamental trust in the Union. Largely, they describe its role as no less than reorganizing the Israeli cosmos. Bringing together the two perspectives has allowed us to determine that pseudo-informative reportage regarding the EU has created a dual image of strength and weaknesses. Viewed from the outside (as in the Israeli media), the EU is a mythical savior at the heart of a re-creation myth, while from the inside, from the perspective of a newly integrated country such as Romania, the EU image takes the form of a disenchantment myth featuring a punisher who sits judgment on the fate of its weaker members.
Type de document :
Communication dans un congrès
Communiquer dans un monde de normes. L'information et la communication dans les enjeux contemporains de la " mondialisation "., Mar 2012, France
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Soumis le : mardi 2 juillet 2013 - 18:27:49
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Mira Moshe, Nicoleta Corbu. Recruiting media pseudo-information reportage to enhance unification: European Union Identity Myths, Israel vs. Romania. Communiquer dans un monde de normes. L'information et la communication dans les enjeux contemporains de la " mondialisation "., Mar 2012, France. 〈hal-00840690〉

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