The European Union in cyberspace

Ruth Wodak, Scott Wright

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter analyzes the European Union's "Futurum" discussion forum, which was intended to help close the gap ("democratic deficit") between institutions and citizens by facilitating a virtual, multilingual, transnational public sphere. Futurum was both an interesting example of how the EU's language policies shape the structure of deliberative experiments and of a public debate about their relative value. Various quantitative measures of the discussions are combined with a critical discourse analysis of a thread that focused on language policies. Although the debates were predominantly in English, if a thread started in a language other than English, linguistic diversity was more prominent. Discourse and argumentation analysis of multilingual threads showed that multilingual interaction was fostered, and that the debate about language policies was politically and ideologically charged. The analysis also illustrates that deliberation and compromise were achieved, in contrast to other recently investigated discussion forums.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Multilingual Internet
Subtitle of host publicationLanguage, Culture, and Communication Online
EditorsBrenda Danet, Susan C. Herring
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9780199788248
ISBN (Print)9780195304794
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Argumentation analysis
  • Critical discourse analysis
  • Democratic deficit
  • Electronic democracy
  • European union
  • Gender differences
  • Language policies
  • Language shift
  • Public sphere
  • Topic choice

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