Call for papers: “Speaking Europe Abroad: Institutional Cooperation and the Making of EU’s Discourse”



Brussels – 14/15 February 2012


Both the EU and the EU cooperation in external affairs and foreign policy matters are contested discursive fields. The EU holds, indeed, a dual nature On the one hand, it is an extremely advanced experience of multilateral cooperation, in which member states pooled together, in an unprecedented way, resources, institutions and competences at the supranational level. On the other, one of the objectives of the EU is “to advance in a wider world”, “to attain objectives [the member states] have in common” (articles 21.1 and 1 of the Treaty of Lisbon). How do different national and institutional actors frame and coordinate their discourses towards the wider world on behalf of the EU? How is the EU’s inherent plurality reflected into institutional and international discourses? Is it possible to disentangle the voices converging in the EU’s choir?


The workshop aims to promote rigorous conceptualisations of the nexus between EU institutions and discourses. It welcomes original contributions aimed at answering the following questions:

1) How can we conceptualise the relationship between EU identities, institutions, and discourses? 2) How discourses have structured EU’s institutional evolution and how the EU’s institutional evolution has impacted its discourses? 3) What are the interactions between foreign policy discourses of different national and institutional actors in the post-Lisbon environment? 4) How do the various EU actors elaborate different discursive patterns with bilateral partners and within multilateral milieus?

The workshop invites participants to integrate in their analyses three main dimensions of the EU’s institutional and international discourse, namely:

a) The form and expression of discourses (embodied in semantic analysis);
b) The meaning and attributed meaning of discourses (relational and semiotic analysis); and
c) Actions associated to discourses, i.e. the language in use (van Dijck, 2001).

Participants are invited to present their contributions in draft format. Final versions of papers will largely benefit from the innovative formula of the WIRE Workshop (see below), which specifically aims to work on and discuss extensively all participants’ contributions. Papers already submitted for publication elsewhere will not be considered.


The workshop is part of the ULB/IEE research agenda in GR:EEN (Global Re-ordering: Evolution though European Networks), a European Commission FP7 project that studies the current and future role of the EU in an emerging multi-polar world (for more information, please, visit:


The “Speaking Europe Abroad Workshop” is going to take place the 14th February, from 10 am to the 15th February at 12.30-1 pm. The workshop is the third of a series of innovative Workshops on International Relations (WIRE). WIRE workshops have a unique format: the number of participants is strictly limited, full papers are distributed long before the event, and authors speak only at the closure of discussions. More specifically, the 15-20 participants receive eight selected papers one month prior to the event, as the format necessitates reading them beforehand. At the workshop, a discussant kicks off each session by briefly introducing a paper. Then, the group discusses it for approximately one hour, providing an opportunity for an extensive and in-depth discussion involving all participants. The last few words of each session are given to the author for a short response to comments and criticisms. The WIRE series are an opportunity for scholars to receive detailed feedback on ongoing research projects and to get acquainted in an informal setting.


Confirmed participants include profs Vivien Schmidt (Boston University), Ruth Wodak (Lancaster University), Knud Erik Jørgensen (Aarhus University), Ben Rosamond (University of Copenhagen) and Thomas Diez (University of Tübingen).


The best papers presented to the workshop will be selected to be part of an edited volume and a special issue in a leading international journal. Contacts with publisher and journal editors are already under way.


Please submit a paper proposal (500 – 800 words), a biographical note and contact details (email and University address) to Dr Caterina Carta (please, find the address below), by October the 10th 2012. Authors will be notified of the acceptance/rejection of their papers by October the 18th, once the review process is completed.

Selected participants will be invited to send a complete draft version of their papers (between 5.000 and 10.000 words) by January the 1st 2012 at the latest. Authors who fail to send their paper on time will be removed from the program and expenses will not be reimbursed.


The IEE/ULB will cover travel and accommodation expenses to all participants, both for the theoretically-oriented workshop in February and the policy-oriented workshop in August. No registration fee is required.


Prof. Jean-Frédéric Morin
REPI Research Group
Université libre de Bruxelles

Dr Caterina Carta
Email address:
Université Libre de Bruxelles

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