Volume 3, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1569-2159
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9862
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Ireland’s rejection of the Nice Treaty in a referendum in June 2001 led to intense media discourse about this “no” vote and speculation about the outcome of the second referendum to ratify the Treaty in October 2002. The German media, traditionally positive in their portrayal of Ireland, were particularly critical, with the Irish electorate being characterised as anti-Eastern enlargement and Ireland recast in the role of “bad” European. This study of German press coverage of the two referenda points to a consensus in the negative representation of Ireland across all strands of media opinions and ideologies. The corpus of texts analysed also highlights the construction of a “them and us” divide between a morally superior in-group (the Germans) and a defective out-group (the Irish). Whilst much of the reporting still takes place within a received map of meaning (Hall et al. 1978), the established reference points are now used to de-legitimise Ireland’s role and to reassert Germany’s position as a “big” country within Europe in order to restore normal power relations.


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