ABSTRACT

This chapter answers the three decisive guiding questions of discourse analysis – (1) What happens in discourse? (content), (2) How is meaning constructed in the discourse? (references), and (3) Why? (reasons) – with regard to the German discourse and based on an analysis of the eight dimensions of discourses: (1) Course (topics, number of contributions/intensity, and major events), (2) Actors (persons or institutional actors who shape the discourse), (3) Rules (structure the course of the discourse and the sayability of utterances), (4) Levels of reference (political levels or substantive topic areas to which the discourse refers), (5) topic areas (content areas that the discourse touches upon), (6) Motifs (typical attributions of meaning for properties and motives for action), (7) Arguments (typical processes of attributing meaning, argumentation processes), and (8) References (relationships between motifs, topic areas, reference levels, rules, actors, or contextual factors that are constructed in the discourse). Analysis shows that the German 2005 EU discourse was not very intense, but open towards Europe. It was especially marked by taking the French discourse as a proxy and by a discoursive rule, the silencing strategy, which led to EU criticism being silenced. After the French “No”, an intensive exchange on EU democratisation developed.