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Eva Thue Vold EURLING-seminar: Political discourse on the European Union in a multidisciplinary perspective Paris, January 29-30, 2009 PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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WE – Britain, WE - the European Council Pronoun reference and collective identity construction in Gordon Brown’s statements to the British Parliament. Eva Thue Vold EURLING-seminar: Political discourse on the European Union in a multidisciplinary perspective Paris, January 29-30, 2009.

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WE – Britain, WE - the European CouncilPronoun reference and collective identity construction in Gordon Brown’s statements to the British Parliament

Eva Thue Vold

EURLING-seminar: Political discourse on the European Union in a multidisciplinary perspective

Paris, January 29-30, 2009


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Material

Statements made to Parliament by Gordon Brown on the

  • 22nd October 2007

  • 17th of December 2007

  • 17th of March 2008


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Research questions

  • How does Brown use WE and I, and with what verbs? Are there any patterns that can be identified?

  • If so, what may the reasons for these patterns be? What kind of effects may these patterns potentially have on the audience?


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17 December statement – quantitative findings

I 13 occurrences

ME 1 occurrence

MYSELF 1 occurrence

WE 44 occurrences

OUR 16 occurrences


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The first person singular: I

Fixed expressions

  • With permission Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement…,

  • Mr. Speaker, I can tell the House

  • In addition, I can tell the House

  • And I commend this statement to the House

    Text structuring

  • I start with the most immediate concern facing the summit:

  • - and I quote –

  • Finally, let me conclude…


I as a political agent l.jpg

I said in October that I would oppose any further institutional change in the relationship between the EU and its member states, not just for this Parliament but for the next. I stand by that commitment.

And this is now also the settled consensus of the EU.

As agreed by Chancellor Merkel, President Sarkozy and myself in October, the progress report should examine whether regulatory or other action is necessary. And I have invited Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy to London so that we can discuss the proposals in the paper we agreed and issued a few weeks ago.

I as a political agent


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WE – the European Council

Agree7

Expect2

Address1

Be focused 1

Believe1

Call1

Conclude1

Confirm1

Promote1

Publish1

Reaffirme1

Renew1

State1


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WE – the Council: Examples

  • The principles of our approach are: first, that Europe take seriously its special responsibility for the stability and security of the Balkans region. […] But, second, we were agreed that the status quo is unsustainable and that we needed to move forward towards a settlement that ensures what we called a ‘stable, democratic, multi-ethnic Kosovo…’

  • And third, after a detailed discussion at the Council, we were also wholly united in agreeing that European engagement should move to a new level. Weagreed in principle and stated our readiness to deploy an ESDP policing and rule of law mission to Kosovo.


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WE – the Council: Examples

  • The European Council reiterated its support for a new UN resolution as soon as possible. In addition weagreed to decide on new measures that the EU itself might take to help resolve this situation

  • First, weagreed to maintain our focus on economic reform,

  • Third, weagreed to do more to develop mechanisms for co-operation…

  • As weagreed, supervisory authorities in different countries need to co-operate effectively across borders


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WE – the Council: Examples

And while we are rightly focused on the immediate priority of bringing the status process through to completion in an orderly and managed way, the European Council agreed that it is also important that we address the longer-term challenge of ensuring Kosovo’s future economic and political viability.


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WE – the Council: Examples

  • We agreed in principle and statedour readiness to deploy an ESDP policing and rule of law mission to Kosovo.

  • Second, weconfirmedour commitment to free trade and openness.

  • Fourth, we also reaffirmed that a stable and prosperous Serbia fully integrated into Europe is important for the stability of the region.

  • But we concluded that continued monitoring of financial markets and the economy is crucial

    decision making body, a powerful political institution


We the eu examples l.jpg

WE – the EU: Examples

  • With permission Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement about the European Council held in Brussels on 14 December, which focused on two major concerns:

    the reforms Europe must make to meet and master the global challenges we face - for competitiveness, employment, secure energy, climate change;

    and issues of security - in particular Kosovo, Iran and Burma - that we must confront together.

  • The Council also discussed Iran and there was agreement on a united European approach. […] In September foreign ministers from the E3 plus 3 agreed that unless there were positive outcomes from Javier Solana and the IAEA’s discussions with Iran, we would seek tougher sanctions at the UN.


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WE – the EU: Examples

  • We must have full implementation of the services directive by 2009 and we must continue to work towards further liberalisation in the energy, post and telecoms markets

  • The Council also agreed that a key part of the EU’s external agenda is how we can – by working together – maximise our influence

  • The Council agreed that the European Commission should report […] on […] how we can accelerate our progress.


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WE – Britain: Examples

  • If this proves impossible, we - Britain - have always been clear that the Comprehensive Proposal put forward by the UN Special Envoy […] represents the best way forward.

  • the EU Amendment bill […] will include the safeguards we have negotiated to protect the British national interests.

  • Legally binding protocols which prescribe in detail our sovereign right to opt-in […] where we consider it in the British interest to do so, but alternatively to remain outside if that is in our interests


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WE – Britain: Examples

  • When we – Britain – determine that any proposal would impact on an important aspect of our social security system […] we can insist on taking any proposal to the European Council under unanimity.

  • We will ensure sufficient time for debate

  • We have built into the legislation further safeguards…

  • In the Bill introduced today we are legislating for new protections and new procedures to lock in our protection of these interests.


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WE – the trio

And I have invited Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy to London so that we can discuss the proposals in the paper weagreed and issued a few weeks ago


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Conclusion

Images created through pronoun + verb collocations

  • The European Council: a powerful, decision-making and unanimous institution

  • PM: formal role

  • The British government: protector of British national interests

  • The EU: a united group of countries that work together in order to confront common challenges

    Through choice of pronoun + verb collocations, speakers can create an impression of different entities and the relations between them without having to make explicit statements about them.


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References

Brown, R. and A. Gilman. 1970. The pronouns of power and solidarity. In Psycholinguistics. New York : The Free Press.

Kinn, T. 2005. Plays of we-hood: What do we mean by we? Akademisk Prosa 3, 129-143.


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