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Challenging Communication Research

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Edited By Leah A. Lievrouw

Communication scholarship has not enjoyed the same kind of theoretical cohesion or ontological security as some disciplines. The field’s intellectual «roving eye» and resistance to establishing a single core body of knowledge has inspired serial rounds of soul-searching and existential doubt among communication scholars, on one hand, and celebration and intellectual adventurism, on the other. The theme of the 2013 ICA annual conference thus raised an interesting question: For a field that is perpetually in flux and «decentered», what exactly is, or should be, challenged? How, and by whom?
The chapters in this collection, chosen from among the top papers presented in London, suggest that the challenges themselves are constantly being reinvented, broken down and reorganized. The communication discipline undergoes continuous change rather than following an orderly, stepwise path toward the neat, complete accumulation of knowledge. The chapters challenge familiar approaches, notions or assumptions in communication research and scholarship and reflect on the field’s multifaceted and increasingly open character in an era of shifting social relations, formations and technologies.
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Chapter Four: Normative Europe and the Roma Issue in the Romanian and Bulgarian Press

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CHAPTER FOUR

Normative Europe AND THE Roma Issue IN THE Romanian AND Bulgarian Press

ALEX BALCH, EKATERINA BALABANOVA, AND RUXANDRA TRANDAFOIU



For Bulgaria and Romania the emigration of significant numbers of their citizens to other parts of Europe following European Union (EU) membership in 2007 was to be expected. For those living in these relatively small states in the southeast of Europe—struggling to grow their economies after ridding themselves of Communism—opportunities lying elsewhere acted as a magnet. Predictably, talk of an “invasion” or “flood” of immigrants from Eastern Europe dominated the public debates in the countries that received them—such as France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Less obvious or easy to predict was the impact on public debates in those countries from which they came. Even more uncertain was how the EU institutions would react to any suspicion of discrimination, as well as at what point and to what extent the rights of European citizenship would be defended.

This chapter uses the high-profile expulsion of Roma communities from France in the summer of 2010 as an opportunity to examine these uncertainties. The events created waves in Europe and beyond, leading many to ask what this meant for “normative Europe” (Severance, 2010)—the idea that the EU possesses real power through shared ideas and values (Manners, 2002). As we shall see, there was (eventually) an intervention by the European Commission (EC) to defend the core...

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