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Working Paper 4

Bringing the Mass Media in: The Contribution of the Mass Media for Understanding Citizens' Attitudes towards the European Union

Silke Adam - September 2009                     Download



Economic considerations, identity related considerations and cueing theory are used for explaining citizens’ attitudes towards the European Union. Yet, all of this research has failed to show how elite cues on interests and identities actually reach the citizens. As a consequence, the author argues that domestic mass media as the most widely used source for citizens’ information about the European Union has the potential to fill this missing link. Mass media actively construct reality by promoting ideas (agenda-setting and framing) and thereby shaping processes of socialization and persuasion. In this article the author discusses theoretical concepts of how mass media might affect citizens’ attitudes, summarizes what we know about the role of domestic mass media in the course of EU integration, derives research desiderates and finally shows why knowledge on the link between mass media and citizens is paramount to understand the future of EU integration.