A “More Political” Commission? Reassessing EC Politicization through Language

Pamela Pansardi, Pier Domenico Tortola*

*Corresponding author for this work

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    This article contributes to the study of the European Commission's (EC) politicization by examining this phenomenon from the angle of communication. We elaborate a novel approach based on two linguistic indicators – charisma and technicality – which we then apply through a content analysis of 8,947 speeches delivered by Commission members between 1999 and 2019. Contrary to the narrative of an ever more political Commission, we find that the linguistic politicization of the EC decreased over the period under exam, reaching its nadir during Jean-Claude Juncker's presidential term (2014–19). Our findings raise the question of whether language is yet another ordinary dimension of politicization, or rather it is used strategically by the Commission to underplay its underlying politicization as measured in more traditional institutional, policy, and individual terms. Either way, our study highlights the multi-faceted nature of the politicization concept, and the need for deeper and more nuanced analyses of it.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1047-1068
    Number of pages22
    JournalJCMS-Journal of common market studies
    Issue number4
    Early online date19-Dec-2021
    Publication statusPublished - Jul-2022

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