Discourses in European Union organizations: Aspects of access, participation, and exclusion

  • 1 Lancaster University.


The aim of this paper is to make processes of co-constructing, negotiating, defining, legitimizing, and justifying inclusion/exclusion in European Union (EU) organizations transparent, both on a structural and on a discursive level. Moreover, individual experiences from migrants present everyday exclusionary practices. In this attempt, I use research on EU organizations and on discrimination in eight EU countries (focus-group discussions) as illustrative examples. I propose a ‘discourse-historical’ framework, which relates different discursive and structural forms of inclusion and exclusion to each other. I assume that many contradictions come into play, while discursive shifts in inclusion and exclusion are decided upon. These contradictions imply—inter alia—value conflicts (conflicts between values of tolerance, democracy, etc.), conflicts of ideologies and beliefs, and power conflicts. Another theoretical assumption implies that managing ‘inclusion’ and ‘exclusion’ is a question of ‘grading’ and ‘scales’, ranging from explicit legal and economic restrictions to implicit discursive negotiations and processes of decision making. Finally, the paper illustrates the fluidity of membership categorization when defining exclusion and inclusion.

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Text & Talk (founded as TEXT in 1981) is an internationally recognized forum for interdisciplinary research in language, discourse, and communication studies, focusing, among other things, on the situational and historical nature of text/talk production; the cognitive and sociocultural processes of language practice/action; and participant-based structures of meaning negotiation and multimodal alignment.