Research

Research positions 

  • 2022            Visiting Scholar, University of Pittsburgh

  • 2021-2022  Postdoctoral researcher, University of Pennsylvania

  • 2021-...        Scientific collaborator, University of Liège

  • 2020            Visiting research fellow, Fondation Jean Monnet pour l'Europe

  • 2018            Visiting researcher, University of Amsterdam 

  • 2017            Visiting research fellow, European University Institute

  • 2017-2021  PhD Candidate, University of Liège

  • 2015            Publication collaborator/pre-doctoral researcher, University of Liège

Research interests

Postdoctoral research (2021-2022)

 

Keywords: EU institutions - Crises - Discourse - Public communication - Legitimacy

The various crises that the European Union has faced over the past decade have required quick reactions and decisions that were not always considered effective and democratic by the citizenry. The EU's legitimacy and the pursuit of European integration are, especially in times of crisis, questioned and subject to doubts, which encourages (nationalist and eurosceptic) discourses about EU disintegration in the public space. Yet, the institutions' public communication, relayed to citizens through the media, is an essential tool - when used efficiently - in processes of policy legitimization, image restoration and crisis management. At the crossroads between political and communication sciences, my postdoctoral research focuses on analyzing the discourse of the EU's political, economic, and legal institutions during four major crises:  the economic-financial Eurozone crisis, the Brexit political-institutional crisis, the political-legal crisis of the non-respect of EU values - including the rule of law - in several member states, and the ongoing Covid-19 health crisis which promises many long-term economic and political consequences. Building on an extensive corpus of references from various communication mediums (press releases, social networks, official communiqués, speeches, etc), the research aims to identify the arguments put forward in the institutions' crisis communication in order to, on the one hand, reinforce the EU's legitimacy and the continued necessity of European integration, and, on the other hand, to counter ideas and discourses about a potential EU disintegration. The qualitative and quantitative analysis of these arguments will allow for an in-depth understanding of the discursive dynamics and mechanisms of the EU's institutional crisis communication with a view to improving discursive responses to future crises. ​

Doctoral research (2017-2021)

 

Keywords: EU institutions - European identity - Europe - Discourse - Enlargement 

 

Article 49 of the Treaty on the European Union enshrines that any “European State” may apply for membership in the European Union (EU). As a primary eligibility condition, the “European State” formulation has defined the nature and scope of the EU since the inception of European integration. While the term “European” holds various meanings, there has been no clear definition in EU law of that which makes a state “European”. In the absence of such a definition, the EU political institutions – the European Commission, European Council, European Parliament, and Council of the European Union – have needed to interpret states’ European character amid, among others, membership requests. At the crossroads between political and communication sciences, my PhD thesis investigated the various interpretations that have been provided by the EU political institutions amid European integration. Building on a corpus of various archival resources, the research uncovered four main interpretations of the “European State” formulation – and, by extension, of Europe(anness) – in the discourse of the EU political institutions. These are the geographical, cultural, historical, and political interpretations. Each interpretation was critically addressed by analyzing thematically and statistically its substance, and considering illustrative enlargement cases. The thesis was divided into six chapters. While Chapter 1 explored the legal logics surrounding the membership clause and the “European State” eligibility condition, Chapter 2 dived into the three contextual dynamics – Europe, Europeanness, and enlargement – in which this condition occurs. Chapter 3 engaged in a critical review of the institutional interpretations previously identified by scholars, asserting the relevance of the representations and narratives in which these interpretations are firmly rooted. Chapter 4 detailed the theoretical and methodological frameworks - mainly (critical) discourse analysis - used to analyze the thesis’s corpus-based thematic analysis of the four institutional interpretations, which are presented in Chapter 5. Finally, Chapter 6 offered statistical insights into the salience of the interpretations according to various aspects that further allow for a comprehensive understanding of the various dimensions surrounding the studied formulation. My PhD thesis provided a comprehensive understanding of the “European State” formulation and the dynamics and logics surrounding notions of Europe(anness). It highlighted how the EU political institutions instrumentalized these notions - based on cherry-picked representations and wider narratives of Europe(anness) - and constructed a new (europeanized and institutionalized) discourse on Europe(anness) which served strategic and legitimation ends in the framework of both enlargement and the construction of European (collective) identity. 

Pre-doctoral research (c. 2015)

Keywords: Argumentative discourse - UK political parties - EU withdrawal - Brexit 

When David Cameron announced an 'in/out' referendum in 2015, the UK’s continued membership of the EU became highly compromized, which sparked off lively debates on both sides of the Channel. Yet, this crisis in the UK-EU relationship was far from being the first one. During my pre-doctoral research (master thesis and post-graduation research position that led to the publication of a book chapter), I focused on the British political parties' discourse on the EU during the different crises that had punctuated the UK-EU relationship since the the UK's membership in 1973. More precisely, I explored the arguments that were used to criticize and/or advocate withdrawal from the EU under the successive premierships in the period 1973-2013, as well as those adduced by the Conservative Party, the Labour Party, the Democrats and UKIP in the period 2013-2015. This research provided insights on the nature of the (then prospective) Brexit as being both a structural and situational phenomenon. Part of the research also included a legal and  (pre-Brexit) practical analysis of the withdrawal clause (Article 50 TEU) and a review of "early withdrawals" from the EU (Greenland, Algeria). 

Additional research interests 

  • Discourse on terrorism, security and defense

  • US institutions 

  • Transatlantic relations 

  • Quantitative discourse analysis 

Organisation panel/conf.