The Roles of Images in EU Politics

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Abstract: The purpose of this article is to advance our understanding of the role of visual discourse in day-to-day European Union (EU) politics. The article presents an analytical framework allowing for a fourfold view on the roles of images in politics; namely, images as: (1) emblems underpinning actors’ interests, (2) representations of collective meaning-making, (3) means of domination and (4) ordering devices for including/excluding actors and ideas in politics. The article zooms in on the EU Commission visual discourse and analyses images from three Directorate-General flagship magazines. The article argues that, the Commission adheres – and increasingly so – to a visual discourse allowing the Commission to set policy agendas and frame policy options, while avoiding creating adversaries among other key actors in EU politics. It also allows for identity-building, while eschewing further estranging publics sceptical of EU supranationalism and keeping political actors in favour of common EU policies on board.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Common Market Studies
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages28
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Visual discourse; images; European Commission; identity-building; framing

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