Quotation Kopf, Susanne. 2017. From ‘unitary state’ to ‘confederation’ - debating terms of reference for the EU on a Wikipedia Talk Page. International Pragmatics Association Conference, Belfast, Großbritannien, 16.07-21.07.




This paper deals with English Wikipedia editors’ discussions about the European Union between year 2001 and 2015 on the Talk Page (TP) accompanying the Wikipedia article ‘European Union’ (EU). TPs are quasi-threaded discussion pages that provide a platform for Wikipedia contributors to debate controversial editing and/or content issues regarding the article they accompany, in this case the article on the EU. The EU and, to a lesser degree, Wikipedia have inspired research attention in linguistics. Concerning research on the EU, questions about language policy and discourses surrounding topics relevant to the EU have been researched in-depth. Wikipedia research has centred on topics such as the detection of bias and collaborative authorship (e.g. Callahan & Herring, 2011). Still, so far relatively little attention has been paid to private individuals’ attempts to define the nature of the EU on Wikipedia and how they try to make sense of the institution particularly by drawing on various terms of reference. Wikipedia allowed for the creation of an entry about the EU shortly after the inception of the website in 2001. From then on, contributors’ have engaged in discussions on what to include in and exclude from the article on the EU and for which reasons to do so. Thus, Wikipedia and, in particular Wikipedia TPs, afford the opportunity of investigating how the Wikipedia community has grappled with its understanding of the EU since 2001. The given project focuses specifically on TP conversations that deal with the question of what the EU is and what it is not. It takes a corpus-assisted approach, that is, it combines quantitative with qualitative examination of data (Partington, 2010) to examine how Wikipedians attempt to apply different concepts in the form of different terms of reference to the EU. It also addresses how they argue for and against certain terms of reference and, most importantly, why certain terms of reference are rejected and others not


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Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Paper presented at an academic conference or symposium
Language English
Title From ‘unitary state’ to ‘confederation’ - debating terms of reference for the EU on a Wikipedia Talk Page
Event International Pragmatics Association Conference
Year 2017
Date 16.07-21.07
Country United Kingdom
Location Belfast


Kopf, Susanne (Details)
Institute for English Business Communication (Köster) (Details)
Research areas (ÖSTAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
6903 Humanities (interdisciplinary) (Details)
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