Mapping European ideoscapes: examining newspaper debates on the EU Constitution in seven European countries

Despite embracing the rhetoric of transnational flows and networks, comparative research on media content continues to fall prey to methodological nationalism. When it comes to empirical measurement, researchers often, despite their best intentions, fall back on techniques that assume that the discourses circulating within particular nationally bounded communicative spaces are homogenous. In this article, we developed a set of propositions and analytical approaches that should help to overcome this impasse, and used them to examine the newspaper debates on the EU Constitutional Treaty in seven European states: the Czech Republic, Germany, France, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Switzerland, and the UK. We suggested that instead of focusing solely on comparisons between nationally bounded communicative spheres, we should also look at differences between class-related communicative spaces. By adopting such an approach, we can acknowledge both sub-national segmentations of communicative spaces and transnational linkages, while at the same time not losing sight of the importance of the national. The results support our initial contention that the research on European mass communication ought to move beyond comparisons between national units and the levels of their respective Europeanization, and examine how European issues are conveyed in media catering to different social classes.