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The ‘Good’ Guys, The ‘Bad’ Guys and the ‘Ugly’ Debt: The Eurozone Crisis and the Politics of Blaming

Ioanna Ntampoudi

The present paper wishes to investigate the public discourse that surrounds the Eurozone crisis and its management in search for an understanding of the cultural politics that have characterised it. By the means of a critical discourse analysis of media and elite rhetoric, the various ways that both German and Greek citizens, are constructed as prototypical representatives of Core Europe and Periphery Europe, respectively, will be explored. Furthermore, the ways that both Germans and Greeks are represented as distinct and monolithic ‘nations’ or ‘cultures’ and are constructed as either malicious ‘villains’ or innocent ‘victims’ will be analysed and questioned. The exercise shall exemplify two main tendencies, namely the trend towards essentialisms and the pattern of binary oppositions. As will be concluded, these two linguistic and intellectual tendencies are intimately involved in an on-going process of identity formation with significant political implications, particularly for the distinctly normative conceptions of national and European identities. As a second layer, reflections and speculations will be offered regarding the psychological dynamics behind these tendencies by looking for insights inside social psychological perspectives, such as social identity theory, including self-categorization theory, and social representations theory. These applications will reveal the political potential of these specific perspectives and the contribution of social psychology to political science.

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