Imagining the European Union: gender and digital diplomacy in European external relation

Katharine Wright, Roberta Guerrina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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The EU has historically sought to project outwards its identity, values and raison d’etre during times of uncertainty and crisis. One of the core values stated to be at the heart of the EU’s identity is gender equality. Yet, whilst gender equality features more visibly in the EU’s external discourse as it seeks to position itself as a global leader in equality and human rights, the internal challenge posed by crisis presents a real obstacle to future developments in this area. This article examines digital diplomacy, specifically twitter presence, as a discursive site for constituting meaning. We thus take the digital space afforded by Twitter as a site where the EU’s internal and external identity is constructed in a process of articulation and contestation. Digital diplomacy is now a salient part of public diplomacy, increasingly prioritised over ‘traditional’ approaches. Using data gathered from Twitter on the EU’s 60th anniversary and International Women’s Day in 2017 this paper provides the first in-depth study of the EU’s approach to digital diplomacy. We find the marginalisation of gender issues from the EU’s core narratives bringing into question the place of gender equality as a core value of the EU.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPolitical Studies Review
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2020


  • gender
  • digital diplomacy
  • EU
  • Normative Power Europe
  • crisis

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