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European Union enlargement, post-accession migration and imaginative geographies of the 'New Europe': media discourses in Romania and the United Kingdom

Light, Duncan and Young, Craig (2009) European Union enlargement, post-accession migration and imaginative geographies of the 'New Europe': media discourses in Romania and the United Kingdom. Journal of Cultural Geography, 26 (3). 281 - 303. ISSN 1940-6320

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Abstract

This paper is concerned with re-imaginings of 'Europe' following the accession to the European Union (EU) of former 'Eastern European' countries. In particular it explores media representations of post-EU accession migration from Romania to the United Kingdom in the UK and Romanian newspaper press. Todorova's (1997) notion of Balkanism is deployed as a theoretical construct to facilitate the analysis of these representations as first, the continuation of long-standing and deeply embedded imaginings of the 'East' of Europe and, second, as a means of contesting these discourses. The paper explores the way in which the UK press construct Balkanist discourses about Romania and Romanian migrants, and then analyses how the Romanian press has contested such discourses. The paper argues that the idea of the 'East' remains important in constructing notions of 'Europe' within popular media geographies.

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