The discursive topicalisation of trust, ethics and ideology in European security issues


This chapter investigates the discourse of the EU law-enforcement agency, Europol, and the ways in which trust, ethics and ideology are engaged in communication in order to achieve institutional legitimation through the discursive construction of ‘danger’ and ‘emergencies’. The analysis considers a corpus of annual reports published over the last ten years (2008-2018). The relationship between the production of security discourse, institutional responsibility and credibility will show how trust discourse can be either rooted in insecurity or safety and deeply rely on the categories of ethics and ideology, according to the specific circumstances and communicative needs of the organisation. Quantitative and qualitative findings will reveal how lexical and phraseological key features, as well as a dichotomy created through the use of polarisation strategies, can shape contrasting ingroup or outgroup identities/roles, alternatively feeding credibility or discredit, on the issue of safeguarding European security. This linguistic interplay will discursively extricate the harmful potential of criminal forces’ ideological agenda, legitimise repressive control measures as ethically acceptable, as well as empower Europol’s trustworthy image and propagandise its beneficial role in the fight against crime and terrorism.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v42p173

Keywords: trust; ethics; ideology; law-enforcement discourse; polarisation strategies; legitimation strategies


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