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Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere

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Descrierea CIP a Bibliotecii Naionale a Romniei
GLOBALIZATION AND CHANGING PATTERNS IN THE PUBLIC SPHERE
Globalization and changing patterns inthe public sphere / edited by: Nicoleta Corbu,
Elena Negrea, George Tudorie Bucureti: Comunicare.ro, 2010
Bibliogr.
ISBN 978-973-711-262-0
I. Corbu, Nicoleta (ed.)
II. Negrea, Elena (ed.)
III. Tudorie, George (ed.)
32.01(063)
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GLOBALIZATION
AND
CHANGING PATTERNS
IN THE PUBLIC SPHERE
International Conference
November 12-13, 2010
Bucharest, Romania
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration
Center for Research in Communication
College of Communication and Public Relations
in cooperation with
Romanian-U.S. Fulbright Commission
Selected Papers
Edited by
Nicoleta Corbu, Elena Negrea, George Tudorie
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Scientific Committee
Alina Brgoanu
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania
Lee B. Becker
James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Comunication Training and Research, Uni-
versity of Georgia, USA
Denis Benoit
Institut des Technosciences de lInformation et de la Communication, Universit Montpellier
3 Universit Paul-Valry, France
Alexandru Crlan
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania
Simon Cottle
Cardiff University, UK
Paul Dobrescu
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania
Bruce Gronbeck
University of Iowa, USA
Dorina Guu
Romanian-U.S. Fulbright Commission, Bucharest, Romania
Justin Lewis
Cardiff University, UK
Valerie Palmer-Mehta
Wayne State University, Michigan, USA
Marina Popescu
Department of Government, University of Essex, UK
Remus Pricopie
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania
Andreas Schwarz
Institute of Media and Communication Science, University of Ilmenau, Germany
Tudor Vlad
James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Comunication Training and Research, Uni-
versity of Georgia, USA
Alexandra Zbuchea
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania
Organizing Committee
Nicoleta Corbu
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania
Dorina Guu
Romanian-U.S. Fulbright Commission, Bucharest, Romania
Elena Negrea
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania
George Tudorie
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania
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Contents
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Media, Globalization, and the Public Sphere
1. Florin Constantin DOMUNCO, Bogdan IVACU,
Student Lifestyles in the Social Media Context
(tefan cel Mare University of Suceava, Romania;
Valahia University of Trgovite, Romania) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
2. Raluca TUDOR, Les blogs de tourisme outil danalyse de limage
de la Roumanie dans le rseau global des destinations touristiques
(cole Nationale dtudes Politiques et Administratives, Roumanie) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
3. Bryan HALL, Kant on Geniuses and Scientists in the Public Sphere
(Indiana University Southeast, USA) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
4. Georges MADIBA, La constitution dun espace public tribal en milieu urbain
(LACREM, Dpartament des Sciences de la Communication, Cameroun) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
5. Mohd Nizam OSMAN, Muhammad Pauzi Abdul LATIF, Developing
a Conceptual Framework on Analyzing Effectiveness of Information Communication
Technology (ICT) Sustainability Projects in Rural Communities of Malaysia
(University of Putra, Malaysia) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
Media, Public Opinion, Political Actors
1. Marcus LEANING, The Transformation of the Public Sphere,
Media Technology and the Media / Social Ecology Perspective
(University of Winchester, UK) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
2. Martin PASQUIER, Raphael VELT, Can Virtual Communities Change Politics?
A French and American Perspective on Participatory Political Social Network Sites
(Universit Lyon 2 Lumire, France) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
3. Lee B. BECKER, Nicoleta CORBU, Qingmei QING, Using Voter Lists as
Sampling Frames: Two Studies on Vote Choice and Turnout
(University of Georgia, USA, National School of Political Studies
and Public Administration, Romania) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
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4. Sofia FRUNZ, Ctlina GRIGORAI, Florena TOADER,
The Influence of the Candidates Name on Vote Intention
(National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Romania) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
5. Bogdan-Alexandru HALIC, Ion CHICIUDEAN, Corina BUZOIANU, Monica BR,
The Released Image of Political Actors Taking Part
in the Romanian Electoral Process in 2008 and 2009
(National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Romania) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
Reconfigurations of the European Public Sphere
1. Alina BRGOANU, Paul DOBRESCU, Adina MARINCEA,
Does Europe Come to Save Us or to Scold Us? An Analysis of the
Media Discourse on EU Funds
(National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Romania) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149
2. Mlina CIOCEA, Constructing a Cosmopolitan Public through Deliberative Journalism.
The Case of Romanian Media Civic Campaigns
(National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Romania) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163
3. Elena NEGREA, What Makes the European Public Sphere Still a Prospective Project?
(National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Romania) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179
4. Grigore GEORGIU, Lage de la conjonction. Images de la mondialisation,
images de lEurope
(cole Nationale dtudes Politiques et Administratives, Roumanie) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191
Marketing and Organization Management in the Global World
1. Florina PNZARU, Alexandra ZBUCHEA, Cristina GALALAE,
Marketing Strategies Development within Romanian Companies in the
Context of the Global Economic Crisis. Case Study: The Automobile Market
(National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Romania) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 209
2. Elena-Mdlina IORGA, Dan Florin STNESCU, Explorative Pilot Study Regarding
the Relationship between the Emotional Labor and Burnout in
Direct Sales Representatives
(National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Romania) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 221
3. Daniela VERCELLINO, Drago ILIESCU, Lay Representations of
Occupational Stress in the Romanian Culture
(National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Romania) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 235
4. Ivona ORZEA, Constantin BRTIANU, Knowledge Creation Determinants in
Organizational Environments
(Academy of Economic Studies, Romania) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 247
5. Dorina GUU, Alina DOLEA, Images and Nations. The Role of Cultural Institutes
(National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Romania) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 257
6. Dan Florin STNESCU, Eva Alexandra PIROC, Adina IACOB, The Severity of Academic
Dishonesty: A Comparison of Faculty Perception and Student Self-Reporting Perspective
(National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Romania) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 271
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Introduction
Enganging the (European) Public Sphere in the Global Age
Nicoleta CORBU
Elena NEGREA
George TUDORIE
Traditionally, the College of Communication and Public Relations organizes annually an
International Conference that gathers members of the academia and professionals in commu-
nication and related fields from all over the world. This years Conference topic touched the
widely discussed phenomenon of globalization and the transformations triggered by global
communication in the functioning of the public sphere. The Conference aimed at examining,
through a critical lens, the increasingly substantial effects of globalization on society as a
whole (in terms of politics, economy, knowledge production and diffusion, organization
management, marketing, human resources development, policy-making, media and commu-
nication). Furthermore, it sought to make a useful contribution to the ongoing debate over
the nature and content of the concept of public sphere and its relation to the emergence of a
communication arena within the European Union.
It has been commonly acknowledged that the ideal of democracy associated with the
Greek polis, in which ordinary people can participate directly in the process of decision-
making, cannot be realistically applied to the complex mass societies of our time. Nonethe-
less, the democratic ideal of intact public communication still remains the guiding principle
of the exercise of critical evaluation to which people (need) subject the actions of govern-
ments and political actors. In light of these thoughts, the prospects of genuine public partici-
pation and deliberation within a supranational structure such as the European Union seem
rather bleak. Recent criticism of the EU has been directed at its allegedly democratic and
communication deficits. This has ignited an intense debate over the measures to be taken in
order to overcome these deficits. The solution that many debaters have considered best fit for
the problems the EU is currently facing is the consolidation of a European public sphere, a
process which would bring citizens closer to the EU, and, hopefully, would favor a proactive
support of EUs initiatives.
In spite of the flourishing literature on the topic, the rationale behind the emergence of a
European public sphere as well as the structure of such a public space for deliberation on EU-
related issues are still subject to hot debate among theoreticians. Euro-optimists advocate the
benefits of a functioning European public sphere, whereas Euro-skeptics question its very
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existence. To this point, there is hardly a unanimously agreed solution to explain or justify the
need for a communication and deliberation arena within the EU. The same goes in terms of
making clear the role of this arena in the consolidation of a European identity (whether we
consider this identity in terms of citizenship, territory, democratic processes, etc.), as well as
its contribution to the future of the European integration process. The discussions triggered by
the papers presented at the Conference have aimed to answer some of these issues while rais-
ing further inquiries concerning the possibility of a functioning public sphere within the EU.
In addition to this kind of contributions, the Conference has favored further discussions on the
impact of the transformations of the (European) public sphere upon every dimension of a
society (be it political, economic, cultural, communicational, etc.). To use Zygmunt Baumans
words, we hope that the lively debate generated by the Conference has meant a step towards
the successful explaining of this unfinished adventure called Europe.
The conference volume includes a wide range of approaches to globalization and the pub-
lic sphere, which have been assembled in four sections. The Media, Globalization and the
Public Sphere subdivision comprises papers touching general aspects of global and media
transformations of the public sphere. Scholars from different countries analyze in this context
the theoretical, philosophical or sociological grounds of the concept of the public sphere.
The second section of the volume Reconfiguration of the European Public Sphere
puts together several important views on the topic of the consolidation of a public sphere
within the EU. Papers either question the very conceptual and historical foundations of a
European public sphere, or discuss the consequences that such a construct entails for the
development of a discourse on the EU funds. Other papers examine the media transforma-
tions to both national and European public spheres.
The Media, Public Opinion and Political Actors chapter of the volume brings together
papers which focus on the influence of media on the formation of political opinions as well as
on the construction of the image of political candidates. We also included in this section
papers which present methodologically-based approaches to media coverage of election cam-
paigns. Transformations triggered by new media to the (political) public sphere constitute yet
another topic critically investigated in some of the papers the reader will find in this section.
The fourth part of the volume covers a wide range of views included under the umbrella of
Marketing and Organization Management in the Global World. This section comprises a solid
collection of mostly research papers in which current global challenges to different types of or-
ganizations are examined. Consequences of the world economic and financial crisis on the de-
velopment of marketing and management strategies of organizations are thoroughly discussed.
This volume stands as proof of the richness and the complexity of the discussions gener-
ated by the International Conference on Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public
Sphere. The organizers and the editors alike would like to thank all participants to this aca-
demic event for the efforts they made in preparing their contributions and for their willing-
ness to share their ideas with other members of the academic and professional communities.
It is our hope that their ideas will be heard beyond the gates of these communities.
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Media, Globalization and the Public Sphere
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Student Lifestyles in the Social Media Context
Florin Constantin DOMUNCO*
tefan cel Mare University of Suceava, Romania
Bogdan IVACU
Valahia University of Trgovite, Romania
Abstract: Social communication studies show an increasing interest for the phenomenon of Social
Media. The occurrence of Social Media has its roots in what Manuel Castells calls the network
society. Seen as a new area of human interaction, as the virtual extension of contemporary society, Social
Media has become a ubiquitous mechanism in the construction of social reality. The most affected cate-
gory is the young people. For this study we have chosen the students to be our target population because of
their easier access to the computer-mediated reality that the university offers to them. The aim of the study
is to identify how Social Media changes the student lifestyle. The need to achieve this topic is justified by the
co-presence of three elements: 1. the unlimited possibilities of the development of various forms of Social
Media worldwide; 2. the exponential growth rate of the number of everyday users; 3. the lack of a clear,
research-based image of the Social Media phenomenon and its degree of usage within Romanian student
campuses. A questionnaire survey used in two Romanian universities enabled a quantitative picture of the
Social Media phenomenon and produced sustainable arguments for other future researches.
Keywords: student lifestyle, social media, network society
1. Introduction
Technological innovations in the IT and mobile communication fields transformed the
means of communication between individuals. In respect to young people, who are more
easily adaptable to technological developments, personal relationships, and group relation-
ships and, by extension, even attitudes and behavior are evolving in correlation with the evo-
lutions of the most used communication environment at this time, the online medium. Under
their pressure, lifestyles adopted by different social categories are changing. Impact of new
technologies is grater on adolescents and young adults that find themselves in a continuous
(and sometimes Sisyphus) process of gaining social status.
*
Contact: fdomunco@yahoo.com.
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Although the contemporary society offers an easier access to information, information
managing proves to be most of the time difficult. The new configuration of the contemporary
social reality is dominated by the emergence of the network society. Its main characteristic is
the absence of a Center. This fact allowed the growth of the individuals adaptability to
unforeseen situations within the network society model. With the emergence of the internet,
this new type of society began manifesting a flexibility never before encountered in previous
societal models. While the social actors of traditional societies had only the imposed reality
of their environment as a space for manifestation, network individuals have the possibility of
expression within the virtual extensions of the network society, identifiable with what we
call social networking communication or the Social Media environment.
Behaving like a social barometer, Social Media offers to the individual the possibility of
action upon social reality from within an artificial zone. Thus, we witness the birth of a
mechanism that has the potential to generate leverage in the processes of social construction
and reconstruction, in the benefit of society and individuals alike. In the crossroads between
adolescence and maturity, young adulthood has the advantage of a high degree of mobility
and tolerance of its members mindset. This is the reason why youth is more open towards
accessing the novelties that the network society has to offer.
Having this new social reality as a starting point, this study proposes the identification of
a few changes that Social Media produces in the lifestyle of a privileged Romanian youth
category, university students (privileged through easier access to new communication tech-
nologies, offered by the academic institutions).
To do so, we propose first a theoretical incursion to clarify key concepts.
2. Theoretical Framework of the Research
2.1 Network Society and Social Ties
One of the most frequent naming for the current social development stage is the Infor-
mation Age. Manuel Castells (1996) considers its apparition possible largely due to the co-
existence of three elements: 1. the unprecedented development of the information technolo-
gy, 2. the crisis of the capitalist and communist systems and 3. the apparition of significant
social movements with potential of development and transformation of the social construct
(such as environmentalism and feminism). Together, the three processes (technological, eco-
nomic-political and social) cooperate towards designing a new social construct: the network
society. Functions and processes of the Information Age are organized incrementally in net-
works. Networks represent the new social morphologies and the diffusion of the network
logic modifies substantially the mechanics and the result of the production, experience,
power and culture processes. Although the network shape of social organization existed in
other times and spaces, the paradigm of the new information society offers the premise of its
expansion in the totality of social structures (idem.). The conceptualization of the network
society is further shaped in connection to the definition of power in the information society.
Castells considers power is no longer concentrated in institutions (the state), organisations
(private companies) or symbolic controllers (churches, mass-media). It is diffused within the
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global networks of power, information and images, that flows within a variable geometry
and disembodied geography (Castells, 1997). According with this interpretation, the new
power is no longer the asset of institutions, but of informational and visual codes produced
by networks. These codes and images reflect the dominant logic of the network society.
Castells makes a distinction between Net and Self. He notices a cleavage forming
between the complex production structures and power, organized in network form, and the
individual identities of those involved in the organizational structures. The network-individ-
ual division is a recurring them in the study of postmodern society, even before the Castel-
lian analysis. Theoreticians such as Anthony Giddens, Featherstone or Jan Van Dijk noticed
the existence of an opposition between social expansion of processes like globalization or
corporatism and the assertion of individual and cultural identity at a micro-group level
(Featherstone, 1990, Giddens, 1990, Van Dijk, 1997). As macro-level transformations work
faster, movements of individual or cultural identity at micro-level are more engaged.
The connections that happen within the network society are defined by the concept of
social ties. Granovetter defines them as the connections established between individuals that
bring them closer, indicating at the same time the strength of the ties. The strength of ties
between two or more individuals can be evaluated according with the time spent together,
the emotional intensity of ties, the degree of familiarity and intimacy, as well as the reciproc-
ity between those involved (Granovetter, 1973: 1361). Ties are classified in two major cate-
gories: weak ties or individuals considered simple acquaintances and strong ties, formed
with close friends and family members. A third category, intermediary ties, is used to mark
the individuals situated between the two primary types of ties (Wellman et al., 1996).
2.2 Social Media
The main change generated by the network society paradigm is in the means of commu-
nication between individuals. New and diverse forms of communication appear, influenced
by new technologies, and Social Media is one of them. The term Social Media is certainly,
very vast. The way it integrates, like an umbrella-concept, many forms of online communi-
cation generated a diversity of definitions. Lon Safko and David K. Brake offer a general
definition of Social Media the totality of activities, practices and behaviors of groups and
communities of the online medium, more precisely those activities and practices that gener-
ate and broadcast information through Web 2.0. Safko and Brake use the term conversation-
al media to describe those elements of Web 2.0 that facilitate the creation of informational
content, traditionally known as User Generated Content: words, images, video and audio
sequences or combinations of all (Safko & Brake, 2009: 6). We can assimilate to this
description applications such as YouTube or Flickr, that allow the interactive transfer of
videos, images and posting comments on those materials, interactive encyclopedias
(Wikipedia) or blogging platforms such as Wordpress. However, Safko and Brake consider
the social networking websites, such as MySpace and Facebook as the most significant rep-
resentatives of the social Media concept.
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14 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
2.3 Student Lifestyle in the Social Media Age
In Romania, studies on the student youth lifestyle were conducted by C. Schifirne (1973,
1982, 1986). Within this analysis of student lifestyle, some observations were made regard-
ing extra-academic socialization and means of spending free time. Thus, it was observed
that, before the evolution of computer mediated communication, three activities were pre-
ferred: theatre shows, reading and open our activities (Schifirne, 1982:, 103). Another find-
ing of these studies shown that university lifestyle has an integrating characteristic to the
future professional evolution of the student (Schifirne, 1982: 121). Western studies on youth
lifestyle confirm the fact that interpersonal relationships among young people are structured
under the form of a development logic sustained by the educational institutions. There is a
cultural agreement upon the fact that the ability to relate with individuals from the same
social group is a key component of the individual development of social competence
(Berndt, 1996: 355; Newcomb, Bagwell, 1996: 289).
One of the major characteristics of student life is the obsession for status. Milner suggests
that this obsession exists due to the still-limited economic independence young people have
in this stage, and states that large gatherings of friends, romantic rendezvous and the influ-
ence of pop culture are elements that play a central role in the development and maintaining
of social status (Milner, 2004: 4). Identifying the cool generating elements the supreme
synonym when referring to social status for adolescents and students is essential in estab-
lishing attitudes towards sex, race, social class and sexuality (Bettie, 2003). Indirectly, these
elements lead to the apparition of identity classification systems and the identification of
young people with a few social sub-groups jocks and burnouts (Eckert, 1989), nerds
and normals (Kinney, 1993: 22), or freaks, geeks and cool kids (Milner, 2004).
Currently, relationships and social dynamics initiated within traditional social establish-
ments (academic classes, coffee shops, students dorms, etc.) are expanding within the
spaces created by social Media. The Digital Youth project, coordinated by Ito, Baumer, Bit-
tanti and Boyd identifies 3 types of social participation intermediated by SM: hanging out,
messing around and geeking out. Hanging out corresponds to relationing practices
built on simple friendship bases. Messing around is a transitional frame between the other
two frames. It describes the usage forms of SM in educational purposes, as young people
treat with increased earnestness the elements that interest them not only personally, but also
professionally. The third frame of participation identified by the authors, Geeking out,
refers to the intense, even obsessive, usage of online communication forms by the young
people. Taken together, the three types of participation offer a flexible referential framework
that describes the forms of youth interaction through SM (Ito, Baumer, Bittanti, Boyd et all,
2009). For most of the young people, Social Media is not an alternative or virtual world
(Abbott: 1998: 103). More likely, its perceived as another connection method with friends
and acquaintances, a unitary component of lifestyle (Osgerby, 2004).
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3. Research Methodology
In order to test the research hypotheses we used the survey method. This method allowed
us to identify the determinant factors that influence our study population to adopt behaviors
and attitudes that can be included within the general concept of lifestyle. The theoretical par-
adigm Social is socially determined (Singly, 1998: 29) became in these conditions an
essential element in defining our investigative task.
The subjects of the research are students of the Universities tefan cel Mare from
Suceava and Valahia from Trgovite. The motivation for choosing the two public univer-
sities is the balance of technical and humanistic sciences available in the curriculum of both
institutions, as well as the possibility of undertaking all three forms of university study:
bachelors degree, masters thesis and philosophy doctor.
The study used a convenience sample. 210 students participated in the study (105 from
each university). From the 105 students of USV, 63 are (60%) and 42 male (40%), while the
UVT sample was composed by 58 female students (55,24%) and 47 male students (44,76%).
Data collection was made through a survey filled by the students during classes through
self-administration. The research instrument was composed of 19 questions (18 closed and
one opened question). The study took place from 3 to14 May 2010.
Defining Key Terms
In the context of this study, we understand lifestyle as a set of behaviors determined by
a coherent set of interests or social conditions, while being explained and justified by a set of
values, attitudes and interdependent orientations that becomes, in some conditions, the basis
of unitary social identity for those that use it (Stebbins, 2004: 65).
In order to operationalize the concept of lifestyle we took into consideration 3 dimen-
sions: values, attitudes and behaviors. These indicators were intended to identify the impor-
tance of work, family, friends, spare time, religion, money, politics among students, their
attitude towards social changes, information sources and Social Media, as well as the behav-
ior of students during their spare time.
We understand by student the person that follows the classes of an institution of supe-
rior learning. The effective operationalization of the concept follows the following identifi-
cation data: faculty, major category, year of study, level of study and occupation.
The noticeable elements through which we intended to measure the impact of Social
Media on the students lifestyle are the following: Social networking (Facebook, Hi5,
MySpace etc.), Blogging, Micro-blogging (Twitter, etc.), Photography and art sharing
(Flickr, Picasa etc.), Video sharing (Youtube etc.), Wikis (Wikipedia, Scholarpedia etc.),
Livecasting (Skype etc.), Virtual Worlds (Second Life etc.).
Research Question and Hypotheses
RQ 1: What are the most popular forms of Social Media among students?
H 1: If students use Social Media, then the most common form of usage of SM is social
networking.
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16 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
RQ 2: What is the relationship between the students usage of social Media and the
lifestyle he adopts?
H2: Students who are more Social Media active have a more favorable perception on the
society they live as a whole.
4. Data Analysis
The first research question was formulated in order to identify the degree of popularity of
Social Media among students. In order to do so, the frequencies obtained by compiling the
answers to questions A9 and A11 were taken into consideration. The percentages for each
category were calculated in report to the total number of answers. As the data from Table
no.1 suggests, Wikis have the largest popularity among students, with 90.04%. They are fol-
lowed by Video sharing and Social networking with 88,10% and 83,10% respectively.
Table 1. A9. To which degree you are familiar with the following forms of Social
Media? (largely and very largely familiar)
The first hypothesis supposes that students who use Social Media are more likely to be
using social networking as its most common form. During the testing of RH 1 we were inter-
ested to identify if the high level of familiarity of students with different forms of social
Media (largely and very largely familiar) influences in any way the frequency of usage for
these forms. In other words, we sought to find out if an independent variable (in this case, the
degree of familiarity of students) affects or influences a dependent variable (usage of SM
applications). Figure no. 1 shows that there is a report of reverse proportionality among the
two that acts differently in respect to every dimension SM analyzed.
% total respondents
Social networking (Facebook, Hi 5, MySpace etc.) 83.10%
Blogging 62.70%
Micro-blogging (Twitter etc.) 31.60%
Photography and art sharing (Flickr, Picasa etc.) 44.60%
Video sharing (Youtube etc.) 88.10%
Wikis (Wikipedia, Scholarpedia etc.) 90.40%
Livecasting (Skype etc.) 41.80%
Virtual Worlds (Second Life etc.) 10.70%
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 16
Figure 1. A11: Percentage of daily usage from the total of sample familiar with SM.
The larger percentage of those who use SM daily is confirmed in the case of the results
for question C4, where 53% of those who have an account on a SM application chose as
form of manifestation social networking (see Figure 2).
Figure 2. C4: Please name the forms of Social Media where you currently have a person-
al account, in order of their importance.
On order to identify the relationship between the degree of presence of students in the
Social Media area and the lifestyle they adopt we compared the answers offered by the
respondents that use at least one form of SM daily with the answers of those that use SM a
few times by month or dont use it at all. Thus we noticed that in regards to trust in other peo-
ple, most of the students that use SM (42,4%) chose the answer not great, not little (see
Figure 3). In case of respondents that do not use SM we can see an equal distribution
between great and little trust. The report between the values of the media between the
answers regarding trusting people in 3 to 2,92 in favor of the students that dont use the exist-
ing forms of Social Media regularly.
Media, Globalization and the Public Sphere 17
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 17
Figure 3. Students trust in people.
As for the freedom of choice and ones control on his life the difference is in the SM
users favor. (Figure 4)
Figure 4. Total freedom of choice and control on ones life
The results registered following the statistical compiling of data indicates a partial confir-
mation of research hypothesis no. 2 (a slight advantage of SM users concerning the percep-
tion of freedom and control over their life, but a lesser trust in people), and regarding the
research question no. 2, we can say that the ties existing between the degree of activity in the
SM area and lifestyle are weak
5. Data Interpretation
The intention of our study was to offer an image of the student lifestyle in the Social
Media context. The large volume of data necessary for the entire process determined the use
of the survey as a research method of choice. Starting from the two research questions and
hypotheses, our data gained the following significations:
18 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
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Research question 1: What are the most popular forms of Social Media among students?
The respondents could choose from a predefined list 8 forms of Social Media, with the
possibility of multiple choices. The results are slightly inferior to those found in similar
international researches. For example, the degree of popularity of social networking among
the investigated students is 83,10%, while in similar researches conducted on students in the
United States the popularity of social networking reaches to 94,1% (Outlaw: 2009; Vasquez:
2008). The difference can be explained mainly by the technological delay between the
Romanian and the American societies (especially at the level of the middle class).
The results concerning the popularity of blogs (62,7%), is another clue of the technologic
delay of our society. Jones and Fox (2009) show that the preference of young people for blogs
is only 43%, while Alisa Lynn Agozzino (2010) obtains a result of only 21,1% in a study that
targeted the American students. The descendent trend of those studies show a lack of interest of
youth towards blogging. The higher percentage registered in our research could be explained
by the rather incipient stage of development of Social Media in the Romanian society.
Hypothesis 1: If students use Social Media, then the most common form of usage of
SM is social networking.
Data compiling showed that hypothesis no. 1 is confirmed. Most of the students investi-
gated (45,58%) use at leas one form of social networking (Facebook, My Space, Hi5, etc.).
The reason why social networking is the most common form of SM comes from the pub-
lic character of Social Media. For J. Vitak, social networking sites are the best way to create
public ties between individuals (Vitak: 2008, p. 48). It is, in fact, a form of displaying identi-
ty, social status. During the college years, the obsession for status appears and develops.
Being online means more commonly being cool. Cool becomes in this context synony-
mous with social status (Bettie: 2003).
Research question 2: What is the relationship between the students usage of social
Media and the lifestyle he adopts?
The current study hasnt shown a strong connection between the activity of students in the
Social Media area and their lifestyle choices. Even if the Romanian society is opened towards
the value of the western world, it remains essentially a conservative society, this fact not being
a good or bad indicator. Values such as family (99,44%), education (99,30), work
(92,09%) are considered important and very important by the students attending the research,
while technology occupies only the 7th position (from 8 investigated), with 78,53%.
Hypothesis 2: Students who are more Social Media active have a more favorable per-
ception on the society they live as a whole.
Events in the offline medium have reaction in the online medium and vice-versa (Leander &
McKim, 2003: 235). The rise of social networking sites allowed young people to expand their
groups of intimate friends, in order to build complex social connections, formed from what Gra-
novetter called weak ties larger and larger circles of acquaintances. As a rule, this type of
social network is composed of a smaller circle of close friends, in frequent communication
Media, Globalization and the Public Sphere 19
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 19
with the individual, and a larger group of acquaintances connected to the individual, but with
a reduced frequency of communication (Matsuda, 2005: 134).
Our study tried to clarify if students more active in the Social Media area have a more
favorable perception of the society were they live and are more trustworthy in their forces.
Although by calculating the Pearson correlation coefficients we noticed the existence of
significant correlations, the value of the signification threshold, the positive sign of correla-
tions and the absolute size of the Pearson coefficient have shown that the existing ties are
weak, thus confirming only partially the hypothesis.
6. Conclusions
The image resulted from this study is reducible to only a small part of the Romanian aca-
demic environment, the students. The investigation has revealed the fact that currently the
usage of online social communication mediums does not produce essential lifestyle changes
among the target category. Still, the higher popularity of some of the Social Media forms
offers the image of students preoccupied especially of gaining information (by using wikis)
and managing their online social relations (by using social networking sites). Its the sign
that the network society is becoming increasingly active in the Romanian cultural space.
The investigative process realized is a potential starting point for future studies on
lifestyles and social categories that influenced by and/or influencing Social Media. It creates
the necessity of completing the quantitative snapshot with qualitative investigations to regis-
ter the emotional effects of the online medium upon the contemporary society.
The utility of the study is underlined by the possibility of the social decisional persons to
exploit the comprehension of the way SM influences the values, attitudes and behaviors of
students towards generating future communication strategies towards this social category.
This is the reason why, for future studies, Pedagogy of Social Media might prove useful in
educating everyone that could be interested in the phenomenon.
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Les blogs de tourisme outil danalyse de limage de la
Roumanie dans le rseau global des destinations touristiques
Raluca TUDOR*
cole Nationale dtudes Politiques et Administratives,
Bucarest, Roumanie
Rsum : Dans la socit globale en rseau, limage touristique dune destination est le liant entre le
rseau conomique, le rseau des lieux et le rseau communicationnel. Les blogs de tourisme reprsentent
une modalit accessible et pas chre dobtenir des informations authentiques et spontanes sur limage
touristique dun pays.
Cet article tudie limage de la Roumanie en tant que destination touristique, telle quelle est exprime
par les bloggeurs franais. Afin datteindre cet objectif ont t analyss par la mthode de lanalyse de con-
tenue les blogs hbergs par le premier site franais de tourisme signal par le moteur de recherche Google
pages francophones la demande sites blogs voyage .
Lanalyse a rvl une apprciation en gnral positive pour la destination touristique Roumanie de la
part des voyageurs bloggeurs. Le point fort est lhospitalit des gens et le point faible est reprsent par
linfrastructure routire. La plus visite zone touristique est la Transylvanie et la moindre visite est la
rgion Valachie-Oltnie, lexception de la capitale et de la Valle de Prahova. Les rsultats recommandent
lanalyse des blogs comme source dinformations riche et accessible pour les autorits qui dirigent le
tourisme roumain.
Mots-cls : socit globale en rseau, blogosphre, blogs de voyage, image de la destination touristique
1. Introduction
La socit globale en rseau est form dune multitude de rseaux parmi lesquels les
dominants, un moment donn, imposent les valeurs et programment les autres rseaux afin
datteindre leurs buts. Apres la chute du bloc communiste, le rseau conomique qui reste le
dominant, comme caractristique de la socit capitaliste globalise, impose laccumulation
*
Contact: tudor_raluca@yahoo.fr.
Beneficiary of the project Doctoral scholarships for the development of the knowledge-based society,
cofunded by the European Union through the European Social Fund, Sectorial Operational Programme
Human Resources Development 2007-2013.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 23
de capitale comme valeur fondamentale. (Castells, 2008 : 27-29) ; Selon Castells (2008, 25)
au sein des rseaux globales la production et la diffusion ont lieu au niveau globale mais la
consommation au niveau local. En ces circonstances pas seulement les grands organisations
financires et conomiques mais aussi les organisations gouvernementaux et non gouverne-
mentaux, les tats, les rgions, les lieux et les individus deviennent partenaires et compti-
teurs sur le march plantaire(Fairclough, Thomas, 2004). Les destinations deviennent con-
currentes sur le march touristique global au niveau du rseau conomique dominant et au
niveau du rseau communicationnel. Limage de la destination touristique saverre un liant
entre le rseau conomique o les organisations touristiques dploient leurs activits, le
rseau des destinations en tant que lieux dots dattributs capables dapporter plus valeur et
le rseau communicationnel par lequel sont lis les acteurs conomiques, les destinations et
les consommateurs.
La plateforme web 2.0 de lInternet permet aux utilisateurs de devenir des producteurs de
contenue, (Harrison, Barthel, 2009, Fuchs, 2009) et de participer lintelligence collective
(OReilly, 2005). Lapparition des blogs parmi les applications de la plateforme web 2.0
ractive comme hypertexte la tradition du journal de voyage et par la publication online les
bloggueurs touristes devient producteurs, diffuseurs et valuateurs de limage dune destina-
tion. Le poids des blogs personnels de voyage en tant que partie du rseau communication-
nel global et linfluence quils ont par leur visibilit et la confiance dont ils jouissent parmi
les consommateurs sur le march touristique mondiale comme partie du rseau conomique
ont dtermin lintrt accru des scientifiques et des praticiens.
La concurrence sest beaucoup accrue sur le march touristique pendant les derniers 50
ans. Cest pourquoi lune des taches des marqueteurs de ce secteur dactivit est de raliser
un positionnement distinct et positif de leur destination touristique. Une composante impor-
tante de ce processus est la cration dune image attirante (Echtner, Ritchie, 2003, Wenger,
2008). Mme si ltude de limage savre une action coteuse et difficile, elle est indispen-
sable la comprhension du comportement des voyageurs et llaboration des stratgies et
des plans de dveloppement touristique court et long terme (Carson, 2008). On peut donc
observer limportance que les scientifiques accordent limage dun pays comme destina-
tion touristique dans lanalyse des 142 articles publis de 1997 2000 o il est clair que la
plupart des articles (56) ont comme sujet le pays, et seulement 27 un tat et 26 ont tudi
limage dune ville. (Pike, 2002)
La plus complte tude sur limage de la Roumanie comme destination touristique, publi
sur le site officiel du Ministre du Dveloppement Durable et du Tourisme, fait rfrence la
priode antrieure lanne 2006 et fait partie du Master Plan pour le Dveloppement du
Tourisme National 2007-2026 . Ceci a comme base les donnes fournies par lInstitut
National de Statistique et prsente quelques inconvnients majeurs : il noffre pas des infor-
mations dtailles sur le profile dmographique des visiteurs trangers, il ny a pas de contrle
rel sur les enregistrements des touristes aux logements et a cause du systme de collecte des
donnes on augmente artificiellement le nombre des touristes et on diminue la priode de
sjour. (Master Plan : 92) De plus, les auteurs de ltude affirment qu il ny existe pas, pour
linstant, les donnes ncessaires lanalyse de la segmentation du march du tourisme inter-
national. La seule ressource disponible est reprsente par une srie dtudes ad-hoc . (Mas-
ter Plan : 96) Un autre problme de ltude est de nature mthodologique : La structure des
24 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
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chantillons est des questionnaires a vari dune recherche lautre ce quamne limpossibil-
it dun dmarche comparative directe. (Master Plan : 103).
Une mthode complmentaire dinvestigation de limage dun pays comme destination
touristique pourrait tre lanalyse des blogs de voyage des visiteurs trangers. (Pan, MacLau-
rin, Crotts, 2007, Akehurst, 2008, Carson, 2008, Mack, Blose, Pan, 2008) Cette approche est
justifie avant tout par la dimension en dveloppement continu de la blogosphre.
Le suivi de la blogosphre publi en avril 2006 prcise que la blogosphre doublerait son
volume tous les six mois et chaque seconde il y avait un nouveau blog. 55 % des 37 millions
enregistrs en 2006 au niveau mondial taient aliments avec de nouveaux articles au moins
de 3 en 3 mois. Pendant les 3 ans de 2003 2006, la blogosphre a augment de 60 fois.
(Sifry, 2006) Au cours de lanne 2006, le nombre de blogs a doubl de 35 millions 70 mil-
lions. Le rapport sur ltat de la blogosphre publi en avril 2007 signale lapparition de 1,4
nouveaux blogs et de 17 nouveaux articles chaque seconde. (Sifry, 2007) Le rapport Techno-
rati sur lanne 2008 inventorie 133 millions de blogs, ayant une moyenne de 900.000 arti-
cles par jour, une multiplication par 400 pendant 28 mois. (White, 2009)
La blogosphre, en tant que march, est de plus en plus importante pour les marqueteurs
aussi en raison de la crdibilit dont jouissent les blogs auprs des consommateurs dInter-
net. Ltude McCann (2009) montre que 36 % des utilisateurs actifs dInternet ont une
meilleure opinion au sujet des entreprises qui ont blog et 32% ont confiance en les opinions
des bloggeurs quand il sagit de produits et services. La plus part des bloggeurs 75 % se
considrent sincres, indiffrent sils sont bloggeurs professionnels, personnels o corpo-
ratistes. (Sussman, 2009)
Une tude ralise par Buzz Logic et Jupiter Research est reprise par emarketer.com sig-
nale une multiplication par 300 au cours des dernires 4 annes du nombre des lecteurs men-
suels de blogs. 47 % de la population amricaine a dclar avoir lire blogs. Les auteurs de la
recherche affirment quon doit ajouter ce pourcent les personnes qui ne savent pas quils
ont trouv linformation cherche sur un blog. (emarketer, 2010)
Ltude McCann (2009) affirme que 72,8 % des utilisateurs actifs dInternet lisent des
blogs et que 67,5% lisent des blogs personnels. Les auteurs comprennent par utilisateurs
actifs des personnes qui utilisent au moins une fois par jour linternet. Lchantillon a t
form de 17.000 utilisateurs actifs provenant de 29 pays. Le march de recherche sur linter-
net a augment de 46 % pendant lanne 2009. (comscor, 2010)
Les blogs ont un impact plus lev sur la dcision dachat que les social media et en
mme temps ils jouissent dune plus grande crdibilit. (Dellarocas, 2003, Chen, Tsai, 2007)
Cest pourquoi les lecteurs de blogs sont trs importants pour les spcialistes en marketing.
(eMarketer, 2008) La mme tude a dcouvert que 40 % des lecteurs des blogs et la moiti
de ces qui lisent frquemment des blogs ont actionn aprs la lecture dun article de blog.
Limportance de la blogosphre en tant que milieu de communication est bien mise en vi-
dence par les conclusions du rapport McCann : La blogosphre est aujourdhui si ample
quelle reprsente un baromtre prcis de lopinion du consommateur. Tous les brands doivent
lutiliser comme instrument de mesure de lopinion () et comme forum de recherche. En tant
que groupe social, la blogosphre rivalise les mass media en termes de rayon dinfluence et
temps pass, ou plus large comme impact culturel, social et politique. (McCann, 2008)
Media, Globalization and the Public Sphere 25
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 25
Les praticiens et les scientifiques du tourisme sont proccups davantage par les blogs
comme moyen dinvestigation et de promotion de limage dune destination de voyage autant
que les blogs de voyage occupent une position privilgie parmi les prfrences des consom-
mateurs dinternet. A la question : Quel est le sujet de votre blog ? pose dans la plus
rcente tude Technorati, 20 % des producteurs de contenue ont avou lintrt pour les blogs
de voyage ; cest--dire les voyage sont plus intressants pour eux que les clbrits, les jeux,
la famille, la sant, lconomie, le film, la tlvision, o environnement. (Sussman, 2009)
Les lecteurs des blogs Amricains accordent la 4
me
place aux blogs de voyages dans un
classement de lutilit dans la prise de dcision dachat. (emarketer, 2008) Au niveau mondi-
al 22.5% des lecteurs des blogs ont choisi le plus souvent les blogs de voyage et, dans le
mme pourcentage, des consommateurs dinternet ont prfr les blogs de voyage.
(McCann, 2009)
Ltude de limage de la Roumanie comme destination touristique pour les consomma-
teurs dinternet est particulirement importante parce que 22% des Franais, 24% des Alle-
mands et 27% des Britanniques qui ont visit la Roumanie ont utilis linternet comme
source dinformation. (Master Plan : 97) On peut objecter que linternet est plac seulement
sur la troisime place comme source dinformation touristique dans le cas de la Roumanie,
mais les auteurs de ltude expliquent cette situation particulire parmi les tats membre de
lUnion Europenne par la trs faible prsence des renseignements sur la Roumanie dans le-
space virtuel. (Master Plan : 107) Ce fait est de nature daugmenter limportance de la com-
munication interpersonnelle word to mouth par linternet.
Etant donn que les renseignements sur limage de la Roumanie comme destination
touristique publis sur le site officiel du ministre de ressort sont dats, lacunaires et
reprsentent le rsultat des recherches ad hoc, que la blogosphre est un espace de communi-
cation en pleine expansion et digne de lattention des praticiens et scientifiques et que les
blogs en gnral et ceux de voyage en particulier jouissent de la confiance des lecteurs
(Joppe, Waalen, 2001, Johnson, Kaze, 2004), nous considrons que lanalyse des blogs per-
sonnels de voyage crits par des visiteurs trangers peut tre un instrument de mesure et con-
trle de limage de la Roumanie comme destination touristique et un moyen de surveillance
du march touristique international.
Nous nous proposons de contribuer la connaissance du march international de
tourisme de la Roumanie avec une recherche exploratoire mene au but didentifier et val-
uer limage de la Roumanie telle quelle est perue par les touristes Franais qui utilisent le
blog comme moyen de partager lexprience du voyage. En ce but nous allons tudier les
attributs que les bloggeurs Franais associent limage de la Roumanie comme destination
touristique, lvaluation de ces attributs et lvaluation spontane et subjective des zones
touristiques visites en Roumanie. (Scott, William, 1965, Echtner, Ritchie, 2003, San Mar-
tin, del Bosque, 2008)
Notre recherche apporte de nouvelles donnes ncessaires aux spcialistes en marketing
touristique afin dlaborer des stratgies pour renforcer les points forts et pour amliorer les
points faibles du tourisme roumain. Tout de mme, notre recherche largie la base dinfor-
mations sur laquelle on peut mieux mener la communication des zones touristique roumaine
vers lextrieur. Notre dmarche scientifique recommande aux praticiens et aux autorits
26 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
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lanalyse des rcits de voyage publis par blog comme mthode complmentaire de surveil-
lance de limage de la Roumanie en tant que destination touristique.
2. Methode et corpus
Notre recherche propose lanalyse de limage de la Roumanie comme destination touris-
tique perue par les voyageurs bloggeurs Franais. Nous prenons en compte laspect psy-
chologique de la perception de limage qui ressort de la perception et de lvaluation des
attributs des destinations touristiques. En ce but nous allons rpondre aux questions de
recherche suivantes :
Q1 : Quel est lintrt des touristes bloggeurs pour les diffrentes zones touristiques de la
Roumanie ?
Q2 : Quelle est lvaluation subjective, spontane et holistique des zones touristiques
visites en Roumanie ?
Q3 : Quels sont les attributs des zones touristiques les plus importants pour les voyageurs
bloggeurs Franais ?
Q4 : Quelle est lvaluation des attributs de chaque zone touristique ?
Q5 : Quelle est limage de la Roumanie perue par les voyageurs Franais et diffuse par
le blog ?
Nous avons soumis lanalyse de contenue un corpus de 30 blogs qui comprennent 162
articles. Nous avons choisi comme unit denregistrement la zone touristique. Le choix a
comme base le fait que la Roumanie est une destination avec un potentiel touristique vari
qui comprend beaucoup de zones avec des spcificits trs marques. Pour cette tude nous
avons pris comme base les rgions utilises couramment dans les recherches sociologiques
menes en Roumanie. Il sagit des rgions : Valachie Oltnie, Transylvanie, Banat, Cri-
sana, Maramures, Moldavie auxquelles jai ajout la Capitale et la Roumanie en tant que
zones touristiques mentionnes en tant quunits distinctes dans les rcits des bloggeurs.
Ensuite, nous avons partag les rgions en zones touristiques en tenant compte de leurs sp-
cificits, des documents du Ministre du Tourisme et des documents mis par des praticiens.
La grille danalyse repose sur les 33 zones touristiques prsentes dans les articles de blogs.
Nous avons prfr la zone touristique comme unit de rfrence et non larticle de blog
parce que, cause du haut niveau de libert du rcit, un post peut faire rfrence a une seule
zone touristique, mai en abordant plusieurs attributs, o au contraire, un seule article peut
faire rfrence a plusieurs zones touristiques visit mais avec des trs bref considrations. En
plus, en utilisant la zone touristique comme unit denregistrement, ont peut dceler limage
de chaque zone avec ses attributs et leurs valuations.
Nous avons choisi seulement les blogs hbergs par les sites de voyage car, dune cot,
dans la littrature de spcialit on mention quune recherche gnrale porte sur la blo-
gosphre consomme beaucoup de temps et sans des rsultats concluants (Carson, 2008), et
dautre cot les consommateurs forment des communauts dintrt (Schmallegger, Carson,
2008) et ceux qui sont intresss par les expriences de voyage des personnes prives vont
les chercher sur les sites de blogs spcialiss. (Carson, 2008)
Media, Globalization and the Public Sphere 27
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 27
Le corpus de donnes a t compos en partant du moteur de recherche Google, pages
francophones. Pour les mots de recherche sites, blogs, voyage, le moteur a retourn les suiv-
ants rsultats, au 20 avril 2010 : uniterre.com, enroutes.com, travelblog.fr, voyages.net, en-
escale.com, expedia.fr, tour-du-monde.net, tourismevoyage.com, govoyages.com, globe-
blog.com.
La recherche a montr quil y a deux sites de blogs touristiques francophones qui hber-
gent un nombre assez important darticles sur la Roumanie uniterre.com avec 182 et trav-
elblog.fr avec 200 de articles les autres 8 sites ont maximum 6 articles. Suite a une
recherche exhaustive en utilisant dautre combinaison de mots en gardant le mme thme au
cours de 10 jours de 20 30 avril 2010 les premiers 10 places ont t occupes par les
mme sites, seulement la hirarchie a vari, mais toujours uniterre et travelblog ont occup
les premires trois places et toujours uniterre avant travelblog.
Dans ces circonstances nous avons dcid de mener la recherche exploratoire sur les
blogs qui ont comme sujet la Roumanie et qui sont hbergs par uniterre.
La grille pour lanalyse de contenue a t conue selon la liste dattributs dEchtner et
Ritchie (2003) afin de mesurer limage de la destination touristique en fonction des valua-
tions positives, ngatives et neutres des touristes bloggeurs.
Limage de la Roumanie en tant que destination touristique du point de vue des attributs a
t value selon 5 catgories: attractions touristiques, infrastructure de transport, logement,
cuisine traditionnelle et alimentation publique, et les gens sous laspect de lhospitalit.
La catgorie attractions touristiques comprenne les distractions, les activits sportives,
le tourisme balnaire, de sant et de beaut, lattraction culturelle, attraction pour la nature,
lattraction pour le spcifique locale. Les composantes de lattraction culturelle sont les mon-
uments historiques et darchitectures et les muss. Les parcs et les rservations naturels, les
paysages, la nature vierge ont ts groups comme attraction pour la nature. Lattraction
spcifique locale regroupe le style de vie patriarcale des terroirs ainsi que lunicit de la
vie quotidienne urbaine, si est le cas. Le tourisme montagnard et splologique et lart popu-
laire traditionnel sont encore deux sous-catgories prsentes au cadre de la grille danalyse.
Ont a ajout la sous-catgorie autres pour pouvoir prendre en compte des lments qui ne
sont pas des attractions touristiques proprement dites, mais qui par laccompagnement des
attractions touristique influence la perception et lvaluation des destinations.
La catgorie transport regroupe linfrastructure routire et le transport local par autoroute,
linfrastructure ferroviaire et le transport par train, le transport en avion et en bateau.
Le logement comprend les htels, les pensions, le logement chez les habitants, hberge-
ment sous tente et dautres.
3. Resultats
Lintrt pour les zones touristiques
Afin dtudier lintrt pour les zones et les destinations touristiques nous avons utilis
les frquences des rfrences. On a trouv 239 rfrences aux zones touristiques au cours des
162 articles de blogs examins. 95% font rfrence une zone touristique particulire ; le
reste de 5% provient des blogs vides. Les plus frquente mentions sont lies la Roumanie
en tant quunit individuelle.
28 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 28
Media, Globalization and the Public Sphere 29
Nous avons partag les zones en sous
zones particulires afin de pouvoir mieux
dceler les plus visits et mentionns objectifs
touristiques dans les articles des bloggeurs.
Les objectifs touristiques ont t ajouts dans
la grille danalyse au fur et mesure de leurs
apparitions dans les rcits des bloggeurs. En
tant que destination individuelle, la Capitale
est mentionne le plus frquemment
15.1% ; elle est suivit par les monastres de
Bucovine 11.5% et par les monastres de
Bucovine et Sinaia Brasov 9.1%.
Bucarest est peru comme une destination
touristique unitaire en taux de 64%, les seuls
objectifs touristiques individuels voqus
dans les articles des blogs en tant la Maison
du Parlement 16%, le centre-ville historique
12% et le Mus du paysan Roumain 8%.
Tableau 1. Lintrt pour les zones touris-
tiques.
Zones touristiques
mentions%
Bucarest
11.3
Cte de la Mer Noire
13.1
La Vale de Prahova
9.9
Valachie-Oltnie
1.4
Transylvanie
13.5
Bucovine
9.0
Moldavie
2.7
Banat
1.4
Crisana
0.5
Maramures
12.2
Roumanie
25.2
La Transylvanie, la plus visite zone gn-
rale doit sa notorit parmi les bloggeurs qui y
ont voyag la destination touristique Brasov
- 43,33% et aux villes Sighisoara et Sibiu en
proportions gales e taux de 16.67%. On ob-
serve la manque des cits fortifies mdiva-
les trs attrayantes mai inconnues ce public.
Le littoral de la Mer Noire est peru comme
destination en soi par 31% des bloggeurs qui
crivent sur la rgion Dobroudja ; le Delta du
Danube et Constanta- Mamaia ont des taux
gaux 20.69%. La station Vama Veche juit
dun statut spcial tant la plus frquemment
voque location de distraction au bord roumain
de la Mer Noir. On remarque labsence absolue
des stations Eforie et Mangalia qui ont une
composante de tourisme balnaire, de Neptun-
Olimp qui ont t conues comme des stations
ddies aux touristes trangers et de Costinesti,
qui jadis tait la station de la jeunesse.
Dans les articles des bloggeurs voyageurs
franais, la Valle de Prahova est voque
surtout pour les monuments historiques et
darchitecture de Sinaia et les alentours de
Brasov 71.43%.
Tableau 2. Lintrt pour les destinations
particulires.
Destinations particulires %
Bucarest 9.7
La Maison du Parlement 2.4
Le Muse du Paysan Roumain 1.2
Le centre-ville historique 1.8
Cte de la Mer Noire 5.5
Vama Veche-2 Mai 4.8
Constanta-Mamaia 3.6
Le Delta du Danube 3.6
La Vale de Prahova 3.1
Sinaia-Brasov 9.1
les Carpates Mridionales 0.7
Valachie-Oltnie 1.9
Transylvanie 4.2
Brasov 7.9
Sibiu 3.0
Sighisoara 3.0
Bucovine 11.5
Moldavie 4.2
Le Dfil du Danube 1.8
Crisana 0.7
Maramures 7.3
Les glises de Maramures 0.6
Le Cimetire de Sapanta 1.2
La Vale dIza 2.4
Cluj 4.8
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 29
Lvaluation des zones touristiques
Pour cette tude exploratoire nous avons pris en compte seulement les apprciations
spontanes, subjectives et holistiques des touristes Franais bloggeurs.
Roumanie est la plus frquemment nominalise zone touristique unitaire, mais aux
54.1% des rfrences il ny a pas dvaluation, en plus 24.6% des valuations sont neutres.
Les valuations positives sont en taux de 16.4% et les ngatives en taux de 4.9%.
Tableau 3. Lvaluation des zones touristiques %.
65.5% du totale des 237 rfrences aux zones touristiques sont accompagnes par des
valuations. 47% des valuations sont positives, 44% sont neutres et seulement 9% sont
ngatives. En partant de celles-ci ont peut estimer la perception subjective et spontane des
touristes blogueurs Franais sur la Roumanie en tant que destination touristique. Ces dates
convergent vers les conclusions des recherches du Master Plan pour le Dveloppement du
Tourisme National 2007-2026, o on affirme que la perception de la Roumanie comme
destination touristique est confuses (p 102). Le haut niveau des valuation neutres est du
aux nominalisations des destinations touristiques dans le contexte des prcisions sur le trajet
du voyage ou dune location.
Lvaluation des attributs qui participent la formation de limage de la Roumanie
comme destination touristique
Les attributs dont font rfrence les blogueurs Franais qui ont visit la Roumanie peu-
vent tre groups en 5 catgories : le transport et linfrastructure de communication, le loge-
ment, la catgorie des attractions touristiques, la cuisine traditionnelle et lalimentation
publique et les gens ici en tant compris lhospitalit des habitants, la bienveuillance
envers les trangers. Le plus haut intrt est manifest vers la catgorie qui regroupe les
attractions touristiques.
30 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
Zones touristiques positive negative neutre sans valuation
Bucarest 32 32 28 8
Cte de la Mer Noire 51.72 3.45 41.38 3.45
La Vale de Prahova 40.91 0 45.45 13.64
Valachie-Oltnie 33.33 0 0 66.67
Transylvanie 40 0 46.67 13.33
Bucovine 20 0 5 75
Moldavie 50 0 50 0
Banat 100 0 0 0
Crisana 100 0 0 0
Maramures 29.63 7.41 25.93 37.03
Roumanie 16.4 4.9 24.6 54.1
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 30
Tableau 4. Lvaluation des catgories des attributs.
Le poids des attributs (%) dans lvaluation de limage de la Roumanie comme
destination touristique
Lanalyse des frquences des valuations rvle que les attractions touristiques ont le
plus grand poids dans lvaluation positive de limage de la Roumanie comme destination
touristique. Lattitude ngative des visiteurs est due en proportions sensiblement gales
linfrastructure de transport et aux attractions touristiques. On observe la polarisation des
points forts et des points faibles de limage touristique de la Roumanie. Tant que les attrac-
tions touristiques attirent 40% des apprciations positives, chaque autre catgorie ramasse
moins de 10%. De mme, le transport et les attractions touristiques attirent, chaque une,
presque 10% des apprciations ngatives, en temps que la somme des touts autres mcon-
tentements reprsente moins de 4%.
Tableau 5. La contribution des catgories dattributs lvaluation de limage touristique
de la Roumanie.
Limage de la Roumanie value par le biais des attributs intrinsques des zones touristiques
est plus tt positive (61.83%), tandis que les apprciations ngatives reprsentent 22.54%.
4. Discussions
Lvaluation des zones touristiques
La Roumanie en tant que zone touristique na pas un profile net, 44% des valuations en
tant neutres. Cependant on remarque que les apprciations ngatives des bloggeurs Franais
qui ont voyag en Roumanie sont seulement en taux de 9%. Ces rsultats convergent avec ceux
Media, Globalization and the Public Sphere 31
valuation positive ngative neutre
transport 8.99 63.3 27.8
logement 68.2 13.6 18.2
Attractions touristiques 70.7 18.1 11.2
Cuisine traditionnelle 74.5 0 25.5
gens 72.2 16.7 11.1
valuation positive ngative neutre Total rfrences
transport 1.36 9.58 4.21 15.15
logement 5.7 1.15 1.52 8.37
Attractions touris-
tiques
37.48 9.57 5.91 52.96
cuisine traditionnelle 7.38 0 2.48 9.86
gens 9.91 2.24 1.51 13.66
total apprciations 61.83 22.54 15.63 100
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 31
prsents par le Master Plan pour le Dveloppement du Tourisme Nationale 2007-2026, o on
mention que la perception des touristes Franais qui ont dj visit la Roumanie est plus favor-
able que celle des Franais qui nont jamais y voyag.
La Capitale tire bnfice de son rle de nud communicationnel entre les principaux
couloire touristique de Roumanie et entre lEurope Occidentale et la zone Balkanique et
lOrient. En mme temps lanalyse a rvl que les touristes bloggeurs Franais ne connais-
sent que trois objectifs touristiques de Bucarest la Maison du Parlement, le centre-ville
historique et le Muse du Paysan Roumain ; ce qui montre la ncessit dintensifier la com-
munication du potentiel touristique.
La cte de la Mer Noire est prsente dans les rcits des bloggeurs voyageurs Franais
seulement par les stations Vama Vache, Constanta -Mamaia et le Delta du Danube. Le patri-
moine culturel et historique de Dobroudja, ainsi que le tourisme viticole ou les activits nau-
tiques ne sont pas mentionnes parmi les attractions touristiques de la rgion.
Lanalyse de la zone la Vale de Prahova et Brasov montre que les efforts de promouvoir
les monuments darchitecture et historiques ont port des bnfices dimage en temps que le
potentiel touristique montagnard reste encore faiblement valoris.
Un regard plus gnral sur la reprsentation des zones touristiques dans les articles des
bloggeurs Franais montre le manque dune vision stratgique unitaire sur la communication
et sur la capitalisation du potentiel touristique de la Roumanie.
Limage gnrale de la Roumanie en tant que destination touristique value par les
voyageurs bloggeurs Franais du point de vue des attributs est en taux de 61.83% positive,
15.63% neutre et 22.54% ngative. Ces rsultats diffrent sensiblement de ceux publis dans
le Master Plan pour le Dveloppement du Tourisme Nationale 2007-2026 qui est bas sur
une recherche entreprise en 2006 et qui conclue : Les pourcents enregistrs en ce qui con-
cerne lattitude ngative, neutre et positive des citoyens Franais ont t 49% ,32% et 2%
(les autres nont pas manifest une opinion) mme si trois quart des rpondants se consid-
rent mal informs sur les possibilit de passer les vacances en Roumanie. Mais lexemple
franais est extrme. Le Master Plan noffre pas des renseignements sur la mthodologie
de la recherche, le corpus de donns, la modalit dchantillonnage, les donns dmo-
graphiques des rpondants etc. Par contre, les opinions des bloggeurs reprsentent une val-
uation au cours o aprs le voyage en Roumanie ce quattnue le manque dinformation,
elles sont exprimes librement, sans les contraintes imposes par les rigueurs dun question-
naire o dune interview, elles ne sont pas vicies par la prsence de loprateur et elles ne
sont pas filtres par lintrt du chercheur pour une certaine problmatique.
La plus grande part de lapprciation positive de limage de la Roumanie en tant que des-
tination touristique appartient aux attractions touristiques. Les plus grandes contributions
dans lvaluation ngative appartiennent en proportions sensiblement gales aux transports
(9.58%) et aux attractions touristiques (9.57%). Le mauvais tat de linfrastructure routire
est voqu comme un point ngatif rcurent et drangeant ; il y a des blogs o pas seulement
chaque article mais chaque rcit sur un changement de location est accompagn par des val-
uations ngatives des autoroutes dans toutes les zones touristique y compris la Capitale. Le
transport en train est valu positivement pour le confort quon assure aux passagers sur cer-
tains trajets mais est sanctionn pour la lenteur et les retards causs par ltat du chemin de fer.
32 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 32
Les lments compris par la catgorie attractions touristiques qui ont la plus lourde con-
tribution lvaluation ngative (11.91%) appartient la sous-catgorie autres . Cette
sous-catgories contient les rfrences a ltat de propret, aux animaux sans abri, lcolo-
gie (par exemple les rivires touffes par les dchs en plastique, les ordures masses en
bordure des villages), la corruption, les problmes aux bureaux dchange, le fonction-
nement dficitaire des institutions de ltat.
La deuxime contribution, en pourcent, lvaluation ngative de la Roumanie comme
destination touristique parmi les attractions touristiques 3.48% appartient au spcifique
locale. Les bloggeurs saisissent comme ngatifs des comportements et des coutumes sur tout
urbains comme par exemple le transport en chariot en centre ville mais aussi la juxtapo-
sition des lments appartenant la mondialisation au dessus de la vie des paysans.
On doit ajouter que la cuisine traditionnelle et lalimentation publique en tant que cat-
gorie dattributs ont seulement des valuations positives. Parmi les attractions touristiques les
sports, le tourisme montagnard et celui balnaire nont aucune mention ngative. Mes elles
sont sous-reprsentes. Tout de mme le transport en bateau est apprci uniquement positif.
En comparant lvaluation subjective et spontane de la Roumanie comme destination
touristique avec limage obtenue par lvaluation des catgories dattributs on voit une dif-
frence significative. Mes les deux indicateurs son complmentaires, le premier en tenant
compte des caractristiques psychologiques du voyageur et le second des caractristiques
fonctionnelles de la destination. Limage de la destination touristique obtenue de lanalyse
des attributs est plus nuance et donc donne plus de renseignements sur les points forts et
faibles de la destination et offre la base pour llaboration des plans stratgiques de
dveloppement du tourisme. Lvaluation subjective offre les donnes ncessaires pour une
stratgie de communication performante.
5. Limites et recherches ulterieures
Cette recherche exploratoire offre des donnes rvlatrices exclusivement au niveau des
bloggeurs touristes Franais. Elle reprsente le point de dpart pour une analyse tendue sur
des voyageurs bloggeurs appartenant dautres espaces culturels et complte par une
analyse qualitative.
Dans la mesure dans laquelle les autorits nationales de tourisme auraient dispos d-
tudes actuelles et cohrentes du point de vue mthodologique sur les visiteurs trangers on
pouvait mener des recherches comparatives sur les diffrentes catgories de publique.
Une recherche plus tendue sur des blogs conus par des visiteurs appartenant dautres
espaces culturels que le francophone pourrait apporter des claircissements sur le rle de la
culture dappartenance dans lvaluation des destinations touristique.
Prenant en compte les limites de lanalyse de contenue la prsente recherche devait tre
complte par une analyse qualitative.
Des recherches ultrieures portant sur lanalyse des photos apporteraient un plus dinfor-
mations afin de contrebalancer la manque dvaluations explicites en texte.
Media, Globalization and the Public Sphere 33
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 33
6. Conclusions
Ltude a mise en vidence que les zones touristiques les plus visites sont celles qui ont
une image consolide durant les dcennies. Outre Sighisoara, Sibiu et Vama Veche aucune
nouvelle zone touristique na russi simposer devant le public tranger. La Capitale ne tire
pas fruit sur le plan touristique de sa position privilgie de nud communicationnel. De tout
le patrimoine historique, architectural et culturel seulement 3 objectifs touristiques sont indi-
vidualiss dans les rcits de voyage des bloggeurs Franais. Bucarest en tant que zone touris-
tique en soi est valu ngativement en taux de 36% par rapport aux seulement 14% valua-
tion positives. Limage prpondrante ngative de la Capitale est du surtout ltat gnral de
propret, linfrastructure, et au manque des centres dinformations pour les touristes.
Les zones touristiques les plus sous-reprsentes sont Crisana et la Valachie Oltnie,
lexception de Dobroudja et de la Vale de Prahova. Les autres zones touristiques ont des
valuations prpondrantes positives, ce qui est de nature confirm les tudes antrieures
qui affirment que limage touristique de la Roumanie est meilleure aprs avoir y voyager
quen absence du contacte direct.
Ltude a rvl que les attractions touristiques reprsentent la catgorie dattributs qui
ont le plus lourd poids dans limage de la destination touristique. Les attractions touristiques
sont les principales responsables pour limage positive, mais en taux gale avec ltat de lin-
frastructure de transport elles sont la cause des valuations ngatives. Les atouts indniables
de la Roumanie comme destination touristique sont la cuisine traditionnelle et la qualit
perue des services en alimentation publique dun part, et dautre part lhospitalit des habi-
tants. Les bloggeurs Franais qui voyagent en Roumanie sont peu intresss au logement en
htel, en prfrant dtre hbergs aux habitants ou dans des petites pensions familiales qui
assurent aussi la restauration ; pour ceux-ci la bienveuillance, la chaleur et lhospitalit des
htes sont trs importantes.
Lanalyse de lvaluation des catgories dattributs nous a conduits vers la conclusion
que la Roumanie a une image prpondrant positive, en taux de 61.68%, parmi les voyageurs
bloggeurs Franais. La perception subjective de la Roumanie comme destination touristique
est en taux de 47% positive, 44% neutre et 9% ngative. De la diffrence entre lvaluation
des attributs et la perception subjective rsulte la ncessit dune communication plus effi-
cace afin de mieux valoriser les attributs de la Roumanie comme destination touristique.
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Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 36
Kant on Geniuses and Scientists in the Public Sphere
Bryan HALL*
Indiana University Southeast, USA
Abstract: In the Critique of the Power of Judgment (CJ), Immanuel Kant argues for a distinction between
geniuses and scientists limiting the former to the production of beautiful art. Kants reason for doing so was to
discount the opinions of geniuses on scientific matters in the public sphere, but his argument also has the effect
of discounting the opinions of geniuses even in the realm of art. At first glance, Kants critique of genius seems
at odds with his conception of enlightenment in his famous essay An Answer to the Question: What is Enlight-
enment? (WE). As I will argue, however, Kants discussion in CJ actually serves as a useful supplement to his
conception of enlightenment and his associated conception of the public sphere in WE.
Keywords: artist, genius, Kant, reason, science
1. Introduction
In the Critique of the Power of Judgment (CJ) from 1790, Immanuel Kant defines genius
by distinguishing it from science. At the heart of Kants distinction is the idea that scientists
possess a rule-governed procedure to generate their discoveries whereas no rule-governed
procedure can fully determine the products of genius. Genius involves a free correspon-
dence of the imagination to the lawfulness of the understanding that a rule-governed proce-
dure could never produce.
1
Kant holds that only artists can be geniuses and only insofar as
they produce beautiful art.
2
The fact that Kant does distinguish between geniuses and scien-
tists, however, begs the question of why Kant would make such a distinction.
It is likely that Kants rejection of scientific genius stems from his growing dissatisfac-
tion with the Sturm und Drang movement in Germany and, in particular, with one of its main
*
Contact: hallbw@ius.edu.
1
CJ 5:317. All citations to Kants work use the Akademie-edition pagination of Kants Gesammelte
Schriften. For a detailed discussion of this free correspondence and its connection to Kants conception of
genius, see Alexander Rueger, The Free-Play of the Faculties and the Status of Natural Beauty in Kants
Theory of Taste.
2
Although Kants comments seem to suggest that one must be a genius in order to produce beautiful art
(see especially CJ 5:311), Bradley Murray has recently challenged this idea. See Murray, Kant on Genius
and Art.
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38 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
figures, Johann Herder.
3
Kant sees, in Herder, an artistic genius playing scientist, i.e., an
artist making claims about the natural world based not on rational arguments and empirical
evidence but rather on creative inspiration alone. For Herder, furthermore, genius is a cre-
ative faculty which he makes no attempt to rationally reconstruct. As one of the principal
defenders of enlightenment thinking, it is not surprising that Kant strongly disagreed with
Herders approach. The purpose of Kants contrast between genius and science is to assign
them distinct domains. Whereas genius is limited to the production of beautiful art, science
is limited to producing discoveries concerning the natural world. If Kant is right, then Herder
is trying to make a use of genius in a domain for which it has no application.
Kants distinction has important implications for discussions in the public sphere. Since
geniuses are not able to provide reasons (in terms of argument, proof, or evidence) for why
the public should agree with them, they should have no say on issues that fall under the
purview of science in the public sphere. As we shall see, however, geniuses are no better off
in their own artistic domain since they are unable to express their genius to others.
This account of genius seems at odds, however, with Kants description of the public
sphere in his famous essay An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment? (WE)
from 1784. In this work, Kant argues that everyone should have the courage to think for
themselves on any topic whatsoever. Furthermore, they should express their views through
what Kant calls a public use of reason.
4
(WE 8:37) Kant believes that deferring to authority
within the public sphere indicates a kind of immaturity that enlightenment aims to over-
come. (WE 8: 35) Why should the genius defer to the scientist, however, when no one else is
required to do so?
As I will argue below, although Kants critique of genius in CJ might seem to pose a
problem for his discussion of the enlightenment and his associated conception of the public
sphere in WE, it actually serves as a useful addendum to his earlier views. The central prob-
lem with genius is that it is not an expression of reason but rather a rejection of it. This rejec-
tion of reason is not only incompatible with Kants conception of the public sphere (predicat-
ed on a public use of reason) but is also a threat to enlightenment itself.
This paper is broken into three sections. The first section examines Kants early theory of
genius as well as how and why he changed his views in CJ. The second section will examine
how Kant tries to develop a conception of the public sphere in WE as well as how his critique
of genius in CJ might seem to be inconsistent with this conception. The final section will
argue that Kants critique of genius in CJ is not only consistent with his views on the public
sphere in WE, but is also an important defense of enlightenment principles.
3
Although the Sturm und Drang movement presented a new threat to enlightenment thinking, Kant had
long been fighting these kinds of battles. For example, see Kants satire of Emmanuel Swedenborgs mysti-
cism in Dreams of a Spirit-Seer (1766). In fact, Kant even warns a young Herder, in a letter from 1768,
against falling into mysticism. See Kant, Correspondence, 10:73-74. In my discussion of the relationship
between Kant and Herder, I am closely following John Zammitos own discussion. See Zammito, The Gen-
esis of Kants Critique of Judgment, especially pp. 138-139.
4
All Quotes from WE are taken from the David L. Colclasure translation in Toward Perpetual Peace and
Other Writings on Politics, Peace, and History.
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2. Information
By the time Kant published CJ in 1790, he had decided that the scope of genius should be
limited to the domain of beautiful art. Earlier in his career, however, he argues that philoso-
phers, mathematicians, and scientists can all be geniuses. In the 1770s, the main criterion
for genius seems to be a talent or ability to invent which both artists as well as scientists
share.
5
Such an ability to invent, however, does not preclude a certain degree of imitation. In
a Reflexion dating from 1772, Kant mentions Newton, Kepler, and Milton as examples of
geniuses who invented new ideas though their respective discoveries all involved imitation.
Whereas Newtons theory of gravity imitated [nachahmte] the apples fall and Keplers
theory of elliptical orbits imitated harmonic proportions, Milton imitated the great poets
that preceded him.
6
(Kant, Reflexionen, 15: 340) What sets imitating [nachahmen] in the
above cases apart from mimicking or (literally) aping [nachffen] according to Kant, is that
the imitating transcends that which is being imitated.
7
(CJ 5: 318) Kant considers this form
of imitation the safe path of genius and goes on to describe it as an imitation in spirit
which suggests that what Kant has in mind might better be described as inspiration rather
than imitation. (Kant, Reflexionen, 15: 340) Although Kant believes there is no example of
genius that does not involve a degree of imitation, genius requires being inspired to go
beyond what is being imitated to discover something new. Once new ground is broken, it is
possible to teach others how to follow the same path, though it is impossible to teach others
how to break new ground themselves. Following the path, however, is the first step to
becoming a genius in ones own right.
Why did Kant change his mind with respect to the possibility of scientific genius by the
time he published CJ in 1790? As mentioned above, the most plausible explanation is Kants
growing dissatisfaction, in the 1780s, with the Sturm und Drang movement in Germany and
in particular with one of its main figures, Johann Herder. In Herder, Kant saw an artistic
genius making claims about the natural world on the basis of creative insight alone.
8
Kant
believes Herder is attempting to supplant the natural scientist within the scientists own
Media, Globalization and the Public Sphere 39
5
For further discussion of Kants conception of genius and its relation to science in the 1770s, see Gior-
gio Tonelli, Kants Early Theory of Genius (1770-1779) Part One, especially pp. 126ff and Piero Gio-
danetti, Das Verhltnis von Genie, Knstler und Wissenschaftler in der Kantischen Philosophie. After
Kants change of heart in the CJ, however, he again suggests in his 1798 Anthropology from a Pragmatic
Point of View that both scientists and philosophers can be geniuses citing Newton and Leibniz as examples.
See Kant, Anthropology, 7:226.
6
Translations of the Reflexionen are my own.
7
Kant draws the distinction between imitation and aping in CJ as well.
8
See, for example, Herders Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit which offers a
description of the development and organization of inorganic matter, organisms, human beings, and society
that relies heavily on aesthetic considerations, literary metaphor, and mysterious insights into the inner
workings of nature. Kant himself published critical reviews of Herders work in 1785 in the Allgemeine Lit-
eratur-Zeitung which touch on many of the themes that Kant will return to in CJ when distinguishing the
genius from the scientist. See Kant, Recensionen von J.G.Herders Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der
Menschheit. Theil 1. 2., 8:43-66.
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40 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
domain of expertise.
9
The idea that one could make important discoveries concerning the nat-
ural world relying on creative imagination instead of rational inquiry was repugnant to Kants
enlightenment principles. That Herder is the primary target of Kants discussion of genius can
be seen by comparing a letter Kant wrote to F.H. Jacobi on August 30
th
, 1789 with 47 of CJ
written around the same time.
10
From Kants letter to Jacobi: [Referring to Jacobis latest
work] You have thoroughly refuted the syncretism of Spinozism and Deism in Herders God.
All syncretistic talk is commonly based on insincerity, a property of mind that is especially
characteristic of this great artist in delusions (which, like magic lanterns, make marvelous
images appear for a moment but which soon vanish forever, though they leave behind in the
minds of the uninformed a conviction that something unusual must be behind it all, some-
thing, however, of which they cannot catch hold).
11
(Kant, Correspondence, 11: 76) From
47 of CJ : But when someone speaks and decides like a genius even in matters of the most
careful rational inquiry, then it is completely ridiculous; one does not rightly know whether
one should laugh more at the charlatan who spreads about himself such a mist that one cannot
judge clearly but can indulge in imagination all the more, or at the public, which trustingly
imagines that its incapacity to recognize clearly and grasp the masterpiece of insight comes
from the fact that whole masses of new truths are being thrown at it (CJ 5: 310)
Although Kant does not mention science in either of these passages, he does mention
rational inquiry. The main idea seems to be that, in certain matters (presumably including
the domain of scientific inquiry), the imaginative reveries of the genius are no substitute for
careful reasoning. Not only do geniuses delude themselves, but also the public who takes their
inability to understand the geniuses as proof-positive of the geniuses wisdom. This is the rea-
son why geniuses should not speak on matters of science in the public sphere. The obscuran-
tism of genius leaves the public as ignorant as before since geniuses can provide no reasons
for why the public should assent to their proclamations. As Kant says in CJ, if one were to ask
the genius for a proof, one would be sent packing with tasteful expressions (bons mots). (CJ
5: 305.) Insofar as the public pays greater attention to the genius than to the scientist on a topic
of scientific import, the public is misled. Put simply, when it comes to discussions in the pub-
lic sphere, Kant thinks individuals need to be able to articulate reasons for why the public
should agree them. For Kant, this is something that scientists can do though geniuses cannot.
One might well wonder, however, why geniuses cannot provide reasons for assenting to their
claims? Why is genius doomed to obscurantism? This returns us to the central distinction
between scientists and geniuses. Whereas the former possess a rule-governed procedure that
fully determines the products of science (e.g., scientific discoveries), the latter possess an
originality all their own underdetermined by any rule-governed procedure.
9
For a somewhat different view on the relationship between Kant and Herder as well as on how Herder
might defend himself against Kants charges, see Andrew Cutrofello, Kants Debate with Herder about the
Philosophical Significance of the Genius of Shakespeare.
10
Zammito notes this similarity. See Zammito, The Genesis of Kants Critique of Judgment, p. 142.
11
Kant is referring to Herders book entitled Gott, einige Gesprche ber Spinozas System nebst
Shaftesburys Naturhymnus and Jacobis book entitled ber die Lehre des Spinoza in Briefen an den Herrn
Moses Mendelssohn. Neue vermehrte Ausgabe.
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To illustrate his point with regard to science, Kant offers Isaac Newton as the paradigmat-
ic example of a great mind who was nevertheless not a genius. (CJ 5: 308.) In the Princip-
ia, Newton famously claims that he frames no hypotheses and describes his scientific dis-
coveries as deduced from the phenomena.
12
For example, according to Newton, all one
needs in order to justify his law of gravitation are (1) the observed phenomena, (2) mathe-
matics, (3) his laws of motion, and finally (4) certain widely accepted rules of reasoning in
philosophy, e.g., that one should assign the same causes to the same effects. Having already
been well established, (1) (4) should not be considered hypotheses and upon their assump-
tion, Newtons law of gravity follows as a logical consequence.
13
Newtons rule-governed
procedure fully determines the product of that procedure (i.e., the law of gravity) and by
articulating this procedure, Newton provides reasons for why the public should accept the
law of gravity.
The situation is far different for the genius. Whereas Herder apparently saw no need to
rationally reconstruct genius consigning it instead to a black-box of creativity, Kant thinks
that genius can be partially explained in terms of a rule-governed procedure. At the same
time, however, he holds that the rule-governed procedure underdetermines the products of
genius. As he says: Although mechanical and beautiful art, the first as a mere art of dili-
gence and learning, the second as that of genius, are very different from each other, still there
is no beautiful art in which something mechanical, which can be grasped and followed
according to rules, and thus something academically correct, does not constitute the essential
condition of the art originality of his talent constitutes one (but not the only) essential ele-
ment of the character of the genius. (CJ 5: 310)
It seems that Kant believes that there are two necessary and jointly sufficient conditions
for genius: (1) a rule-governed procedure for the production of beautiful art, and (2) an orig-
inality that cannot be explained in terms of any rule-governed procedure. When it comes to
genius, there is a gap between what the rule-governed procedure dictates and the ultimate
product of genius. This is the gap that creativity and originality occupy. It is this gap that pre-
vents geniuses from being able to adequately explain themselves in the public sphere. The
originality that belongs to genius alone cannot itself be rationally reconstructed. If this orig-
inality cannot be rationally reconstructed, the genius insights, insofar as they depend upon
this creativity, cannot be defended in terms of reasons (e.g., proofs, arguments, evidence)
within the public sphere.
Media, Globalization and the Public Sphere 41
12
Isaac Newton, The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, Vol. 2, Book III, General Scholi-
um, p. 314. Abbreviated Principia.
13
Newton, Principia, Book III, Rules of Reasoning in Philosophy and following, pp. 160ff. For a clear
discussion of Newtons argument, see Mary Hesse, Forces and Fields (Philosophical Library, 1962), pp.
144ff. Hesse argues, however, that one should take Newtons characterization with a grain of salt insofar as
both Newton and Robert Hooke had guessed the law of gravitation before Newton provided his argument
for the law. Since the phenomenon that Newton uses to justify his law can (in part) also be deduced from the
assumption of this law, Hesse argues that the law of gravitation could be justified using a hypothetico-
deductive model. Likewise, there is much skepticism as to whether scientists possess a rule-governed proce-
dure in Kants sense or what would be called a logic of discovery today. See Thomas Nickles, Scientific
Discovery.
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42 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
Although Herder does not even try to rationally reconstruct genius, Kant at least tries to
do so. In the end, however, Kant admits that the original or creative aspect of genius cannot
be rationally reconstructed. This comes with benefits and costs for geniuses according to
Kant. The benefit is that geniuses can produce beautiful art, art which can serve as an exam-
ple to inspire others (who are also geniuses) to produce their own beautiful art.
14
(CJ 5: 318)
The cost is that geniuses cannot provide publically accessible reasons for their insights inso-
far as they stem from the geniuses originality. Whether with respect to scientific matters or
artistic ones, geniuses like Herder can neither explain how they made their purported scien-
tific discoveries nor how they produced their beautiful art insofar as the production of this
art depends on their inborn creativity. Scientists are not faced with this problem, since com-
municating the rule-governed procedure is sufficient to explain how the scientists reached
their conclusions. The contrast seems to be that whereas the rule-governed procedure that
characterizes genius underdetermines the product of genius since an originality that cannot
be rationally reconstructed is still necessary, the rule-governed procedure that characterizes
science fully determines the product of science (e.g., the scientific discovery). Since the
originality that belongs to genius cannot be rationally reconstructed, it prevents geniuses
from giving reasons for their proclamations in the public sphere insofar as these proclama-
tions stem from the geniuses originality. As we will see in the next section, Kants critique
of genius raises serious questions for his discussion of the enlightenment and the public
sphere in WE. At first blush, it seems as if only the genius is precluded from being enlight-
ened and entering into a public sphere that Kant encourages everyone else to join.
Kant opens WE by challenging everyone to have the courage to think for themselves or as
he says in Latin, Sapere aude! (WE 8: 35) He believes the enlightenment is the human
beings emancipation from its self-incurred immaturity. (WE 8: 35) This immaturity consists
in conforming ones own opinions to the opinions of those in positions of authority and is
self-incurred when one does not have the courage to challenge the opinions of those in
authority through a use of ones own reason. Kant does, however, draw a distinction between
two uses of reason, one of which is constrained by authority while the other is not. The pri-
vate use of ones reason involves restrictions that follow from ones role within a given insti-
tution. For example, as the citizen of a state you are obligated to pay taxes even if you dont
agree with some of the taxes that are levied on you. In the private use of your reason, you
must think of the best way to pay your taxes (e.g., by estimating your taxes and saving
accordingly). You can, however, make a public use of your reason by writing books, essays,
blog entries, or twitter updates challenging the propriety of these taxes.
15
(WE 8: 37) Kant
14
Corey Dyck argues that Kant thought the artistic products of genius could aid in humanitys cultural
advancement (a cosmopolitan role) as long as the genius is appropriately refined (i.e., does not succumb to
fanaticism) and builds upon the artists of the past. See Dyck, Spirit without Lines: Kants Attempt to Rec-
oncile the Artistic Genius with Society.
15
Although Kants discussion of the public use of reason focuses on publishing books and essays, one
can update his examples (as I have tried to do) to make them seem less elitist. One might still worry, howev-
er, that Kants view on the private use of reason is insufficiently liberal since it demands that one obey even
unjust authorities.
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neither limits the public use of reason to certain individuals nor does he limit the public use
of reason to certain topics. He holds that nothing but freedom is required for enlightenment
and this freedom consists of making public use of ones reason in all matters. (WE 8:36) It
is this free exercise of reason that generates the public sphere and provides a peaceful forum
to encourage social and political change not only domestically but also internationally as
part of the society of citizens of the world, i.e., as part of a cosmopolitan public sphere.
16
Kants views on the public use of reason and how it differs from the private use of reason
have been tremendously influential on how figures ranging from John Rawls to Jrgen
Habermas conceive of the public sphere.
17
Although much could be said about these contem-
porary standpoints on the public sphere as well as how they conform to or differ from Kants
own position, I would like to examine a problem internal to Kants own philosophical stand-
point that arises when one tries to conjoin his critique of genius in CJ with his conception of
the enlightenment and the public use of reason in WE.
Given what was said in the previous section, one might wonder whether Kant is unfairly
demanding that the genius remain immature while at the same time encouraging everyone
else to break free of their immaturity. After all, immaturity consists of not thinking for one-
self but rather uncritically following the opinions of those who take themselves to be the
guardians of certain kinds of knowledge. (WE 8: 35) Whether this be the doctor giving you
a prescription, the pastor preaching about the road to eternal salvation, or the scientist telling
you what to believe about the natural world, Kant thinks that everyone has the obligation to
think for themselves in such matters. Why should the genius be any different? Why is the
road to enlightenment closed off to the genius while being left open to the rest of us? Fur-
thermore, isnt Herder actually embodying enlightenment values by challenging the scientist
on matters of scientific import? How could Kant have a problem with such independent
thought in CJ given his universal demand for independent thought in WE?
While Kant says that with regard to the arts and the sciences our rulers have no interest
in acting as a guardian of their subjects, he seems to be adopting the role of guardian by
claiming that the genius should pronounce neither on scientific matters nor even on artistic
matters in the public sphere! (WE 8: 41) Although Kant never says that the government (or
anyone else) should constrain the public speech of geniuses (e.g., by censoring the articles or
books that they might write), he does seem to making the point that they should restrain
themselves from making such pronouncements. When they do not restrain themselves, fur-
thermore, Kant takes it as his task to publish books and articles (of which CJ is an example)
Media, Globalization and the Public Sphere 43
16
For more on the idea of a cosmopolitan public sphere in Kants philosophy see James Bohman, The
Public Spheres of the World Citizen, pp. 179-200.
17
See Rawls, A Theory of Justice and Political Liberalismas well as Habermas, The Structural Transfor-
mation of the Public Sphere and Between Facts and Norms. For a study dealing with how the two thinkers
relate to one another through Kant, see Thomas McCarthy, Kantian Constructivism and Reconstructivism:
Rawls and Habermas in Dialogue. For a discussion of how Kants views on the public sphere relate to some
of his own antecedents (viz. Hobbes and Locke), see Simone Chambers, Who Shall Judge? Hobbes, Locke,
and Kant on the Construction of Public Reason. For a historical anthology of literature on the public sphere
beginning with Kant and ending with contemporary reflections on the public sphere, see Jostein Gripsrud et.
al. (eds.), The Idea of the Public Sphere: A Reader.
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denouncing them in the public sphere. This is not a point he makes, however, with respect to
anyone else. What leads Kant to discount geniuses opinions in the public sphere while
encouraging others to express their own?
Just as CJ has raised these questions for us, I think it can also help to answer them. First,
it is important to clarify what Kant means by reason within the context of the public use of
reason. In CJ, Kant talks about the common human understanding that holds its judgment
up to human reason as a whole. (CJ 5: 293) Since the purpose of the public use of reason is
to communicate your own views to the public at large in the hopes of convincing them of
your views, judging in such a way that meets the standards of common human understanding
would seem to be a necessary condition for this kind of communication. When holding ones
judgment up to human reason as a whole, one should not take into account ones own sub-
jective private conditions when judging but rather one should consider whether everyone
else could, in principle, make the same judgment you are making. (CJ 5: 293) A rational
judgment should not be based upon elements of ones character that cannot be communicat-
ed to others. This is where the genius falls short of the kind of rationality that one should pos-
sess to participate in the public sphere. As discussed in the first section of this paper, the cre-
ativity that belongs to genius alone cannot be communicated to others. It is an inborn natural
talent and so a purely subjective private condition. Insofar as the genius judgment must be
predicated on this subjective private condition, it fails the test for rationality in the public
sphere. Put differently, when it comes to the public sphere, geniuses are not fit to participate
since their creativity precludes them from possessing the kind of reason for which they could
make a public use. Although Kant believes that genius can at least be partially rationally
reconstructed (unlike Herder), he still thinks the creativity of genius cannot. Judgments
based on this creativity cannot meet the standards of a common human understanding. Inso-
far as the geniuses judgments rely on a creativity that cannot be rationally reconstructed,
they cannot provide reasons (e.g., proofs, arguments, or evidence) for their judgments that
could be accepted, in principle, by anyone else in the public sphere.
Kant continues his discussion by providing three fundamental principles of the common
human understanding. One must think: 1) for oneself and so free of prejudice, 2) in the posi-
tion of everyone else and so broad-mindedly, 3) in accordance with oneself and so consistent-
ly. Kant says that the worst kind of prejudice is superstition since it leads to a kind of blind-
ness whereby one must be led by others and so conform ones reason to an external authority.
(CJ 5: 294; see also WE 8: 36) In a direct connection back to his earlier work in WE, Kant
claims that liberation from superstition is called enlightenment. (CJ 5:294) Insofar as super-
stition makes your thinking dependent on another, the only way to think for yourself again is
to be liberated from it. It is pretty easy to see how this could apply to the genius as well as to
those that are unfortunate enough to be drawn in by the genius. The genius clearly fails the
second condition, since the very nature of genius prevents the genius from thinking like any-
one else who does not possess the genius inborn creative talent. Likewise, those that follow
the genius have their own reason compromised. When pronouncing on scientific matters,
geniuses do not provide arguments and empirical evidence that the public could then weigh
through a use of their own reason, but rather the public is seduced by its own inability to com-
prehend the genius into following the genius. Insofar as genius encourages a passive reason,
it is a central threat to Kants whole enlightenment project. (CJ 5: 295) The problem is not that
44 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
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Kant is unfairly excluding the genius from the enlightenment project and from discussions in
the public sphere. The problem is rather that geniuses actively aim to undermine the project
and the very nature of genius prevents geniuses from possessing the kind of reason for which
they could make a public use in the public sphere.
This leads us to another issue. In addition to the above conditions for making a public use
of ones reason, is there a minimum condition of expertise that one should meet before mak-
ing pronouncements upon some matter in the public sphere? It is interesting to note that Kant
talks about individuals making public use of their reason as scholars and most of his exam-
ples of private vs. public uses of reason have to do with people who have institutional roles
(and so must make a private use of their reason) but who Kant also encourages to make a
public use of their reason with respect to their institutions outside of their roles within those
institutions. For example, Kant talks about a military officer who disagrees with military pol-
icy. Although the officer is bound to obey that policy within the context of the officers role
in the military, the officer might also publish articles or books criticizing that same policy
within the public sphere. (WE 8: 38) In this respect, we might think of the military officer as
being an expert with respect to military affairs and so qualified to comment on these matters
within the public sphere.
Kant cannot hold, however, that one must have a role within an institution that requires a
private use of ones reason in order to be qualified to speak on matters relevant to that insti-
tution within the public sphere. This would run contrary to his claim, mentioned earlier, that
one should be free to make a public use of ones reason on all matters. Here, I think the key
might be Kants use of the word scholar. One way of understanding this is that people who
want to make a public use of their reason should be well-informed and use reasoned argu-
ments in the presentation of their views so that they can communicate to the public all of
their own carefully examined and well-intentioned thoughts. (WE 8: 38) Even though an
artistic genius like Herder cannot critically examine his own creative faculty since it is not
amenable to rational reconstruction, the rest of us should make this effort when making a
public use of our reason. One might also note how important such a process would be for
insuring that ones judgments meet the standards of common human understanding. The crit-
ical examination of ones own thoughts both internally and with respect to the available evi-
dence is how one weeds out prejudice, avoids narrow-mindedness, and insures internal con-
sistency. Kant would likely hold that such efforts are necessary to be considered a scholar
where the latter is itself necessary for the public use of ones reason.
Given the historical focus of my discussion, one might naturally ask whether there are any
contemporary analogues to the geniuses that Kant saw as such a threat to enlightenment.
Although Kant saw something particularly pernicious in the genius since the latters pro-
nouncements cannot be supported by reasons and have the tendency to mislead the public on
matters of scientific importance, it is easy to find other examples of pronouncements in the
public sphere that would fail to meet the standards for a public use of reason. Individuals whose
arguments in the public sphere trade on peoples prejudices, are formulated from narrow-mind-
ed standpoints, or are internally inconsistent would all fail Kants test for the public use of rea-
son. Such individuals promote those that follow them to have a passive reason which is unable
to think for itself but instead requires direction from others. The kind of superstition that such
individuals encourage need not be based on religious authority (though this seems to be Kants
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favorite target), but might be based on racism, sexism, homophobia, or any kind of ideology
that is uncritically assumed.
18
Insofar as thinking for oneself is the goal of enlightenment, any-
thing that compromises this ability is contrary to enlightenment.
In conclusion, Kant was certainly right to think that Herder and the Sturm und Drang
movement went too far in trying to supplant the scientist with the genius within the scien-
tists own domain. When geniuses pronounce on matters of scientific import, they can have
a pernicious effect in the public sphere insofar as the public remains ignorant on certain
issues that scientific experts could help them to understand. Likewise, geniuses are of little
help on topics of artistic import since their pronouncements on these matters are not backed
by reasons that could be communicated to others. The genius is limited to producing beauti-
ful art, though the artistic genius cannot explain to someone else how to produce their own
beautiful art. Although it might seem as if Kants critique of genius in CJ is contrary to his
enlightenment project in WE, the former rather serves as an important supplement to the lat-
ter. The problem is not that Kant is unjustly excluding geniuses from the process of enlight-
enment, but rather that geniuses cannot participate in this process given their reliance on a
form of creativity that is not itself amenable to rational reconstruction. One cannot make use
of ones own reason in an area where no reason is to be found. Insofar as the public might be
seduced by the genius into not using their own reason, Kant saw the genius as a threat to
enlightenment. For Kant, enlightenment is a gradual process, one that must be continued
even today. Just as Kant challenged threats to the enlightenment in the 18
th
century public
sphere, so too would he encourage us to challenge their 21
st
century descendents.
References
1. Bohman, James. (1997). The Public Spheres of the World Citizen, in James Bohman and Matthias
Lutz-Bachmann (eds.). Perpetual Peace: Essays on Kants Cosmopolitan Ideal, Cambridge, MA: MIT
Press, 179-200.
2. Chambers, Simone (2009). Who Shall Judge? Hobbes, Locke, and Kant on the Construction of Pub-
lic Reason, Ethics and Global Politics, 2(4), 349-368.
3. Cutrofello, Andrew (2008). Kants Debate with Herder about the Philosophical Significance of the
Genius of Shakespeare, Philosophy Compass, 3(1), 66-82.
4. Dyck, Corey (2004). Spirit without Lines: Kants Attempt to Reconcile the Genius and Society, Ide-
alist Studies, 34(2), 151-162.
5. Giodanetti, Piero (1995). Das Verhltnis von Genie, Knstler und Wissenschaftler in der Kantischen
Philosophie, Kant-Studien, 86(4), 406-443.
6. Gripsrud, Jostein, Hallvard Moe, Anders Molander, and Graham Murdock (eds.) (2010). The Idea of
the Public Sphere: A Reader, Lanham, MA: Lexington Books.
7. Between Facts and Norms, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 1998, Trans. William Rehg.
8. Habermas, Jrgen (1989). The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Cambridge, MA: MIT
Press, Trans. Thomas Burger.
9. Herder, Johann (1787). Gott, einige Gesprche ber Spinozas System nebst Shaftesburys Naturhym-
nus, Gotha: Karl Ettinger.
46 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
18
At one point, Kant claims that summoning the courage to use your own reason in challenging religious
authority is the main point of the enlightenment. See WE 8:41.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 46
Media, Globalization and the Public Sphere 47
10. Herder, Johann (1785). Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Menschheit, Riga and Leipzig:
Johann Hartknoch.
11. Hesse, Mary (1962). Forces and Fields, New York: Philosophical Library.
12. Jacobi, F.H. (1789). ber die Lehre des Spinoza in Briefen an den Herrn Moses Mendelssohn. Neue
vermehrte Ausgabe, Breslau: Heinrich Schenk.
13. Kant, Immanuel (2006). Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View, Cambridge: Cambridge Uni-
versity, Trans. Robert Louden.
14. Kant, Immanuel (1999). Correspondence, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Trans. Arnulf
Zweig.
15. Kant, Immanuel (2000). Critique of the Power of Judgment, Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press, Trans. Paul Guyer and Eric Matthews.
16. Kant, Immanuel (1902-1983). Kants Gesammelte Schriften, 29 Vols., Berlin: G. Reimer (now de
Gruyter).
17. Kant, Immanuel (2006). Toward Perpetual Peace and Other Writings on Politics, Peace and Histo-
ry, New Haven: Yale University Press, Trans. David L. Colclasure.
18. McCarthy, Thomas (1994). Kantian Constructivism and Reconstructivism: Rawls and Habermas in
Dialogue, Ethics, 105(1), 44-63.
19. Murray, Bradley (2007). Kant on Genius and Art, British Journal of Aesthetics 47(2), 199-214.
20. Newton, Isaac (1803). The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, Vol. 2, London: Knight
& Compton, Trans. Andrew Motte.
21. Nickles, Thomas (2008). Scientific Discovery, in Stathis Psillos and Martin Curd (eds.) The Rout-
ledge Companion to the Philosophy of Science, London: Routledge, 442-451.
22. Popper, Karl (1963). Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge, London:
Routledge.
23. Rawls, John (1971). A Theory of Justice, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
24. Rawls, John (1993). Political Liberalism, New York: Columbia University Press.
25. Rueger, Alexander (2008). The Free-Play of the Faculties and the Status of Natural Beauty in
Kants Theory of Taste, Archiv fr Geschichte der Philosophie. 90(3), 298-322.
26. Tonelli, Giorgio (1966). Kants Early Theory of Genius (1770-1779) Part One, Journal of the His-
tory of Philosophy 4(2), 109-131.
27. Zammito, John (1992). The Genesis of Kants Critique of Judgment, Chicago: Chicago University
Press.
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Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 48
La constitution dun espace public tribal en milieu urbain
Georges MADIBA*
LACREM Dpartement des Sciences de la Communication,
Douala, Cameroun
Rsum : La recherche de meilleures conditions de vie conomique a suscit un exode massif de la
priphrie rurale vers les centres urbaniss. Cette recherche de lEldorado est un des facteurs lorig-
ine des flux migratoires massifs observs depuis la fin des annes 1990 Douala et Yaound, les deux
principales mtropoles camerounaises. Cet article se propose danalyser quelles sont les stratgies
actantielles et les interactions qui sous-tendent le fonctionnement de ces regroupements communautaires et
quels sont les enjeux qui dterminent laction dans les foyers communautaires. En nous appuyant sur le con-
cept habermassien despace public, nous montreront que les foyers communautaires sont une forme prive
de lexprience publique.
Mots-cls : espace public, communaut, migration
1. Esquisse dune grammaire signifiante de la conflictualite
dans les foyers communautaires au cameroun
La recherche de meilleures conditions de vie conomique a suscit un exode massif de la
priphrie rurale vers les centres urbaniss. Cette recherche de lEldorado est un des fac-
teurs lorigine des flux migratoires massifs observs depuis la fin des annes 1990
Douala et Yaound, les deux principales mtropoles camerounaises. Ces deux bassins
humains sont devenus des lieux de confrontation des cultures et de construction de nouvelles
identits tribales
1
(Amselle, Mbokolo, 2005). Leur urbanisation, anarchique, saccompagne
depuis lors dune extrme htrognit aussi bien sur le plan social que culturel. Au point
qu Douala, la capitale conomique, par ponymie tribale, les villages simportent au sein
de la ville : on parle alors des quartiers New Bell Haoussa , New Bell Bamilk ,
*
Contact: madigeo@yahoo.com.
1
Tribu et ethnie sont des termes souvent employs lun pour lautre. Il sagit dun ensemble de person-
nes qui se reconnaissent un mme anctre ou qui ont en commun un mme systme de valeurs, une mme culture,
quelques fois une mme langue et un territoire, parfois symbolique. Nous les utiliserons indiffremment.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 49
50 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
Quartier Bafia
2
(Ela, 1983 : 129), etc. Si les regroupements par affinits tribales ont recon-
stitu le village en ville, ils ont aussi contribu la construction des foyers communautaires
3
.
Eu gard la multiplication de ces lieux de rencontre et de discussion dans la ville de
Douala nous porterons notre interrogation principale sur les stratgies du dit et du fonction-
nement intracommunautaire dans les foyers bamilk
4
, dans la mesure o ils constituent
lessentiel de ces lieux de regroupement. Do les questions : Quelles sont les stratgies
actantielles et les interactions qui sous-tendent le fonctionnement de ces regroupements
communautaires ? Quels sont les enjeux qui dterminent laction dans les foyers communau-
taires ? Comment se structure cet espace priv publicis ?
Notre corpus sera essentiellement constitu du dit ainsi que des stratgies des acteurs qui
frquentent les foyers des communauts Bakou, Nd et Bamougoum
5
de Mai 2009 Avril
2010. Ils ont t choisis pour des raisons daccessibilit de linformation
6
. Ces foyers sont
tous situs Douala (dans la zone de Bassa) et appartiennent la grande communaut
bamilk, originaire de lOuest Cameroun. Nous avons opt de limiter lobservation de ce
phnomne Douala, car cest la capitale conomique et la ville la plus importante du
Cameroun sur le plan dmographique
7
. Elle a attir et continu dtre llment capteur de
nombreuses populations venant de divers horizons, mais surtout de la rgion de lOuest (Ela,
1983 : 51-52). Douala comporte en son sein lessentiel des grands groupes ethniques du
Cameroun et une pluralit dassociations ethno-rgionales. Au point que la mtropole
ressemble davantage un territoire de continuum
8
(Brunet, 1992 : 27).
2
Haoussa , Bamilk , Bafia etc, sont quelques unes des ethnies quon retrouve au Cameroun.
Selon les sources officielles, ce pays dispose de 228 ethnies, parmi lesquelles une vingtaine de grands
groupes..
3
Nous entendons par Foyer communautaire un lieu de regroupement des individus originaires dune
mme aire gographique ou appartenant une mme ethnie dans le but de mener des actions collectives
quils ne pourraient mener individuellement au bnfice des ressortissants de ce territoire dorigine.
4
Ethnie de lOuest Cameroun, les bamilk ont une forte tradition commerante. Un esprit de commu-
nautarisme pouss, une solidarit agissante sont quelques critres qui les caractrisent aux yeux des autres
communauts.
5
Leur dnomination complte et leurs effectifs sont les suivants : Foyer Bakou (45 membres),
Foyer culturel Nd (38 membres), Foyer culturel Djunang Bamougoum (29 membres). Soit un total
de 112 membres. Notre chantillon est compos uniquement dhommes car ces foyers fonctionnent sur le
principe de la sparation de sexes : Hommes et femmes sont spars lors des runions mensuelles. Ils se
retrouvent seulement en assemble plnire une fois par semestre.
6
Ces foyers sont en plus ceux qui ont le moins caus de problme notre prsence pour lobservation de
lobjet tudi. Il nous a t difficile davoir accs un certain nombre dinformations ou dassister cer-
taines runions dans la mesure o ce sont des socits de frater o ltranger est considr comme
un espion qui peut nuire la communaut.
7
Selon les donnes officielles, manant du dernier recensement du BUCREP publi en mai 2010,
Douala compte environ 2.000.000 dhabitants et Yaound 1.500.000. Ces chiffres sont contests par de
nombreux acteurs politiques qui les estiment minors par le gouvernement. Lintention tant, selon eux, de
minimiser le poids politique de cette ville rpute frondeuse. Voir Le Messager n3101 du 17 Mai 2010,
pp.5-9.
8
En gographie on considre quun territoire de continuum est un territoire construit par des
migrants en transformant celui daccueil selon leurs modles doccupation de lespace.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 50
Notre mthode de recherche cumule une observation participante et une enqute par
entretien auprs dun chantillon constitu de 40% de la population totale des trois commu-
nauts concernes (112 adhrents), soit 45 membres. Les personnes composant cet chantil-
lon sont ges de 20 59 ans et ont une activit conomique dans le secteur formel ou
informel
9
(Lautier, 2004 : 38-41) leur permettant de participer au dveloppement de leur ter-
ritoire dorigine. Il sagit dun chantillonnage alatoire simple qui permet la gnralisation
partir de lchantillon de la population quil reprsente
10
.
Tableau 1. Structure de lchantillon. Source : auteur.
I = Adhrents ayant une activit qui relve du secteur informel. F = Adhrents ayant
une activit qui relve du secteur formel.
Lobservation participante nous offre une apprhension du phnomne de lintrieur tan-
dis que lenqute par entretien nous permet dobtenir, des actants eux-mmes, le sens quils
donnent leurs actions. Notre approche thorique se nourrit de lanalyse smiotique de la
structure de Greimas. Elle permet de trouver la signification cache dun discours ou dun
acte dans le contexte et dans les relations que lacteur entretien avec son environnement.
Cest ainsi que le concept de stratgie articule notre rflexion sur les enjeux de lagir
en communaut. Derrire ce choix conceptuel se dessinent les oppositions de lgitimation,
propres aux organisations dynamiques. Cette toile de fond conflictuelle constitue en soi un
angle majeur pour aborder la constitution de lespace public et la notion dactant dans un
micro univers social.
Historiquement, le concept despace public correspond symboliquement un champ
daction o les diffrents acteurs, travers la discussion et le dbat contradictoire, participent
la fondation des cadres institutionnels de linteraction politique et sociale (Habermas,
1997 : 89-92). Il sagit en fait dun espace de mdiation entre la Socit civile et ltat
(Wolton et alii, 2008 : 379, Miege, 1995, 49-55). Dans la multiplicit de perspectives et des
critiques suscites par ce concept, nous ne retiendrons que la dfinition canonique de Jurgen
Habermas
11
(voir Schudson, 1995 : 192-193) qui laisse entrevoir le champ de la communica-
Media, Globalization and the Public Sphere 51
Age et secteur
dactivit
20 30 ans 31 40 ans 41 50 ans 51 59 ans TOTAL
Foyers I F I F I F I F
NDE 2 1 2 4 2 2 0 2 15
BAMOUGOUM 4 1 3 1 1 4 1 0 15
BAKOU 3 0 2 2 2 4 1 1 15
TOTAL 9 2 7 7 5 10 2 3 45
9
Le secteur formel correspond aux emplois salaris dans un des trois secteurs du public ou du priv
(agriculture, industrie, ou services). Le secteur informel est en marge de lconomie formelle. Ce sont
gnralement des activits lies la dbrouillardise.
10
Nous avons conscience de la fragilit de ce type dchantillonnage au plan de la reprsentativit. Nous
avons voulu constituer un chantillon quilibr (ge, profession, etc.) qui puisse prsenter la population
de ces foyers en faisant fi de la variable genre.
11
Ce qui nous permet dviter les interrogations sur les diffrentes volutions de lespace public
moderne , qui se serait vid de son sens, ainsi que les critiques que ce concept a suscites propos de la
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 51
tion en communaut comme un lieu dargumentation, mais aussi comme un espace de rap-
ports conflictuels entre les diffrents acteurs (Qur, 1982 : 78.).
La conflictualit contenue dans la dfinition du concept espace public nous permet dar-
ticuler les oppositions stratgiques celles structurelles du schma actantiel de Greimas. La
stratgie nest rien si en face il ny a pas dadversaires ou des facteurs externes et internes qui
concourent sa russite. Cest travers ce jeu de positionnement dans le dbat contradictoire
qumerge lespace public. Aussi nous considrerons la conflictualit (les oppositions)
comme le fil dAriane de notre rflexion.
Dans un premier temps nous montrerons les diffrents rles sociaux du foyer communau-
taire dans un environnement urbain domin par lindividualisme. Puis nous mettrons en
exergue les stratgies des acteurs dans la sphre daction plurielle quest le foyer. Enfin
nous montrerons les logiques structurantes de cet espace de dbat.
2. Le foyer communautaire : le village en ville
Dans le contexte conomique et politique camerounais, on assiste une floraison de
regroupements ethno-rgionaux qui rendent compte du bouillonnement du champ social et
des dynamiques ethniques qui traversent les principales mtropoles camerounaises, Douala
et Yaound. Leur mergence est historiquement lie aux questions conomiques issues de la
colonisation et des travaux pour la construction des centres administratifs (Ela, 1983 :
12-14). Au point que ces deux villes deviennent des creusets de populations allognes qui y
recrent des formes dorganisation villageoises. Ainsi le foyer socio-culturel
12
a quatre rles
dans le nouvel espace territorial o se trouvent ces populations allognes.
2.1 Vie urbaine et mentalit ethnique
La reprsentation est lune des principales fonctions du foyer communautaire en milieu
urbain. Comme une Ambassade reprsente un pays hors de ses frontires, le foyer commu-
nautaire regroupe rgulirement les membres du village en ville, un peu comme une chefferie.
Il est dirig par un reprsentant du chef (qui est en mme temps prsident de lassociation des
membres du foyer). Celui-ci rend compte au Roi ou au Chef du village des activits de ses
ressortissants en ville : le foyer communautaire, cest comme lAmbassade dun pays lex-
trieur. Tous les ressortissants de ce pays vivant lextrieur () quand ils ont un problme,
ils se retrouvent lAmbassade. De mme quand un Bakou arrive Douala, il est tranger, et
52 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
qualit et non la quantit des participations; concernant la perversion ne de la culture de masse, voir Erik
Neveu, Les sciences sociales face lespace public, les sciences sociales dans lespace public , in Isabelle
Pailliart (dir), Lespace public et lemprise de la communication, Grenoble : Ellug, 1995 ; ou alors la discrim-
ination lie aux particularismes des identits culturelles, voir Nicholas Garhnam, Emancipation, The Media
and Modernity : Arguments About the Media and Social Theory, Oxford : Oxford University, 2000, p.170.
12
Nous utiliserons indistinctement foyer communautaire et foyer socio-culturel pour signifier
que ces deux appellations, dans le contexte, renvoient une mme ralit : un lieu de regroupement des
ressortissants de la communaut pour poser et grer les problmes politique, conomique, sociaux et cul-
turel des populations en ville et participer au dveloppement du village.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 52
l o il doit aller sadresser cest au foyer.
13
. Les ruraux rsidents en ville considrent le
foyer comme le symbole de leur identit, de leur origine dans un territoire qui leur est hostile.
2.2 Le contrepoids l individualisme urbain
Dans la mesure o la ville est devenue le lieu de lindividualisation lie la socit de con-
sommation de masse, le foyer joue aussi un rle de rliance sociale dans la socialit commu-
nautaire. En ce sens quavec lorganicit tribale (Michel Maffesoli) et la dfaillance des
rseaux tatiques de prise en charge sociale, on assiste au dclin du mythe de lindividu, matre
de ses choix dans la socit moderne () Il est tributaire des autres, accepte un donn
social et sinscrit dans un ensemble organique. (Maffesoli, 1988 : 87). Le foyer communau-
taire joue donc en soit un rle de contrepoids lindividualisme citadin par une solidarit
mcanique
14
(Durkheim, 2003 : 23-29). () On nentre pas ncessairement en relation avec
ses voisins [du quartier]. Mais on connat les gens de son village qui se trouvent lautre bout
de la ville. (Ela, 1983 : 59)
Les formes dorganisation de la vie en milieu urbain exigeant de plus en plus une individ-
ualisation, les arrivants considrent le foyer communautaire comme un refuge pour leur int-
gration ou simplement pour la construction de leur identit socioculturelle de villageois et de
no citadin : Exclu de lespace gographique du village, un individu banni lest aussi de
lespace social du groupe en campagne, comme dans les milieux associatifs de sa chefferie
en ville. (Tchawa, 2007 : 22) (Voir tableau 2).
Tableau 2. Les motivations ladhsion dans les foyers. Source : auteur.
Media, Globalization and the Public Sphere 53
Foyers communautaires
Raisons deladhsion
Nd Bakou Bamougoum Total Pourcentage%
Solidarit, entraide et assistance 9 6 8 23 51.11
Retrouvaille en famille 1 3 1 5 11.11
Raisons conomiques et financires 4 5 4 13 28.88
Affirmation de lidentit culturelle 1 1 2 4 8.88
Total interviews 15 15 15 45 100
13
Entretien formel le 25 octobre 2009 avec Roger Siandjeu, membre du foyer Bakou son domicile. Car
il est formellement interdit de recevoir un tranger dans le foyer. Roger Siandjeu est commerant, grant
dun magasin de produits alimentaires.
14
Emile Durkheim explique que dans les socits traditionnelles, la conscience collective dapparte-
nance un groupe ethnique et la tendance la vie communautaire sont fortes. Ce qui diffre de la ville o
la solidarit est organique et se manifeste par une conscience individuelle forte et une faible pression du
groupe sur lindividu.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 53
Les motivations ladhsion aux foyers communautaires sont pour lessentiel la solidar-
it organique en milieu urbain,(62.22%). Selon les interviews il sagit de lentraide, lassis-
tance toute preuve et de la chaleur des retrouvailles familiales. Se considrant comme
des trangers sur leur territoire daccueil, ils se mobilisent pour mieux faire face lad-
versit et manifester une mutuelle solidarit mcanique.
Les bamilk tant majoritairement des commerants, les foyers socioculturels font aussi
office dinstitution financire travers la tontine et lpargne. La tontine nest pas seulement
un instrument financier. Elle est surtout un lieu de socialisation et de cration dune solidar-
it tribale (Lautier, 2004 : 63). Les diffrentes caisses qui y sont ouvertes (pargne, scolaire,
solidarit, etc) permettent aux membres de percevoir de largent sans tracasseries adminis-
tratives et autres garanties afin de dmarrer ou de consolider leurs activits conomiques.
Dans un contexte de prcarit financire, la dimension conomique des foyers socioculturels
nest pas ngliger (29% des motivations ladhsion lassociation).
Au plan politique, les foyers communautaires sont de vritables espaces dexpression
citoyenne. Ils se prsentent comme des micros structures o la prise de parole et lexpression
sont codifies comme dans les organisations politiques : les lections y sont libres et trans-
parentes. Ce sont donc en quelque sorte des espaces de formation un esprit dmocratique
balbutiant pour les citoyens.
3. Les strategies des actants dans un
espace communicationnel codifi
Espace de vie sur un mode associatif et alternatif, les foyers ethnocommunautaires sont
aussi des lieux dune expression plurielle. Les principales thmatiques de ces topos ethniques
ne se limitent pas aux problmatiques de type organique. Ils sont surtout traverss par les pro-
blmatiques nationales sur le plan de la reprsentativit locale et celles plus particulires du
dveloppement de la communaut dorigine (lectrification, adduction en eau potable, con-
struction des coles et centre de sant etc). Les intrts politiques ny tant que sous-jacents,
pour y parvenir, les acteurs dveloppent des stratgies qui peuvent tre divergentes.
3.1 Un espace dinformation hirarchis et de communication codifie
Linformation est au centre de la vie de la communaut. Lessentiel est constitu des nou-
velles en provenance du village et celle des activits des membres en milieu urbain. Sa mise
en circulation obit une hirarchisation centralise autour des dirigeants, notamment du
chef de famille ou du prsident de lassociation. Ceux-ci restent les interlocuteurs privilgis
du Roi ou du Chef du village, en leur qualit de reprsentant lgitime de ce dernier en ville.
Quelle soit descendante ou plus rarement ascendante, cette information constitue un l-
ment fondamental de la sociabilit pour les membres de la communaut. Le processus de cir-
culation de linformation dans ces espaces suit une trajectoire hirarchise deux niveaux, une
sorte de two steps flow of communication . Au premier niveau de la trajectoire se trouvent
les dirigeants de la communaut. Ils sont ceux qui reoivent linformation, quelle provienne
du village ou des membres en interne, jugent de sa pertinence et de son intrt pour la commu-
naut avant quelle ne soit diffuse dans les canaux internes de communication : laffichage ou
54 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 54
le bouche--oreille. Le second niveau de ltage est constitu des membres du foyer. Tel quil
se prsente, le processus dinformation dans les foyers rend compte dune organisation forte-
ment hirarchise et centralise.
La communication telle quelle sy droule obit aussi un systme de codage et den-
codage hors duquel linteraction communicationnelle est rendue impossible
15
.
3.2 Les stratgies des acteurs
Pour comprendre le fonctionnement des foyers socio culturels, nous avons pris en
compte leur structuration et leur organisation en considrant les membres comme des
actants , au sens greimassien. Toute organisation humaine tant traverse par des intrts
divergents, les acteurs mettent en place des stratgies pour atteindre leurs objectifs et con-
tourner les diffrentes oppositions auxquelles ils doivent faire face et influencer les activits
du groupe. Dans les foyers communautaires, les acteurs appartiennent deux grands
groupes : les dirigeants ou leaders et les dirigs.
Les dirigs encore appels Assemble incarnent le peuple au sein du regroupement
communautaire. Constitus des diffrentes tranches dge, ils forment pourtant le pouvoir
rel en ce qui concerne la vie du foyer communautaire, dans la mesure o ils sont ceux qui
accordent la lgitimit aux dirigeants. Comme dans toute structure de type dmocratique, la
mobilisation des dirigs est un atout et un danger pour les dirigeants. Ils peuvent par leur
vote faire ou dfaire les prsidents dassociation. Quand ils ont limpression que leurs
intrts sont menacs, ils dploient des stratgies partir des mobilisations de masse, pour
faire face leurs adversaires.
Les dirigeants sont ceux qui ont t lus comme membre du bureau de lassociation.
Ainsi, partir du pouvoir obtenu de llection, ils orientent la vie de lorganisation dans les
grands axes qui font lobjet de leur regroupement, quil sagisse des projets de construction
dcole, de centre de sant ou alors de toute autre ralisation sur le territoire dorigine.
Dans les relations-fonctions des membres de la structure organisationnelle quest le
foyer communautaire, le mme actant peut tre reprsent par plusieurs acteurs, mais gale-
ment un acteur peut remplir plusieurs rles actantiels, dans une sphre daction (Vladimir
Propp) qui peut tre plurielle, au gr des intrts en jeu. Ce qui fait des runions communau-
taires des cadres de ngociation et de cloisonnement des ides et des rles qui gnrent
des attentes particulires . (Sikomb cit par Tchoupie, 2008 : 14)
Il en est ainsi au foyer Nd lors de la runion du 27 mars 2010 concernant la constitution
dun comit dorganisation des lections au bureau de lAssociation. Propos par le prsi-
dent sortant, le comit dorganisation a t vivement critiqu, souponn par certains mem-
bres du bureau dtre taill sur mesure pour sa rlection. Au-del des dsaccords entre les
membres du bureau, dans lassemble des groupes de 4-5 personnes se sont forms dans le
but de partager des arguments pour rallier un clan et influencer en nombre le camp adverse.
Media, Globalization and the Public Sphere 55
15
Dans le foyer Nd, nous avons constat que la prise de parole publique est tributaire dun rituel com-
municationnel entre le locuteur et lassemble. La prise de parole par le locuteur est prcde du mot
Dpartement et la rponse de lassemble Nd . Ce rituel confre au locuteur le droit de sexprimer,
sinon le silence de lassemble son appel lui signifie une rprobation.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 55
Le dbat observ tait sur deux plans. Le premier niveau relevait une opposition entre le
prsident et certains membres du bureau ayant des ambitions prsidentielles. Et le second
une opposition entre les diffrentes composantes de lassemble entre elles pour rallier un
des deux ples qui se dessinaient.
Le premier niveau de lopposition comportait des membres du bureau quon pourrait
qualifier de anti comit . Ils soutenaient lide que le comit dorganisation devrait tre
modifi et recompos, tandis que ceux favorables au prsident estimaient que le bureau
form pouvait prendre place sans aucune forme de modification. Cette opposition (mem-
bres du bureau pro ou anti comit dorganisation) rend compte de la dimension intrinsque-
ment conflictuelle du pouvoir au sein du foyer. Autrement dit : tout pouvoir cre son contre
pouvoir. A travers les financements quils mettent la disposition de lassociation commu-
nautaire, le prsident du bureau et ses membres simposent alors comme des personnalits
incontournables tant en ville quau village : quand on est chef, cela veut dire quen toutes
choses on doit tre le premier. Cest ce qui permet que je sois respect dans notre associa-
tion
16
. Dans la tradition bamilk o la notabilit confre un respect et une reconnaissance
sociale, leurs ralisations leur permettent de bnficier des titres de notables auprs du Chef
ou du Roi. Ainsi ils deviennent des membres influents dans la cour royale. Cest en cela que
les acteurs mettent sur pied des stratgies leur permettant daccder au poste de prsident de
lassociation communautaire, reprsentant du chef en ville. Il constitue, pour de nombreux
membres, un tremplin vers des fonctions lectives nationales ou locales pour leur satisfac-
tion personnelle. Ces runions au cours desquelles on dlibre essentiellement sur les
problmes locaux sont loin dtre de simples rencontres entre personnes qui poursuivent des
objectifs identiques. Certains, les lites les utilisent comme des moyens pour parvenir
dautres fins auprs de la cour royale ou alors auprs des hommes politiques
17

Le second niveau dopposition qui runissait la majorit des membres de lassemble
met en exergue les stratgies interindividuelles pour influencer les diffrents acteurs de la
communaut rallier un ple daction. Dans le cas du foyer Bamougoum lors de la runion
du 07 Fvrier 2010 concernant la construction dun centre de sant, le taux de participation
individuelle au financement de cette uvre sociale avait t fix F/CFA 50 000 (soit 80
euro). De nombreux membres de lAssemble estimant ce montant lev, ont lev une
motion dordre afin de revoir la baisse ( F/CFA 30 000 soit 50 euro) cette somme. La
proposition fut adopte deux mois plus tard compte tenu de ce que les membres contes-
tataires taient majoritaires (18 sur 29 adhrents, soit 62% de leffectif du foyer). Ce qui
traduit lide selon laquelle dans les foyers il existe deux formes dopposition dans les inter-
actions: lopposition verticale (entre le bureau et lassemble) et lopposition horizontale (les
membres du bureau et de lassemble entre eux).
Au regard de cette double opposition, on remarque que toute organisation suscite le
dveloppement des stratgies de conqute ou de conservation du pouvoir travers un schma
dopposition structurelle.
56 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
16
Entretien formel avec Andr Mofah, Prsident du foyer Bamougoum , le 22 octobre 2009 son
domicile. Il est par ailleurs comptable dans une institution de micro finance.
17
Entretien formel avec Joseph Fokwe, (Trsorier du foyer Nd , cadre commercial dans lAssurance)
le 12 Avril 2010 son domicile.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 56
3.3 Le schma oppositionnel des actants
A partir dune lecture smiotique de la structure dun rcit littraire, Algirdas Julien
Greimas met lide que, malgr des diffrences dans leur ralisation, les rcits littraires ont
une structure commune. Ainsi il est possible de dcrire lorganisation dun micro univers
en dterminant ses lments constitutifs, ses traits caractristiques, ses fonctions ainsi que
les rapports quils entretiennent au sein de lensemble (Greimas, 1986: 178-186). Greimas
explique par ailleurs que le rcit peut tre compris comme une qute menant acqurir un
objet recherch, quelle que soit sa nature, concrte ou abstraite. Il met ainsi en relief un
ensemble doppositions qui rendent compte des moyens par lesquels les diffrents actants
procdent dans leurs interactions. Dans cette perspective, il retient trois catgories dactants
qui rendent compte de cette approche de la stratgie.
Destinateur Sujet Destinataire
Adjuvant Objet Opposant
Ce schma peut tre lu partir de trois axes (vouloir, savoir et pouvoir) qui correspon-
dent des oppositions. Sa comprhension rside dans les relations et les fonctions que les
actants ont entre eux.
Dun ct le Sujet est reli lObjet par laxe du dsir (ou du vouloir). Cest le Desti-
nateur qui charge le sujet dacqurir un Objet donn.
Axe du dsir
Destinateur Sujet Objet
De lautre ct, le Sujet est reli au Destinataire, qui est bnficiaire du rsultat de la
qute, par laxe de la communication (ou du savoir).
Axe de la communication
Sujet Destinataire
De lautre enfin, celui de la lutte (ou du pouvoir), le Sujet est reli lAdjuvant. Le rle
de lAdjuvant consiste aider le Sujet accomplir sa mission, par rapport lOpposant, qui
lempche de raliser sa mission (Greimas, 1986:180).
Axe de la lutte
Adjuvant Sujet Opposant
La schmatisation la plus simple de lapproche greimassienne correspond au couple adju-
vant/opposant
18
. Nous lavons reprsente dans notre schma par facteurs aidant le
dirigeant laction (Adjuvant) et facteurs empchant le dirigeant laction (Opposant).
En considrant le fonctionnement dans un foyer socio culturel comme une structure
actantielle avec des classes dactants (les dirigeants et les dirigs) on peut caractriser les
facteurs ( aidant , poussant et empchant ) qui rentrent en ligne de compte des
Media, Globalization and the Public Sphere 57
18
Nous nous inspirons de cette approche des stratgies et de lanalyse fonctionnelle des actants pour
tenter dappliquer le schma actantiel dans le domaine de recherche qui est le ntre.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 57
stratgies
19
. En adaptant ce modle aux ralits dune organisation communautaire non
marchande, nous proposons lillustration des stratgies actantielles sous la forme suivante :
* Facteurs poussant Le dveloppement du village Dirigeant/Leader
* Facteurs aidant Le dveloppement du village Membres du bureau
* Facteurs empchant Le dveloppement du village Membres du bureau
et autres
Dans la sphre daction que reprsentent les runions du foyer, on constate que certains
acteurs (membres du bureau) jouent plusieurs rles au gr de leurs intrts. Ils peuvent tre
la fois des facteurs aidant et/ou empchant le leader la ralisation de sa mission.
La mise en commun de comptences managriales et financires reprsente une qute
dont le but principal est le dveloppement du territoire dorigine et le bien tre des parents
qui y sont rests (Objet) par le Dirigeant/Leader (Sujet) pour que la ville paye ses dettes au
village (Destinataire) selon lexpression du gographe Martin Kuet. Dans cette qute, le
leader peut tre pouss par des personnes ou des motivations diverses (Destinateur). Les
autres membres du bureau lu peuvent savrer, sur le court terme, tre un obstacle, sils
souponnent que le Prsident (Leader/Dirigeant) se sert de la communaut comme dun
tremplin pour des objectifs personnels (devenir notable, conseiller municipal, maire ou
dput de leur circonscription dorigine). Le Dirigeant pourrait donc tre aid ou gn
par des facteurs externes ou internes (Adjuvant ou Opposant) qui influencent, directement
ou non, ses stratgies.
Ces facteurs internes concernent principalement la personne du Leader et dpendent de
ses qualits intrinsques. Ce sont sa capacit manager, son image auprs des membres de la
communaut, ses stratgies de persuasion, sa motivation, bref son implication dans la vie de
la communaut tribale en ville.
Parmi les facteurs externes nous pouvons citer les notables et le chef du village. Ils jouent
un rle essentiel dans le cadre institutionnel o se droulent les projets de dveloppement.
Ce sont eux qui permettent de lgitimer ou non le leader dans sa communaut. Lapprcia-
tion quils peuvent avoir du Dirigeant est tributaire des actes quil pose. Et cette apprciation
peut aider son adoubement politico-traditionnel. Il existe dautres facteurs conomico-
politiques (les moyens financiers, les rseaux politiques, la situation professionnelle, etc.)
lis la personne mme de lacteur.
La poursuite des objectifs de chacun des acteurs dans ces associations ethniques permet
de se rendre compte de leurs oppositions et ainsi des stratgies que les uns et les autres se
donnent pour parvenir leur but. Toute organisation tant un lieu dopposition dintrts, des
relations de pouvoir, dinfluence, lacteur dveloppe des stratgies dadaptation en fonction
58 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
19
-Les facteurs poussant sont ceux qui permettent dexpliquer les motivations psychologiques ou
matrielles de lAction (exemple : le dveloppement conomique du village)
-Les facteurs aidant aident le leader raliser sa mission
- Les facteurs empchant sont ceux qui se prsentent au leader comme un obstacle dans la ralisation de
son action.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 58
des intrts quil poursuit dans la structure. De sorte que les attitudes et comportements
adopts par lui ne soient que des lments qui permettent de contrler des zones dincerti-
tudes des autres acteurs afin de tirer son pingle du jeu (Crozier et Friedberg, 1977 : 39-41).
Au-del des objectifs collectifs qui engagent toute la communaut, les membres sont cha-
cun porteur dun ou de plusieurs intrts sous-jacents, les uns et les autres prennent part
leur dfense travers des dbats contradictoires au sein du foyer communautaire. Cette
mobilisation des citadins la mentalit ethnique recre dans ces foyers une sorte darbre
palabre lafricaine. La violence des discours des dirigs et des dirigeants, sans ncessaire-
ment dpasser un seuil critique, laisse penser au rituel de la palabre, socle dun espace pub-
lic villageois de dbat
20
(Bangas, 2003 : 164-165.).
4. La formation et la structuration dun espace public
villageois en milieu urbain
Rsultat de la libralisation du champ socio-politique dans les annes 1990, lEspace
public merge comme tant un ensemble de lieux dexpression de la parole publique tra-
vers le dbat. Les mutations des socits modernes lont amen se spcifier selon les
acteurs et les publics pour en faire des micros espaces de proximit qui conservent, malgr
tout, leur caractre conflictuel.
4.1 Des micro-espaces publics de proximit
Initialement cest donc par la discussion qumerge lespace public au Cameroun. Con-
trairement la socit bourgeoise europenne du 18
me
sicle dcrite par Habermas, le-
space public, au Cameroun, se forme grce une tradition tribale de la palabre et de la dis-
cussion publique (Madiba Oloko, 2004 : 295). Les foyers communautaires en milieu urbain
sont le rsultat des dynamiques ethniques qui expriment la monte du repli identitaire. Ils
reprsentent lexpression prive (les problmes du village) sur la place publique. Cette
expression est loin dtre une unanimit de circonstance. Chaque membre argumente son
point de vue afin de ressortir des dbats un consensus salutaire pour la ralisation des projets
communautaires.
Les foyers sont comme de vritables socles sur lesquels repose toute prise de dcision
collective o se pratique de la dmocratie de proximit, une dmocratie participative. Les
diverses runions auxquelles nous avons assist en donne limage dune dmocratie idal-
ise (Tchoupie, 2008 : 14). Mme si on doit reconnatre que certains problmes globaux et
cruciaux ne peuvent trouver leur rsolution que sur le plan national, les foyers communau-
taires restent pertinents pour grer des situations plus modestes lchelle locale afin de
donner une forme sociale, territoriale et culturelle une (sous) communaut locale .
Media, Globalization and the Public Sphere 59
20
Dans la tradition africaine, pour mettre fin un conflit ou rgler un contentieux, les adversaires se ru-
nissent la place du village o se trouve symboliquement un baobab ou un arbre imposant afin de permettre
au juge de dire o se trouvent les torts et de ramener le fautif la sagesse.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 59
(Bertho et Sintomer, 2010) Une tendance qui des socits modernes (Blondiaux, 2008 : 15.)
o se multiplient de plus en plus des micro espaces publics ethniques.
4.2 Espace priv publicis, espace public privatis
Daprs la dfinition canonique de Jrgen Habermas, lespace public est comprendre
comme une sphre des personnes prives rassembles en public et qui font usage de la rai-
son. Elle est en opposition celle de lexercice du pouvoir de lEtat (Habermas, 1997 : 38.).
Au Cameroun, la reconfiguration de lespace public global a chang considrablement
les pratiques des individus qui sont en perptuelle qute despaces dexpression de leurs
opinions. Ainsi les regroupements associatifs et communautaires deviennent des lieux din-
tgration urbaine des diffrentes couches populaires qui y adhrent ; ils favorisent la seg-
mentation de lespace urbain de parole et lexpos de certains problmes publics dans les
espaces de proximit (Ab, 2004-2005 : 22-23).
Tout comme la cour royale, le foyer socio-culturel est un lieu qui accueille les individus
appartenant la communaut afin quils puissent dbattre des problmes du village. Cette dis-
cussion qui se droule selon le principe du dbat contradictoire participe lmergence dun
espace public, entendu comme un espace symbolique o sopposent et se rpondent les dis-
cours, la plupart contradictoires, tenu par les diffrents acteurs politiques, sociaux, religieux
culturels, intellectuels, composant une socit (Wolton, 1997 : 380-381). Les questions qui
sont dbattues dans ces assembles sont celles qui concernent une communaut locale
restreinte. En cela les foyers communautaires restent au mme titre que la famille, une sphre
prive domestique distincte de la sphre publique. Ce qui en fait un espace priv o se vit le
secret de la communaut. Quil sagisse dassociations de regroupement sur une logique iden-
titaire, idelle ou simplement tribale ces espaces permettent aux individus dexprimer leurs
opinions sur des questions dintrt national ou local. Ds lors quen milieu urbain, les per-
sonnes prives discutent en un lieu public (appartenant une communaut prive) des prob-
lmes dont lintrt relve du priv, alors on constate la privatisation de lespace public et de
manire subsquente la publicisation des problmes privs.
Comment ces citoyens sapproprient-ils lespace public pour en faire une sphre prive ?
Comment est-elle structure ? Quelles interactions y prvalent ?
4.3 Un espace conflictuel dintrts divergents
En nous rfrant lanalyse bourdieusienne de la Socit comme un ensemble despaces
sociaux plus ou moins autonomes, traverss par des rapports conflictuels, trois champs
majeurs se superposent : le champ culturel, conomique et politique. Nous dfinissons le-
space social comme tant une sphre dans laquelle toute position considre ne peut tre
dfinie que par rapport aux diffrentes valeurs et variables qui structurent le systme : les
agents et le capital (Bourdieu, 1984 : 3). Et nous considrerons le foyer communautaire
comme un champ, selon la dfinition bourdieusienne, cest--dire un rseau, une configura-
tion de relations objectives entre des positions () dfinies objectivement dans leur existence
et dans les dterminations quelles imposent leurs occupants, agents ou institutions ().
60 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 60
(Bourdieu et Wacquant, 1992 : 70-85.) Cest donc en quelque sorte comme une structure o
les agents se comportent comme des joueurs, ayant des positions dfendre ou conqurir.
Pour ce jeu , le capital (culturel et conomique) et le positionnement auprs des
instances politiques et royales de la communaut sont des lments de laction, le moyen et
la fin de toute posture dans le foyer communautaire. Cest en cela que par sa structure, le
foyer socioculturel comporte une relation conflictuelle ; do lide quil est un espace de
forces et dintrts opposs. On en conclut alors que lespace public tribal en milieu urbain
est une sphre qui emprunte principalement sa composition et sa structure aux interactions
entre lespace politique et lespace socio-conomique ; chacun de ces espaces se construisant
par des conflits entre les agents dominants et domins ou entre les agents de conservation et
de subversion.
Schma 2. La structuration des micro-sphres publiques. Source : auteur.
Sphre prive = Domaine du prive Sphre publique = Domaine de lEtat
(domaine du local) (domaine du global / du national)
Media, Globalization and the Public Sphere 61
SPHERE VILLAGEOISE
- Individus et regroupements
communautaires
(Domaine public d'action col-
lective pour les intrts
privs)
SPHERE DOMESTIQUE
- Individus et familles
(Domaine de l'intimit et
des pratiques culturelles
individualises)
SPHERE PUBLIQUE
D'ECHANGES
- Partis politiques
- Associations citoyennes
(Domaine public restreint)
-Socit civile
(Domaine de la proposition
pour la gestion de la res
publica)
SPHERE ETATIQUE
Etat
(Domaine d'application
de la loi par l'Etat)
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 61
Au risque de simplifier lillustration des micro- structures de lespace public, dans le
schma ci-dessus (schma n2) nous avons voulu donner un aperu de la disposition des
micro-espaces public et priv qui composent lespace public tel quil se prsente au Camer-
oun
20
. Il ressort de ce schma lide que ce qui dmarque les regroupements ethnovillageois
de lEtat spare en mme temps le domaine priv du domaine public.
Lespace public se dfinit dans le domaine public (sphre publique dchanges et sphre
tatique) en y ajoutant le domaine priv (individus, familles, communauts). Tandis que la
sphre prive inclut la fois la sphre villageoise et la sphre domestique. Ce schma nous
permet donc de distinguer clairement la sphre publique de la sphre prive.
La premire, la sphre publique, nait de la dmarcation davec la sphre tatique par
lusage de la raison et des opinions politiques exprimes publiquement. Elle joue donc le
rle dinterface entre la Sphre tatique, dont le rle est de rguler la vie par la force
lgitime des lois et la Sphre prive, domaine des pratiques culturelles et conomiques
pour la satisfaction des intrts des personnes prives.
La seconde, la sphre prive, se compose dune frange importante de la sphre villageoise
et de la sphre domestique, celle o lon se donne aux pratiques culturelles en solitaire. On voit
donc que les deux sphres se compltent pour quilibrer la gestion publique de la socit.
8. En guise de conclusion
Le recours au modle actantiel de Greimas nous a permis de nous rendre compte de ce
que les foyers socioculturels qui se trouvent dans lespace urbain sont en principe des lieux
apolitiques. Mais ils constituent de vritables arnes o chaque acteur dveloppe une
stratgie pour lintrt collectif et son intrt particulier. Ils sont ainsi des tremplins pour
ceux qui aspirent des mandats lectifs tant sur le plan local que national (conseiller munic-
ipal, maire ou dput) ou un titre dhonorabilit traditionnelle. Ce qui constitue, pour les
populations originaires de lOuest, des signes extrieurs de russite ; lide que lmigration
en milieu urbain na pas t vaine.
Les multiples projets que les leaders ralisent alors dans leur localit dorigine savrent
des investissements qui bnficient par ricochet aux populations villageoises, mais qui
doivent servir, moyen terme, les intrts de leurs promoteurs.
En nous appuyant sur le concept habermassien despace public, nous sommes parvenus
lide que les foyers communautaires sont une forme prive de lexprience publique. On
peut donc considrer les foyers communautaires comme tant des espaces privs qui rendent
compte des dynamiques sociales de certains groupes sociaux et qui, en ralit, sont lexpres-
sion de leurs valeurs culturelles malgr lloignement du territoire dorigine. Autrement dit
les foyers communautaires sont une manifestation publique, dans un lieu priv, des pro-
blmes publics dun groupe priv.
Aprs les grandes mobilisations, les manifestations de la socit en voie de dmocratisation
seffectuent dsormais travers des modes alternatifs qui portent sur les identits particulires
62 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
20
Nous avons conscience de la fragilit conceptuelle de la schmatisation, car on ne peut reprsenter un
espace public comme un lieu clos et la sphre politique comme centrale dans la mdiation sociale.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 62
Media, Globalization and the Public Sphere 63
et sur le positionnement politique et conomique lintrieur de ces regroupements de proxim-
it. Do lide que lexpression de la dmocratie dans les socits en transition se fait travers
la gestion des problmes publics par les institutions prives identitaires, dans une sorte de-
space public de proximit.
Aprs les grandes mobilisations, les manifestations de la socit en voie de dmocratisa-
tion seffectuent dsormais travers des modes alternatifs qui portent sur les identits parti-
culires et sur le positionnement politique et conomique lintrieur de ces regroupements
de proximit. Do lide que lexpression de la dmocratie dans les socits en transition se
fait travers la gestion des problmes publics par les institutions prives identitaires, dans
une sorte despace public de proximit.
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Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 64
Developing a Conceptual Framework on Analyzing
Effectiveness of Information Communication Technology (ICT)
Sustainability Projects in Rural Communities of Malaysia
Mohd Nizam OSMAN*
University of Putra, Malaysia
Muhammad Pauzi Abdul LATIF
University of Putra, Malaysia
Abstract: This paper presents a conceptual framework in analyzing the effectiveness of ICT sustainable
projects in Malaysian rural communities in the context of developing knowledge-based communities in the
country. The framework discussed in the paper is largely based on the critical success factors associated with
the designing, developing, implementation and sustainability of ICT projects in rural communities. The cur-
rent situation of ICT projects across the rural parts of Malaysia has been analyzed through the formulation
and implementation initiatives. The study is conducted based on empirical observations on the overall devel-
opment patterns of a number of ICT-related projects in the rural areas of Malaysia. As one of the means of
generating rich data for the study, a number of carefully selected key respondents have been identified and
the in-depth interview approach has been adopted to support the main arguments of the study. Thus this paper
attempts to analyze the sustainability of a number of ICT projects in the rural areas of the country through the
development of a Conceptual Framework. The framework contains key and significant variables which are
relevant to understand the implications of sustaining ICT projects in the rural areas of the country.
Keywords: ICT, rural communities, sustainable projects
1. Introduction
In the last decade, ICT has advanced rapidly and its impact has become so pervasive that
it is necessary to study the issues and challenges arising from its diffusion and application,
particularly in the context of developing countries. This is because most governments in
developing countries seemed convinced that economic growth is driven by advances in tech-
nology rather than the accumulation of physical and human capital. According to this view,
differences in technological development account for most of the income and growth differ-
ences across countries (Easterly 2001, Easterly and Levine 2001).
*
Contact: nizamosman@fbmk.upm.edu.my.
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One of the most apparent characteristics of ICT is the convergence of computer technol-
ogy and telecommunication technology which has brought about a significant growth in net-
work computing, thus enabling information to be processed and transmitted at unprecedent-
ed speed and time. This networking capability has brought about applications that go
beyond the traditional mode of automating, thus enabling computers to be deployed to
enhance productivity as one of the means of achieving economic growth.
The dependence on computing technology and information services has intensified the
development of a new information-based economic sector in the domestic and international
market. However, the key question here is how effective and practical are the policies of these
countries, particularly developing countries, in facilitating the adoption and diffusion of ICT to
foster economic growth and improve productivity at the various sectors of the local economy?
Many policy makers and consultants seemed convinced that ICT applications have a sig-
nificant impact on customer service improvement, cost reduction, and productivity improve-
ment in providing new dimensions in the marketing of products and services (Yavas et. al.
1992, Fong 2001, Pilat & Wyckoff 2003). However the actual benefits of using ICT need to
be critically analysed and studied because the findings of a number of academic studies indi-
cate mixed findings on the impact of ICT on productivity and competitiveness.
Apart from the arguments presented above, what has remained elusive is the capability of
developing countries to fully harness the technological potential offered by the radical new
technology for economic advantage. For example, Willcocks & Lester (1999:1) argued the
high likelihood of ICT investments failing to contribute to significant rises in productivity and
growth in the economy. Similarly, Brynjolfsson & Hitt (1996) concluded that despite the high
investments in ICT, there is surprisingly little formal evidence linking ICT investments and
use to higher productivity. Likewise, Yang (1997: 67) has warned that ICT is only considered
significant if its applications can contribute to an increase in industrial productivity.
On the macro level, governments in most countries seemed to believe that the use of ICT
applications is also capable of enhancing the development of a countrys economy both
domestically and internationally. This has triggered the pursuit of ICT adoption not only in
developed nations but in developing countries as well. This has led governments in these
countries to devote increased resources to the development of the countrys ICT and multi-
media infrastructure to facilitate the process of ICT adoption and diffusion as a means to
enhance economic growth. In this case, governments are orienting their development
toward technological-intensive industries and higher value-added activities. This has also led
to the formulation and implementation of ICT-led development projects not only in the urban
areas, but also across the rural areas as well.
2. ICT in Rural Areas
ICTs present vast opportunities to developing social and economic inequalities; support
sustainable local wealth creation by overcoming barriers of geographic isolation, lack of
access to information and challenges in communication (Siriginidi, 2009). Pade (2006)
described the following branches as the uses of ICTs and also as an enabler in rural develop-
ment projects: entrepreneurial activity and market access, access to education and knowledge,
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addressing health challenges, rural empowerment and participation, addressing environmen-
tal sustainability, establishing community networks. Therefore, ICTs are playing a vital role in
connecting communities in regional, national and global development. (Prasad, 2008).
Furthermore, Knowledge (Rao, 2007) and information (Siriginidi, 2009) are increasingly
significant factors in rural development. Rural areas are often characterized as information-
poor and information provision has always been a central factor of rural development initia-
tives. The power of knowledge for development can be greatly enhanced by ICTs through
improving the access and breaking down the barriers to knowledge and information
exchange (Chapman & Slaymaker, 2002) and also by facilitating knowledge management
(Siriginidi, 2009).
Our growing understanding of information constraints suggests that markets alone are
often inadequate; societies also require policies and institutions to facilitate the acquisition,
adaptation, and dissemination of knowledge, and to mitigate information failures, especially
as they affect the poor. This requires effective consideration to be taken of the role of knowl-
edge in development in order to facilitate greater access to and use of ICTs through policy
planning (Chapman & Slaymaker, 2002).
Information and knowledge are basic among the resources to the development process.
Getting information and knowledge, other than empowering civil society, helps poverty reduc-
tion by allowing individuals and communities to enlarge their choices (CIDA, 2002). Informa-
tion and knowledge through ICTs improves effectiveness and efficiency of rural development
projects. The uses of ICTs as a tool and way in rural development can be applied in many
development projects and activities to encourage sustainable rural livelihood approaches in
lessening poverty (Pade, 2007) but still the sustainability of CT projects are questionable.
3. Usage of ICT in Malaysia in the Context of Global Economy
In Malaysia, the commitment of the government to facilitate the wider and extensive dif-
fusion in the uptake and use of computers across all sectors of the country, including the
rural sectors can partly be seen through the establishment of various policies to enable the
development of physical infrastructure as a means of facilitating the implementation of the
governments ICT policies. Part of this can be seen through the implementation of the gov-
ernments MSC policy in 1996 that was designed as a test-bed for the development of ICT
policies and infrastructure as a means of providing a comprehensive world-class ICT-
enabled working and living environment to catalyze the development of a knowledge-based
economy (8MP: 369)
1
.
In this case, the implementation of the MSC policy, has led to the establishment of vari-
ous initiatives undertaken to encourage a larger percentage of the population to use compu-
ters more extensively, not only for domestic usage but to engage in e-commerce-related
activities at the global level. This includes among others, the implementation of the flagship
Media, Globalization and the Public Sphere 67
1
8MP refers to the 8th Malaysian Plan report which outlines the various expenditure and initiatives
planned at the national level for a period of 5 years. The 8th Malaysia Plan Report can be viewed from the fol-
lowing website: http://www.pmo.gov.my/dokumenattached/RMK/RM9_E.pdf (Accessed 15th August, 2010).
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 67
applications projects that are encompassed within the implementation of the MSC policy, the
provision of incentives for computerisation and automation, the enhancement of education
and training programmes, and the creation of a number of legislation to encourage the use of
E-commerce more extensively. These initiatives are introduced not only for the benefit of the
urban communities, but rural communities as well.
The implementation of the MSC, together with the implementation of the governments
general ICT policies are aimed at getting a larger percentage of the general community to use
computers more extensively. This is because the government held a firm belief that the use
of computers is vital not only to the economic development of the country which in this case
includes the rural economic development as well. This was explicitly stated in the various
sections of the 8MP report, as indicated here: As ICT presented the best opportunities to
increase productivity and improve competitiveness, several programmes and projects were
implemented to encourage a wider diffusion of ICT in the economy (8MP report .363)
The ability to create, distribute and exploit knowledge and information is often regarded as
the single most important factor underlying economic growth and improvements in the qual-
ity of life. Recognizing that ICT is an important enabling tool towards achieving this objec-
tive, the Government undertook various initiatives during the Seventh Plan to facilitate the
greater adoption and diffusion of ICT to improve capacities in every field of business, indus-
try and life in general. (8MP: 364)
In order to encourage the diffusion of computers across the various sectors of the local
economy, the government has stepped up measures towards the development of its ICT initia-
tives. These are aimed at encouraging the use of computers not only among the urban sectors
of the country, but across the rural communities as well to enable the general public to use com-
puters and ICT-related applications at the global level. The implementation of these initiatives
are primarily aimed at encouraging the use of computing technology as a means of fostering
development and engaging in online trade and e-commerce related activities at the global level.
Apart from implementing various government ICTpolicies across the various sectors of the
rural communities, the strategies undertaken by the government to encourage more people to
use computers can also be seen from the formulation and implementation of policies to enable
the development of the governments computerisation program which is mostly encompassed
within the e-Commerce, e-Government, e-Public Services and e-Business initiatives.
The implementation of the e-Government, e-Public Services also known as the e-Deliv-
ery Services, as well as the e-Business initiatives which are encompassed within the MSC
implementation policy have already been discussed. The focus here therefore is on the
development of the e-Commerce initiative, where the extent and implications of the imple-
mentation of this initiative are discussed in greater depth in the following sections.
4. Governments Initiatives to Promote E-Commerce
The implementation of the governments electronic commerce (E-commerce) initiative,
seen here as part of the governments general ICT policy, is primarily aimed at using comput-
ing technology to partly enhance the economic development of all sectors of the country,
including the urban and rural sectors. The implementation of this initiative, which is also part
of the governments effort to increase the level of computer uptake across the wider society, has
68 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
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been placed under the management and responsibility of the Ministry of International Trade
and Industry (MITI). The importance of E-commerce, especially at the global level has been
underlined by the government, and its significance as one of the key engines of growth for the
development of the local economy has been explicitly spelled out in the 8MPreport, as indicat-
ed here: The E-commerce market was estimated to have increased from USD1 billion in 1998
to USD6 billion in 2000 across the Asia Pacific region. E-commerce not only affected business
and individual consumers, but it also reshaped market places, trading relationships and even
international trading boundaries. E-commerce presented opportunities for businesses to
improve competitiveness, have a global presence, undertake customization and create novel
businesses. (8MP: 375-376)
The importance of e-Commerce, especially in terms of enhancing the economic develop-
ment of the country are explored and discussed in greater depth in the following section.
5. E-Commerce and Economic Development
A number of reports have highlighted the importance and significance of e-Commerce,
especially in its role at enhancing the economic development of a country. For example,
according to a report published by the Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation
(MATRADE), E-commerce is expected to generate US$2.6 trillion (RM9.9 trillion) in
world-wide revenue by 2004, a substantial increase from the US$280 billion (RM1.1 tril-
lion) recorded in 2000
2
. The report also predicted that uptake in e-Commerce related activi-
ties across the various sectors of the Malaysian population in 2005 can generate income to
the country by as much as RM14.8 billion (US$3.9 billion), up from the RM44.5 million
(US$11.7 million) recorded in 2000.
In spite of this, the report published by the New Straits Times (2002) indicates that the
extent of e-Commerce uptake among the various sectors of the Malaysian population is rela-
tively small
3
. According to the report, only 3 per cent of the online population in the country
have engaged in e-Commerce-related activities, especially at the global level in the past and
this is partly attributed to a number of reasons, most prominent of which is the fear of reveal-
ing personal information such as bank and credit cards details, as well as other forms of per-
sonal details over the Internet. This concern is also highlighted in a report published by Nua
Internet Survey (2001) which indicates that 37 per cent of the Internet users in Malaysia have
expressed worries about providing personal information online, especially in e-Commerce-
related activities
4
. This partly explains why the government is giving special focus in getting
Media, Globalization and the Public Sphere 69
2
Information obtained from MATRADE web page at: http://www.matrade.gov.my/ecommerce/news-
archive/ecom-7.htm [Accessed 16th May 2003]. Other relevant online report highlighting importance of E-
commerce include the following:http://www.itis.org.tw/forum/content4/01if39d.htm [Accessed 16th May
2003].http://www.matrade.gov.my/ecommerce/news-archive/int-12.htm [Accessed 16th May 2003]
3
Information obtained from New Straits Times Interactive (June, 2002), published in New Media Review
Online, at: http://www.etcnewmedia.com/review/default.asp?SectionID=11&CountryID=72 [Accessed 20th
May 2003].
4
Information obtained from Nua Internet Survey (July 2001), published in New Media Review online at:
http://www.etcnewmedia.com/review/default.asp?SectionID=11&CountryID=72 [Accessed 20th May 2003].
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 69
a wider percentage of the countrys community, including rural communities to use e-com-
merce related activities to not only purchase goods, but more importantly to market their
goods and products not only at the national level, but more importantly at the global market.
6. Government Role in Facilitating Diffusion of ICT in Malaysia
In Malaysia, the commitment of the government to facilitate the wider and extensive dif-
fusion in the uptake and use of computers can partly be seen through the establishment of
various policies to enable the development of physical infrastructure as a means of facilitat-
ing the implementation of the governments ICT policies. Part of this can be seen through
the implementation of the MSC policy in 1996 that was designed as a test-bed for the devel-
opment of ICT as a means of providing a comprehensive world-class ICT-enabled working
and living environment to catalyze the development of a knowledge-based economy
(8MP:369).
It should be noted here that the MSC policy should be treated separately from those of the
governments general ICT policies. This is because the governments general ICT policies
were introduced as early as 1965 while the MSC policy only came into existence much later
in 1996. In spite of this, the formulation and implementation of the MSC policy is largely
seen as attempts undertaken by the government to partly extend and develop its general ICT
policies through the various initiatives and measures introduced under the MSC policy as a
means of increasing the rate of computerisation in the country.
The implementation of the MSC, together with the implementation of the governments
general ICT policies are aimed at getting a larger percentage of the general community to use
computers more extensively. This is because the government held a firm belief that the use
of computers is vital to the economic development of the country. This was explicitly stated
in the various sections of the 8MP report, as indicated below: As ICT presented the best
opportunities to increase productivity and improve competitiveness, several programmes
and projects were implemented to encourage a wider diffusion of ICT in the economy
(8MP: 363) The ability to create, distribute and exploit knowledge and information is often
regarded as the single most important factor underlying economic growth and improvements
in the quality of life. Recognizing that ICT is an important enabling tool towards achieving
this objective, the Government undertook various initiatives during the Seventh Plan to facil-
itate the greater adoption and diffusion of ICT to improve capacities in every field of busi-
ness, industry and life in general. (8MP: 364)
In this case, the implementation of the MSC policy, has led to the establishment of vari-
ous initiatives undertaken to encourage a larger percentage of the population to use comput-
ers more extensively. This includes among others, the implementation of the flagship appli-
cations projects that are encompassed within the implementation of the MSC policy, the
provision of incentives for computerisation and automation, the enhancement of education
and training programmes, and the creation of a number of legislation to encourage the use of
E-commerce more extensively.
In terms of the initiatives taken by the Malaysian government to enhance the adoption and
application of ICT projects in the rural areas, this can be seen from the report outlined in the
70 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
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Eighth Malaysian Plan whereby the government has ascertained that priority was given to
expand and further develop infrastructures which are needed to facilitate in the adoption and
application of ICT in the rural areas of the country. The Eighth Malaysian Plan report also out-
lined initiatives taken to enhance the accessibility to ICT infrastructure, especially in terms of
having access to public payphones and Internet services across the underserved areas through
government allocations and Universal Service Provision (USP) fund contributed by the indus-
try. Through these initiatives, it was therefore possible for a considerable significant number
of schools, clinics and libraries across the rural areas to have access to the Internet along with
other forms of ICTs which include fixed telephone lines and public payphones.
In order to accelerate infrastructure deployment and improve ICT penetration to the gen-
eral public, including rural and underserved areas, the industry leveraged on wired and wire-
less technologies to provide broadband services throughout the country. These efforts were
part of the overall implementation framework contained in the National Broadband Plan
(NBP), to provide for planned operationalization of the broadband nationwide.
Table 1. ICT Subscriptions Indicators in 2000, 2005 and 2010.
Source: Table 5.1 of the 8
th
Malaysia Plan Report (135).
The data presented in Table 1 above shows the overall ICT usage subscription across a
ten year period, specifically in 2000, 2005 and 2010. The data presented in the table above
clearly revealed a significant increase in terms of ICT subscription, specifically in terms of
the number of fixed telephone lines in operation, the number of cellular phone subscription,
the number of personal computers installed, the number of internet dial-up subscriptions and
the number of internet broadband subscriptions from 2000 to the present (2010).
In spite of the significant increase in the number of subscription of major ICT devices as
revealed in the table above, the rate of Internet dial-up Internet Broadband subscriptions is
still significant low. This is evident from the figures presented in the table above which
Media, Globalization and the Public Sphere 71
Indicator 2000 2005 2010
Fixed Telephone Lines in Operation
Number of Lines (in million)
Penetration Rate (%)
4.6 4.4 -
19.7 16.6 -
Cellular Phone Subscriptions
Number of Subscriptions (in million)
Penetration Rate (%)
5.0 19.5 24.4
21.8 74.1 85.0
Personal Computers Installed
Number of Units Installed (in million)
Penetration Rate (%)
2.2 5.7 11.5
9.4 21.8 40.0
Internet Dial-up Subscriptions
Number of Subscriptions (in million)
Penetration Rate (%)
1.7 3.7 10.0
7.1 13.9 35.0
Internet Broadband Subscriptions
Number of Subscriptions (in million)
Penetration Rate (%)
- 0.49 3.7
- 1.9 13.0
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revealed only 10 million people, out of a total current population of 26 million people in the
country has Internet dial-up subscriptions, while only 3.7 million people has subscribed to
Internet broadband services. In terms of percentage, these figures revealed that only 35%
and 13% of the Malaysian population have Internet dial-up and Internet broadband subscrip-
tions, respectively.
The government views positively the adoption and application of the various ICT devices
across all sectors of the society, including urban and rural areas of the country. This is evi-
dent from the 8
th
Malaysian Plan Report which revealed that the government has proposed
guidelines for the orderly and integrated development of the convergence of the three key
sectors of the ICT industry, namely cellular telephony, the Internet and broadcasting. The
design of converging these three sectors of the ICT industry was made primarily with the
aim of expanding the development of innovative ICT services, telecommunication infra-
structure and investment in new growth areas, including content development, digital multi-
media receivers and VoIP phones as well as embedded components and devices.
In order to encourage the diffusion of computers across the various sectors of the local econ-
omy, the government has stepped up measures towards the development of its ICT initiatives.
These are aimed at encouraging the use of computers not only among the urban sectors of the
country, but across the rural communities as well. This has resulted in the implementation of ini-
tiatives such as the Gerakan Desa Wawasan, Internet Desa, InfoDesa and the establishments of
Telecenters in a number of carefully selected rural communities across the country.
The implementation of these initiatives are primarily aimed at firstly, introducing com-
puters at the village level and secondly, encouraging the use of computing technology as a
means of fostering development across the various sectors of the rural communities. While
the formulation and implementation of these measures is largely meant to benefit the overall
wider society, some of these were specifically introduced to promote the use of computers to
facilitate development across the rural communities. The implementation of these measures,
together with their implications is discussed in greater depth in the sections that follow.
7. Gerakan Desa Wawasan
The Gerakan Desa Wawasan
5
initiative, under the administration and responsibility of
the Ministry of Rural Development Malaysia (MRDM), was launched in 1996. The formu-
lation and implementation of this initiative, largely seen as part of the governments measure
to promote its general ICT policy, was primarily aimed at increasing the awareness of the
rural population to participate actively in bringing about change and development to their
areas (8MP:366). To facilitate this, measures were introduced for the allocation of comput-
er facilities to be built across the rural communities to not only assist in the management
and administration of the villages but as an initial step to introduce ICT at the village level
(8MP:366).
72 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
5
Refer to the information on Gerakan Desa Wawasan, online at: http://members.tripod.com/~-
kemas_malaysia/gerakan_desa_wawasan.htm [Accessed 6th June 2010]. Also, the Ministry of Rural
Development home page at: http://www.kplb.gov.my/utamaeng.htm [Accessed 6th June 2010].
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 72
Although the implementation of this initiative was largely seen as attempts undertaken by
the government to help develop rural communities through the use of computing technology,
however questions need to be raised here as to how the extensive use of computers can facil-
itate development of the rural communities. Furthermore, are these computers mostly used
to facilitate higher-level activities or are these mostly used as a form of basic information
retrieval and dissemination, especially through the use of emails and the Internet and again,
how would this result in the significant development undertaken at the village level. These
issues have not been explicitly addressed by the government when it implemented the Ger-
akan Desa Wawasan initiative.
Furthermore, apart from the difficulty of getting the village communities to be interested
in computers, the effectiveness in the implementation of this initiative has also largely been
criticized by a number of policy makers who seemed to be questioning the practicality of
introducing computers at the village level when its usage is largely either for emailing or other
forms of usage which would not constitute to the economic development of the rural commu-
nities. Part of this can be seen from the following quotation obtained from one of the inter-
view respondents
6
of the study: compared to people living in the city, I think it would be a
lot more difficult to get people living in the villages to even be interested in
computersthese, to most of them are alien forms of technologymaybe the younger gener-
ation would be interested in computers because they can use the computers to play computer
games or for emailing but I dont quite know how the adults living in the villages can use
computer more effectively, other than using the Internet to get the latest informationmost of
them would still prefer to get the latest news and information from the local newspapers or
radio or even through chatting with fellow villages at the local coffee shopsin this case, I
dont see how getting computers to the villages could help them improve their life styleI
think what the villagers would really want is government assistance to provide them with ade-
quate supply of fertilisers, good supply of electricity, education facilities...and maybe loans
for them to purchase tractorsthese are some of the badly needed things by the villagers
In spite of this, the advantage of using computers for economic development at the rural
level can only be achieved through a series of education and training programmes that are
introduced at the village level which are aimed to firstly, get computers exposed to the village
communities and secondly, get the village communities to learn to use computers more pro-
ductively. This view has been expressed by one of the interview respondents of the study as
revealed in the following quotation: maybe, especially through the introduction of more
training programmesbottom line is, the villagers will need to be exposed to computers first,
then introduce training before assisting them to use computers more extensivelythere are
many things that can be done to help improve the lives of the villagersteach them how to
use computers, especially emails to market their produces to retailers, show them how emails
and the Internet can be used to communicate with the governmentI think there is potential
in this project but proper execution is needed in order to achieve the best results
Media, Globalization and the Public Sphere 73
6
The quotation presented above was obtained from one of the interview respondents involved in the
study. A total of 8 carefully selected key respondents from the ICT industry and the Ministry of Energy,
Telecommunication and Multimedia Malaysia were involved in the in-depth interviews to gather qualitative
data for the study.
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In spite of the views generated from the interview respondents, the government seemed
optimistic about the Gerakan Desa Wawasan initiative and ascertained that the implementa-
tion of the initiative has benefited certain sectors of the rural communities. This is partly
highlighted in the 8MP report below: by the end of 2000, a total of 995 villages benefit-
ed from this programme (8MP: 366)
In this case, questions will also need to be raised as to whether the implementation of
government ICT initiatives at the rural level has indeed resulted in a significant rise in the
level of development undertaken across the village communities. However, since no
detailed studies have been found to address this issue more extensively and due to the lack of
sufficient and reliable data, it would be rather difficult to examine this issue in greater depth.
8. Internet Desa
The Internet Desa initiative, launched in March 2000, is one of the pilot projects intro-
duced under the Gerakan Desa Wawasan initiative. It involves the provision of ICT infra-
structure and facilities at post offices and community centres across the rural parts of the
country. The implementation of this initiative enables the provision of Internet facilities,
including the provision of free email accounts to enable greater percentage of the rural com-
munities to use computers as a means of accessing information on government services,
local events and other forms of information. Similar to some of the objectives introduced
under the Gerakan Desa Wawasan initiative, the main aim of the Internet Desa is to firstly,
introduce computers at the village level, secondly, promote a wider uptake and use of com-
puters especially among the village communities and thirdly, promote the use of computers
as a means of enhancing economic development of the rural communities.
Here, a number of questions will need to be raised, especially in terms of the significance of
establishing the Internet Desa initiative since the objectives in the implementation of this initia-
tive are similar to those of the Gerakan Desa Wawasan. Obviously, it would be a lot more effec-
tive to introduce only one initiative that is aimed at enhancing the development and application
of computer technology at the rural level and outline various policies and action plans to ensure
the effective implementation of the initiative. This way, the attention of the government can
then be focused on the development of proper facilities such as developing computer centres in
order to realistically implement the governments ICTpolicies at the rural level. Part of this was
raised by an interview respondent, as reflected in part of the quotations below: set up more
Internet facilitiesthe government also needs to ensure that the constant disruption of electrici-
ty power supply, especially in the village communities are minimisedin terms of management
of these facilities, maybe can rotate among the villagers, but I think constant monitor is a must
to prevent these places to be turned into a coffee shop or conference centres
Apart from this, the government also will need to take into account the strategies to
ensure the effective usage of these places. In this case, these centres will need to introduce
classes which provide lessons on the basics usage of computers, as indicated in the quotation
obtained from one of the interview respondents below: have more training centres
developed and conduct more computer classes to educate the village folks on the basics of
using computersno point of introducing this initiative when the basic facilities are not
even there
74 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
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Although the implementation of the Internet Desa initiative, together with the Gerakan
Desa Wawasan are primarily aimed at promoting computer usage as one of the means of
enhancing across the rural communities, arguably given the lack of significant development
undertaken at the village level, including lack of facilities to support the implementation of
the government ICT policies, it would be rather difficult to justify government actions to get
the village communities to use computers as a means of enhancing social and economic
development of the rural communities.
In spite of this, the government is optimistic that the implementation of its ICT policies at
the village level will be appreciated by the village communities. Part of this is highlighted in
the following 8MP report which highlights the governments confidence that the number of
computer users at the village level would increase in accordance to the stage of development
of the governments ICT policies that are introduced at the village level: its effectiveness
is measured in terms of the number of users. Initial evaluation revealed that there were 55 to
70 users per week, many of whom were students. By the end of the Plan period, 12 such cen-
tres were implemented throughout the country, and the number of users would certainly
rise (8MP: 366)
In spite of this, it should be argued here that the effectiveness in the implementation of
any government policies and initiatives cannot be simply measured in terms of statistical fig-
ures alone. These should also be measured from other perspectives as well, especially in
terms of the realistic and practicality of these initiatives to the existing economic and techno-
logical stage of development undertaken in the country. In this case, it would require more
extensive and in-depth study on all aspects in the implementation of government policies
before the effectiveness of these implementations can be accurately measured and analyzed.
9. Review of Literature on the Sustainability of ICT Projects
in the Rural Areas
Recently, issues relating to sustainability of ICT, especially in rural areas have emerged
as a topic of interest in the development discourse. Sustainability is described as the ability
of a project or intervention to continue in existence after the implementing agency has
departed (Harris et al., 2003).
According to Munyua (2007), sustainability should be considered from the start of a proj-
ect, specifically bearing in mind the factors that influence its sustainability. Bailur (2007)
described the financial (or economic), political and social sustainability as three main issues
related to sustainability of ICT projects (Bailur, 2007). A number of past studies seemed to
focus on financial sustainability, while it has been noted that social and political sustainabili-
ty should also be considered as key issues (Colle, 2005, Harris et al. 2003, Whyte, 2000).
The literature tends to focus more on organizational issues than social issues related to
ICT sustainability (Kuma & Best, 2006, Ellen, 2003). While there are many factors that may
affect sustainability, many of them are linked with economic issues (Madon, 2005). There is
less focus on the issues resulting from the implementation of ICT projects in the rural areas
and the services available to the communities (Bailey, 2009).
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76 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
Heeks (2005) suggested three main elements which make an e-development project sus-
tainable and these include i) capacity: the project must match the available resources on an
ongoing basis which includes money, skills, data and technology ii) utility: the project must
keep satisfying the needs of at least some stakeholders; it must continue to be helpful to
someone and iii) embedding: for long-term sustainability, the project must be institutiona-
lized inserted in the rules and norms, culture and values of its setting (Heeks, 2005).
Harris et al. (2003) identified four factors which should be considered in sustainability
projects in the rural areas and these include financial viability, staff capability, community
acceptance and service delivery as critical success factors for rural ICT project sustainabili-
ty (Harris et al., 2003). Based on the results of Bailys (2009) thematic content analysis, the
author suggests an effective process focusing on i) the social context of ICT projects usage,
ii) participatory methods for needs assessment and knowledge sharing among stakeholders,
especially stakeholders who are involved in the day-to-day ICT projects in the rural areas
and iii) the continued development of core capabilities of the ICT projects in the rural areas
(Bailey, 2009).
10. Analyzing the Sustainability of ICT Projects Based on the
ICT Sustainability Conceptual Framework
The paper has provided an overall analysis on the various initiatives undertaken by the
Malaysian government to formulate and implement a number of ICT-led development proj-
ects in the rural areas. While some of these initiatives have proven to be successful, there had
been a number of cases of ICT projects, especially those developed in the rural areas failing
to meet its implementing objectives. One of the means of analyzing the sustainability of
these projects is through the use of a conceptual framework. The use of framework in this
study is primarily aimed at guiding the empirical study, especially in the discussions relating
to the attributing factors in enhancing the rate of sustainability of ICT projects in the rural
areas of Malaysia.
Figure 1 provides a diagram of the framework of the study. The framework of the study
is largely based on the following four sets of variables: i) Interpretive Flexibility of ICT Pro-
jects, ii) Development ICT Projects, iii) Stabilization of ICT Projects and iv) Context of ICT
Projects. These four variables are believed to have influential effects on the sustainability of
the ICT-led development projects across the various rural areas of the country.
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Figure 1. ICT Sustainability Conceptual Framework.
In terms of the Interpretive Flexibility of the ICT projects, the framework provides a
number of indicators which are believed to be able to have a positive impact on the sustain-
ability of the ICT projects in the rural areas of the country. Some of these indicators include
simple and clear project objectives which should be largely focused on the local demand and
needs of the local communities. In this case, the main objectives in the implementation of
any ICT projects in the rural areas should take into account the basic needs of the local com-
munities. This is where the objectives of the implementation should be simple and easily
understood by the local communities. In terms of the development of ICT projects in the
rural areas, these projects should also take into consideration the appropriateness of these
projects for the different sectors of the communities. In this case, the projects should be
adaptive to the general communities in the context of gender, income and age groups and
other related demographic factors.
In terms of the development of the ICT related projects and programmes in the rural
areas, one of the key factors to take note of is the readiness level of the communities to use
ICT for various reasons, from acquiring information and knowledge to using ICT for eco-
nomic benefits. The mobility and outreach programmes in the rural communities should also
be considered in the initial design stage of any projects. It would be important to ensure the
projects and programmes that have been implemented are of some use to the local communi-
ties. In this case, it would be necessary to ensure the local communities have knowledge
Media, Globalization and the Public Sphere 77
Interpretive Flexibility of ICT Project (Telecenters)
- Simple and clear project objectives
- Focusing on local / demand driven needs
- Appropriate / flexible for different income, age, gender
- Sensitive to the rural community's priorities needs
Technological Framework / Context of ICT Telecenters
- understanding the rural context
- adapting to rural communities specific rural contexts
- understanding policy requirements of rural contexts
- consider the expectations of the rural communities
- consider the economic status of the rural communities
Stabilization of Telecenters
- facilitating local content
- build on existing public facili-
ties
- focus on programmes which
clearly would benefit the local
communities
- involvement of the local com-
munities in the planning,
analysis, designing, imple-
mentation and evaluation of
the local telecenters
- the availability of adequate
access to ICT
Development of Telcenters
- based on local info and
knowledge system
- focusing on external and
internal groups
- inclusion of all contexts of
the communities
- mobility and outreach pro-
grammes in the rural commu-
nities
Sustainability
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 77
about these programmes and projects and therefore have the capacity to access these projects
and programmes more easily.
As far as the stabilization of the ICT projects in rural areas are concerned, the study is
proposing the adoption of a number of steps to ensure the continued sustainability of the var-
ious ICT projects in the rural areas. Firstly, the study is proposing the development of ICT
projects in the rural areas which are largely based on the local content. In this case, the main
usage and application of ICTs in the rural areas should benefit the local users. This is where
the designs and formulation of programmes should focus on the local communities readi-
ness levels. In other words, the development of ICT-related programmes should be designed
in stages which would benefit the local communities gradually.
In relation to the discussions presented above, the planning, formulation, analysis and
evaluation of ICT-related programmes should involve representatives of the local communi-
ties. This is where areas of concerned can be addressed and highlight by the local communi-
ties to benefit the local consumers. In this case, there would be no point of formulating and
implementing ICT programmes which may only benefit the authorities, but may be of no
significant usage for the local communities.
Talyarkhan (2004) and Stoll (2003a) emphasize that ICT projects need to research the
policy environment, and understand the issues arising across the country and regions, espe-
cially considering policy that affects rural ICT implementation both directly and indirectly.
Understanding of the political context of government officials, institutional, technological
and even traditional village leaders are suitable policy environment and they are necessary to
investigate for ICTs to be sustainable particularly in a rural community (Pade, 2007).
The economic status of a rural community can persuade the sustainability of a project,
especially considering the potential of the community, and the ability to manage the ICT
services provided. Economic development is key to growing the use and affordability of
ICTs. ICT projects should focus on creating job placements as community members gain
ICT skills, so that they do not leave their families in search of employment elsewhere.
ICT projects must consider the early high costs and must be implemented effectively for
long-term sustainability. Many ICT projects lack the self sustaining base and after the exper-
imental phase usually because they are funded by international agencies that stop funding
after a period of time, the user communities stop because simply they are too poor to contin-
ue it (Prasad, 2008) or do not get the importance and effectiveness of the project. Although
its not completely true about Malaysia but it is considerable even when government plays
the role of supporter the self sustaining bases of project are considerable.
11. Conclusion
The detailed and extensive discussions on issues relating to the formulation and implemen-
tation of various government policies to primarily facilitate the wider and extensive diffusion
and uptake in the usage of computers across the country, especially in the rural parts of the
country have generated a number of important findings. These findings are mostly centred on
evaluating the direction and overall impact of government policies to increase the rate of com-
puter usage and to ensure the sustainability of ICT projects across the rural communities to
78 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
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what extent the implementation of these policies have been effective in increasing the exten-
sive diffusion and uptake in the usage of computers across the rural communities and to what
extent the sustainability of these projects in the rural areas can be sustained. The study to some
extent has revealed that the government ICT policies which were introduced at the rural level
have largely, not materialised and their practicality and effectiveness have been questioned and
undermined by the general public.
Despite implementing various measures and policies to increase the uptake of computer
usage across the wider society, the findings of the study have revealed that it would be rather
difficult to implement and sustain the development of ICT projects across the rural communi-
ties. This is partly attributed to the significantly large percentage of the Malaysian population
who are still residing in either rural or under-developed parts of the country. In this case, the
practicality in the implementation of these initiatives, particularly those aimed at enhancing
the rate of computer usage across the rural communities have largely been questioned and
undermined by the general public. Furthermore, aspirations of the government to develop
and sustain ICT projects at the village level as a means of facilitating economic development
across the rural communities seemed unjustified. This is partly due to the state of under-
development which is most apparent across most parts of the rural regions. Therefore, with-
out basic infrastructure facilities and without the proper computer training skills, it would be
rather difficult to sustain the development of ICT projects across the rural communities.
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Media, Public Opinion, Political Actors
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The Transformation of the Public Sphere, Media Technology
and the Media / Social Ecology Perspective
Marcus LEANING*
University of Winchester, UK
Abstract: Media / social ecology is an approach to understanding the interaction of media forms with
human actors, social systems and political projects. This paper proposes that such an approach offers a
nuanced explanatory tool for examining the transformation of the public sphere and steps for its revitalisa-
tion. This approach foregrounds the necessity of both technical and non-technical activities to bring about
the revitalisation of the public sphere.
The paper consists of three sections:
Section one critically examines the existing model of technological change and the public sphere. It is
argued that the existing model employs a simplistic model of social change in which the deployment of new
technology impacts upon social practice.
Section two describes the media / social ecology perspective. A case study is used to illustrate how var-
ious technological forms, multi-platform media content, social systems and practices and individual social
actors are all integrated into a complex system.
In section three it is proposed that new technology alone is not enough facilitate the revitalisation of the
public sphere. Instead, a more holistic view is proposed wherein the deployment of media technology must
occur in concert with other strategically -orientated social developmental practices such as media literacy
programmes and citizenship development programmes.
The paper concludes by advocating the necessity of a grounded, community centric and grass roots
approach to the deployment of media technology to revitalise the public sphere.
Keywords: public sphere, transformation, media ecology, social ecology, media meshing, new media
technology, grass roots approach
1. Introduction
In this paper I wish to propose a theoretical standpoint for the examination of the rela-
tionship between media technology and social change. In a nutshell, I argue that social
change can best be understood as being brought about by a variety of factors that includes
technology, progressive political forces and macro-level factors. Such an account is at odds
*
Contact: Marcus.Leaning@winchester.ac.uk.
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with a body of literature that sees much social change as being driven by new forms of media
technology. Indeed media technology is often regarded as a key engine by those seeking the
revitalization of the public sphere. It is argued here that while such revitalization is vital and
very desirable, the reliance upon media technology to do this is problematic. I intend to show
that this position, of seeing media technology as a technological fix, owes much to an often
unquestioned interpretation of technology. I will further argue that only when technology is
used in concert with other factors such as progressive grass-roots political action can sustain-
able political development be achieved. Finally, I will argue that media technology should be
seen as one factor amongst many that should be deployed to achieve change, media technol-
ogy is but one actor in a complex web or ecosystem of technology, human actors, social sys-
tems and macro transformational processes. Indeed it may be better to view such a complex
interaction in terms of an ecology or mesh rather than a simple cause and effect manner.
However, while the term media ecology has been used in the title of this paper it should
be noted that there are a number of conflicting uses of the term in contemporary media theo-
ry. An alternative meaning is found in the work of Neil Postman. For Postman media tech-
nologies impact directly upon human action: Technological change is neither additive or
subtractive. It is ecological in the same sense used by environmental scientists Anew
technology does not add or subtract something. It changes everything. (1). Similarly
Naughton sees a media ecology as a system that is based upon a particular media technolo-
gy, change the media technology and everything else changes: For most of our lives, the
dominant organism in (the previous ecology) the one that grabbed most of the resources,
revenue and attention was broadcast TV. This ecosystem is the media environment in
which most of us grew up. But its in the process of radical change. (2).
In this interpretation media technology is the primary force of transformation, change the
media technology and everything changes. Other factors such as political action and even
macro structural forces are all subject to technological change.
Conversely the interpretation proposed here technology is conceptualised in a less influ-
ential manner, it is not the only factor that may bring about social change and its ability to
impact upon the social world is mitigated and contingent upon other factors. This interpreta-
tion emerges from a critical examination of the relationship of technology to social change.
2. Technology and Social Change
In many accounts social change is regarded as the direct consequence of one particular
factor: indeed Bolter (3) argues that media theory can be roughly divided between formal-
ist schools of thought those theories that focus upon the qualities of a media form to
impact upon a society of form of social practice, and culturalist schools of thought those
theories that see human action as more important. Of course these theories derive from the
earlier debate between McLuhan and Williams in which the power of media technology to
transform society was examined. In brief, McLuhan sees human history as divided into four
distinct, technologically oriented ages or epochs; an oral/primitive age in which the domi-
nant sense was aural, a literate age in which the visual sense became more important as visu-
al artifacts rose in significance, a print age during which the visual sense was dominant, and
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an electronic age, a multi-sensory period (4). The system of media technology that dominat-
ed each age auditory, textual, print and electronic were the prime movers in structuring
human interaction and experience of the external world. From this broadly quasi-historical
system McLuhan proposed the notion that the medium is the message that attention
should be focused not upon the content of the media but upon the form in which it is deliv-
ered. It is the form of media rather than its specific content that has the power to structure
relations and human action. New forms of media thus bring about new forms of interperson-
al interaction. McLuhans position can be contrasted with that of Raymond Williams.
Williams key work in this field, Television: Technology and Cultural Form (5), is primarily
sociological, in contrast to McLuhans spiritual or psychological orientation. Deploying
what became known as his cultural materialist approach he focuses attention upon the
social conditions of technological and mediatic development and use. Williams contends
that the social environment in which a media technology is developed and deployed plays a
far greater part in the potency of the technology to affect social life that McLuhan credits it
with. Thus, where McLuhan stresses the importance of technology in structuring human life,
Williams proposes that nothing in a particular technology preordains its use or effects.
Interestingly this debate, dated as it is, has considerable significance in exploring the ways
in which the public sphere can be revitalized. The idea of the public sphere was popularized
by (and in response to) the work of the German philosopher Jrgen Habermas. Briefly put, the
public sphere is an idealised, virtual or imagined space in which members of a community
may communicate. The public sphere does not necessarily exist in a particular geographical
space; rather it is a concept or component of a particular political system. Habermas regarded
the public sphere as a concept in the practice of democracy that was singularly identifiable in
a particular historical, political and social situation. It is certainly not a constant feature of all
human social life and was deeply linked to certain social conditions that afforded its emer-
gence and eventually caused its demise. Some of the most marked modifications and adjust-
ments to Habermass theories have arisen in response to changes in advanced capitalist soci-
eties since 1989. Habermas acknowledged certain problems with his initial description of the
public sphere and made a number of modifications to his theory. In addition to the recognition
of a plurality of public spheres, the impact of technology upon contemporary western capital-
ist society has also been understood to have had a considerable impact upon the public sphere.
What is implicit within Habermas work yet never explicitly stated are the specifics of the
way in which a media technology impacts upon a social form (6,7). Habermas sees the emer-
gence of the public sphere as inherently tied to the emergence of various communicative and
social processes and likewise the eventual decline as tied to the gradual rise of the mass
media. Embedded in this account is the concept of a specific instance of technology impact-
ing and structuring behavior. In this vision technology impacts upon humans and upon the
general structuring of society technology determines human action. Such technological
determinism has proven a strong and persistent strand of thought in understanding the role
of technology within modern Western thought even though it seems rarely explicitly stated.
Marx and Smith contend: Asense of technologys power as a crucial agent of change has a
prominent place in the culture of modernity. It belongs to the body of widely shared tacit
knowledge that is more likely to be acquired by direct experience than by the transmittal of
explicit ideas (8).
Media, Public Opinion, Political Actors 85
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Similarly, Bimber proposes: Technological determinism seems to lurk in the shadows of
many explanations of the role of technology. (9). With regards to a general description of
technological determinism, Heilbroner summarizes the argument as follows: Machines
make history by changing the material conditions of human existence. It is largely ma-
chines that define what it is to live in a certain epoch. (10).
Most understandings of the public sphere, its emergence, decline and potential salvation
draw upon this model of technological change even if they never overtly state it. Some con-
sider technological determinism as such a universal experience of technology and social
transformation that it hardly warrants investigation. Moreover, this perspective is a widely
used is discussions of how new technology and most recently social media such as blogs,
twitter, social networking sites and an array of other communication technologies will help
to revitalize the public sphere (11, 12, 13, 14), though there are critical interpretations of this
position (15, 16). Opposed to this view is the argument that social transformation cannot be
reduced to the effect of a particular technology. Instead it is argued here that social; change
should be examined from a more mixed perspective that pays attention to a myriad of con-
tributing factors in understanding and seeking to drive social change.
The perspective adopted here is one that draws upon a two different traditions: first it
draws upon a form of understanding social change that is broadly sociological in nature it
pays attention primarily to human actors in understanding how change operates. To under-
stand the impact of technology in the development of the public sphere we must as, Selwyn
and Gorrard propose: step beyond the limitations of previous analyses of ICT if we are to
gain a deeper understanding.We need to be aware of the social, cultural, political, econom-
ic and technological aspects of ICT the soft as well as the hard concerns. (17).
Second it draws upon the democratic and progressive approach to technology and tech-
nological policy making advocated by authors such as Sclove (18) and seeks to promotes the
grass roots, community centric (19).
3. The Social / Media Ecology Perspective
The social media ecology approach or perspective is an assertion that technology, social
practices and macro level forces should be understood as firmly tied together and that they
intersect with each other in a non hierarchical fashion. Technology is not in some way out-
side of society yet affective of it. Nor is technology more potent than other factors in driving
social change. Instead technology is a part of society and emerges from it. However at the
same time we must recognize that technology is an active and dynamic part of the late or
post-modern world. Technology is a device that both facilitates and accelerates change in
society (16) yet its ability to do so is dependent upon other social factors. Furthermore, it is
explicitly disputed that media technology and society are separate and discrete. Rather they
are deeply interwoven operating in a complex, reflective and integrated relationship (16).
From a media / social ecology perspective media technology is part of our world yet it is not
the main transformative force, it contributes to change but is filtered through and mediated by
a variety of social factors. To understand how the relationship between certain social factors
and media technology interrelate I shall describe the activities of a small non-governmental
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organization operating in a British city. At the express wishes of the NGO in question their
identity will be not be disclosed nor will the city in which they operate.
The NGO is a small group of film makers and media producers who offer training, media
development, equipment loans and facilities to members of migrant communities and ethnic
minority groups including local community groups and alyssum seeker and refugee groups.
Their remit is to facilitate inter-civilizational and inter-faith communication from a broadly
unitarian and humane perspective. Additionally they operate on a rigorous democratic basis
with elected officials and a collective decision making process.
In the particular city in which they operate there have been considerable tensions
between the local community and what the local community considers outsiders (often asy-
lum seekers and refugees). Furthermore longer standing ethnic minority groups are present
but there are considerable issues of a lack of integration and problems with the nature of inte-
gration reports indicate the members of the ethnic minority feel they have to abandon their
own ways to integrate. This has led to a more staunch assertion of particular forms of identi-
ty emerging in the ethnic minority groups often a form of identity that is not recognized by
elder members of the communities.
These issues have occurred against the backdrop (and probable motivating factors) of the
bombings in London and the British involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The
city is also in a region with strong nationalist tendencies. Such factors have heightened the
tensions between members of the differing communities and there have been several inci-
dents of racial and religious intolerance. The NGO is funded by a number of international
organizations and from grants by the local government authority for specific projects
The NGO has sought to provide media training to facilitate inter faith dialogue. This
training has involved grouping together various members of differing communities into pro-
duction teams and having them engage in a media production activity. The production activ-
ities were selected so as to raise issues of identity and faith in the groups while not directly
requiring the advocacy or refutation of a particular set of beliefs. The resultant media texts
were presented in a variety of film shows and media demonstrations and were then incorpo-
rated into a social networking site. The social networking site was then opened to external
groups and publicized through a viral marketing campaign. Further dialogue was encour-
aged and follow-up activities organized around the texts produced.
In terms of outcomes, the projects operated by the NGO proved very successful; partici-
pants recorded their enjoyment, the take up was considerable and a number of the projects
continued on their own steam once the funded portion had ended. While the inter-faith
dimension of the projects would be hard to measure, the participants did report that they felt
they appreciated others position (and that other now better understood them).
Outside of these findings what is particularly interesting in this case is the manner of use of
the technology. The project was for all intents and purposes aimed at instigating rational dis-
course and the development of discourse ethics (20) of securing sustainable pathways of
communication and building more collective and respectful forms of identity. The NGO saw
their mission as one of transformation of offering participants the opportunity to engage with
alternate forms of identity.
The role of media technology played in this process raises two points:
First, the media technology was deployed with the specific intention of achieving a goal.
This aim was determined and planned by the NGO, the technology did not cause change of
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its own volition, rather it was used so as to achieve a specific outcome. Technology was
deployed in the service of a social aim, to bring about a change in social practice.
Second, the media technology was only part of the planned action. It was used in concert
with training courses in technical training, media education and what amounted to citizen
education (21).
Media technology was used to facilitate the intended outcome but it very much played a sec-
ondary role to the training and development work of the NGOs workers. Technology alone
would not have resulted in the projects success, it was only with the considerable soft human
aspects that the projects could function. In seeking to drive change a more totalized approach
was need one that regarded technology as part of the solution but not the entirety of it.
4. Steering Transformation:
A Multipart Approach to Driving Social Change
From the media social ecology perspective, desired social change can only be achieved
when a variety of steps are taken. The use of media technology may play a significant role in
delivering change but it must be integrated within a broader range of policies or actions. I
have argued previously (16) that such steps can be considered as dimensions in the process
of delivering transformation that we must be aware of factors such as the educational, cul-
tural, economic and social factors as well as the technological aspects of using media tech-
nology to drive change. From this perspective driving change draws upon human factors as
well as technological ones. Technology alone will not deliver change, educational, cultural,
economic and social factors are all needed. Indeed in the case study indicated, it was the
actual processes of learning to use the technology that prove important, the process of work-
ing together to achieve the task was the facilitating aspect the media technology used was
important but was not the only factor.
Progressive social change must be driven by a multipart or multi-dimensional approach,
technology on its own will not deliver; instead it must be situated within a range of transfor-
mative practices such as educational programs, community action, and grass roots projects
that recognize the local conditions and problems.
This holistic approach to progressive social change is unfortunately expensive to oper-
ate. While the purchase of technology the technological fix (17) is relatively cheap the
human intensive aspects tend not to be. Furthermore, in times of economic privation such as
the current situation, the temptation for funding agencies may well be to de-link the techno-
logical from the social, cultural and educational aspects and at least deliver a technological
and measurable outcome.
5. Conclusion
The position of the media / social ecology perspective is both a descriptive account of
how technology may intersect and be used to bring about change and a normative prescrip-
tion of a way to facilitate change. The concepts noted here are proposals to use differing
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means to encourage the revitalization of the public sphere. Furthermore, they are a call to de-
centre technology in understanding how to bring about this change and to situate technology
into more grass roots, local-level initiatives to engender social change. Building a grass
roots, para or per poor approach (para poor refers to developing solutions in partnership
with local communities, per poor refers to community initiated activities) (22) ensures that
initiatives fit local conditions and problems. They can be contrasted with top-down one size
fits all initiatives that while financially cheaper my not function as well.
The media / ecology perspective advocates the recognition of local conditions and
deploying media technology in concert with local social practices. In doing so it is argued
that using new media to facilitate the revitalization of the public sphere will be a more moral-
ly justifiable and successful endeavour.
References
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setts Institute of Technology.
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Ratliff and J. Reyman (eds.) Into the Blogosphere: Rhetoric, Community and the Culture of Weblogs,
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Change Lives, Oxford: Chandos.
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Wales, Cardiff: University of Wales Press.
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18. Sclove, R. (1995). Democracy and Technology, New York: Guildford Press.
19. Hayden, C. and Ball Rokeach, S. (2007). Maintaining the digital hub: locating the community tech-
nology center in a communication infrastructure. New Media & Society, 9(2), 235-257.
20. Habermas, J. (2004). Public Space and Political Public Space the Biographical Roots of Two
Motifs in my Thoughts, Kyoto Prize Speech, Kyoto http://homepage.mac.com/gedavis/JH/Kyoto_lec-
ture_Nov_2004.pdf.
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http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmeduski/147/147.pdf
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Can Virtual Communities Change Politics?
A French and American Perspective on Participatory Political
Social Network Sites
Martin PASQUIER*
Universit Lyon 2 Lumire, France
Raphael VELT
Universit Lyon 2 Lumire, France
Abstract: Virtual communities, which became popular as an interactive space in the 1990s thanks to the
Internet, are growingly becoming a new way to achieve political goals, an example of which can be found
with Obamas successful web campaign in 2008. In France, the main candidates are all trying to take advan-
tage of this phenomenon. The 2012 presidential election has already begun on the Internet with each party
having its own virtual community set up. However, the cultural background is not the same in both states and
we can wonder whether the American E Pluribus Unum pattern of public sphere included in these virtual
communities can work in the one and indivisible French Republic, where the concept of community is
linked to the fear of communitarianism and its supposed negative effects on the unity of the nation.
After a brief review of the origin and meanings of the concept of community in the United States and in
France, we will analyse how the virtual community, originally made in America , is being set up in French
politics. This paper will try to create a new concept, participauty , a mix of participatory and com-
munity , to explain this changing pattern of the public sphere which challenges traditional political institu-
tions. This theoretical approach will be completed with a case study of political social networks in France.
Keywords: virtual community, politics, online communication, civic participation, democracy
1. From the Birth of Internet to Virtual Communities:
An American History
The Construction of Internet in the American Context: Connecting Communities
During those last years, the rapid growth of IT, especially the web 2.0 , that we can
define as a mix of discourse, technology and usages boosting user participation to the activity
of websites, has allowed the Internet to take a new turn. Weve all heard of user-generated
content , which characterize a type of website where the content can be completely produced
*
Contact: martpasquier@gmail.com.
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by the user, the most popular sites being pure empty shells where the whole content is produced
by people signing up (the most popular being Facebook, Flickr or Youtube to name a few).
If we take the history of the Internet, we can see that almost from the beginning it is con-
ceived as a participatory object, as stresses Levrel (2006) in a study on Wikipedia: As soon
as the first computer networks were set, participation and cooperation usages have played an
important role in the evolution of the available content and its circulation . We can find tes-
timonies of such a cooperative spirit with the experiments of ARPANet in the 1970s, which
connected UCLA to Stanford, then with the newsgroup Usenet (Flichy, 2001). This Ameri-
can context of birth of the Internet is important, as it could have been really different. For
instance, the birth of telegraph in the US and in France knew very different developments,
the American using it to connect people needing Financial news, France state reserving the
use of telegraph for kingly use, such as military communications (Flichy, 1997)
1990s : The Rise of Virtual Communities in America
This short prehistory of the Internet is soon followed by the development of specific web-
sites that allowed more and more people to gather and interact via the website they were log-
ging to. The typical example of which can be found in the WELL (for Whole Earth Lectronic
Link), started in 1985 as a dial-up bulletin board system (BBS) which was later described as a
virtual community by one of its most active user, Howard Rheingold. From his point of view,
the virtual community was then a social aggregate which emerge from the web when a suffi-
cient number of person talk together for a sufficient period of time, with sufficiently human
feelings, so as to create webs of interpersonal ties in the cyberspace (Rheingold, 1994)
The most recent developments of the Internet seem to confirm this trend, with the success
of UGC websites such as Wikipedia, Facebook or Youtube. Another evidence of the vitality
of those communities is a growing industry that deals with these social media, including a
new trade called community manager . As regards our subject more specifically, the rise
of those virtual communities found in French a literal translation in communauts and
communauts virtuelles . Let us take a look back on history to explain why the French
meaning of communaut is very different from the American community , and how
we can find a way to rule out this obstacle.
US Community and French Communaut ,
a History of Two Opposite Political Patterns
The concept of community has a very interesting history in France and in the US, with
different meaning. Our hypothesis is that what we see on the web and which is called com-
munaut in French is an inheritance of the American way of using this concept. Hence our
idea to propose this paper in the changing patterns conference.
E pluribus unum versus la Rpublique une et indivisible
As Christian Descamps (1991) underlines, two massive meanings are struggling. A
first one holds the community to be closing on itself. Another just states that we belong to
different groups, languages, which, alone, gives us identities that makes us able to open to
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the universality . Those two meanings are the French and American ones, as they are
opposing to each other for a few centuries now.
In France, the word communaut bears a very negative meaning due to our Universal-
ist position of a One and indivisible Republic , which refers to Jean-Jacques Rousseaus
social contract. There can be, in his sense, only one community, the national one. It is, says
Bouvet (2007), the unanimity of the social body as soon as it expresses its general political
will . The individual, entering the public space, must leave its differences. The interna-
tional community is a direct by-product of this thought as it is supposed to express the
common will of all states. Negativity arises in French as communauts is used on plural
mode. There, the communauts become a place of exclusion, where people stay together
out of the public sphere.
In the US, on the other side, the community is a key element of the pluralism of social
life (Bouvet, 2007). The waves of immigration, since the Mayflower, are all communities
(religious, racial) coming to the US to find a heaven where they can live their difference (at
least in theory). Even the political design of early America bears this conception, as the
madisonian structure implies that none of the factions that compose the political body be in
a situation to dominate the others.
The building of the two nations itself reflects this difference. The construction of France
as a nation has been a history of multiple integrations of counties, regions and people on an
equal basis, without any distinction of rights between these communities. On the contrary,
the US history began with a rupture of a religious community from the tough rule of Great-
Britain, as an opposition to such a model, then with a second opposition to people living in
the New World (Indians). The communitarian logic at work in America is hence more easily
understood in such a context.
2. Identity Community versus Chosen Community
Another gap between the French and American meanings of communaut is the free-
dom it can implies or not. Bouvet holds that both countries faced very differently what he
calls the identity turn of the 60s, when different groups of both states population began to
claim rights : blacks, gay, women in the US, youth in France. Those groups want their differ-
ence to be heard, and politics are not at ease with groups which do not use traditional politi-
cal means to voice their demands (this point being particularly interesting as regards the way
new groups of people use political virtual communities to voice demands without waiting for
parties or elections to decide of it).
In France, communaut, and, even worse, communautarisme (the fact to promote
communauts as a way of living in society), then systematically refers to identity as a pas-
sive, not chosen element (identity community). This may be race, but also religion, gender or
age. Bouvet adds, as a concluding joke on the French case, that if the concept [of communi-
tarianism] would have been in Flauberts Dictionary of Received Ideas we could have read:
Communitarianism: denounce it in any time. The main reproaches are well known: nega-
tive impact on the social fabric, and self-rejection of the communauts on them-selves.
Any reference to the word communaut is a way to denounce a balkanization of public
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space and is loaded with the fear of communitarianism , a conception of public space
where groups of people (usually community of fate ethnic, gender, etc rather than com-
munity of choice interest groups, common belief, etc) split from the common space and set
up their own rules of socialization and behavior towards the nation. This negative atmos-
phere can be seen in France with the total misunderstanding with which the present govern-
ment dealt with the Muslim scarf or with the Rom people, ousted out of France despite the
fact they are European Citizen, hence free to go and leave any European country.
On the contrary, the US managed to adapt its political frame to these social and cultural new
demands, by giving specific groups specific rights, accepting that it may enrich society as a
whole (concept of the Melting Pot), without, in theory, breaking the state in parts that would
not talk to each other, making the process of democracy impossible. The concept of communi-
ty is almost exclusively used in a positive way, as the description of the primary unit of the
American political life (community may also mean a district or even a town, which allows us
to link it with the importance of town meetings in the American local political life).
Agood way to conclude about this gap of meanings can be found in Christian Deschamps
introductory paper to a special issue of peer-reviewed journal Herms (1991), where he
assesses that: Two meanings clash, massively. In a first sense the community is enclosure,
withdrawing into itself: I am here, I eat here, I love here, and not elsewhere. But another
meaning finds that our membership to groups or languages are the only way to give us iden-
tity and thus to open to the universal.
3. Back to Present-Day Politics: Virtual Community as Participauty
Recent Elections in the US and in France: The Rise of User-Generated Content
In the field of politics, those virtual communities began to play an important role only
recently, our work would like to start this appearance of communities as structured bodies on
the stage of elections in 2004 in the US and a year later in France, at least for the first manifes-
tations of these political virtual communities structured around one main participatory website.
The 2004 US election saw the web play a more and more important role, not much as an
organized tool to campaign, but as an echo room, as we can remember Howard Dean dis-
grace after a record of him shouting went viral on video sites such as Youtube. In France, the
2005-year is interesting as a prelude to the rise of political virtual communities with the ref-
erendum for a project of Treaty for a European Constitution. Mainstream media and politics
were in favor of this project. The debate was seen as such locked by these two institutions
that the nonistes , supporting a reject of this proposal, used the web to voice then gather
against the project of Treaty. The final victory of the no in France was a real bomb as
nobody saw it come, at least in the media and mainstream politics. An interesting cartogra-
phy had though been done by a French start-up, RTGI, to show the size of the yes and
no communities on the web, which clearly shown more sites for the latter side, and bet-
ter organized. This 2005 event will be a first evidence of what I call participauty , that is
not only a community as Rheingold says, which talks, exchanges and debates on the web,
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but of a body with more specific features, notably a capacity to be a counter-weight to other
media institutions.
Another evidence is the success in France of the participatory site of Sgolne Royal,
who in the end lost the 2007 presidential election to Nicolas Sarkozy. Her website, Dsirs
dAvenirs (Desire for a Future), gathered about 48 000 messages between November 2006
and April 2007 (Desquinabo, 2008), which is primarily the most important period of the
election that took place in May and June. Other parties did well too, with right-wing winning
party UMP hitting more than 33 000 messages on the same period, and centre party UDF
more than 25 000. The case of Segolene Royals Dsirs dAvenirs is interesting as she was
not the expected party candidate for the presidential elections, but could thanks to this
community gain enough weight to be elected by the partisan as the official candidate.
Once again, we can call this community a participauty since it played its role of
counter-weight in a political context. Well see later on that this event was so important for
those taking part that still now, in the new Parti Socialiste social political network, the
Coopol, her partisans are dominating the debate. Again, Sgolnes participauty may
play an important role as the Socialist Party recently decided to open its primary elections to
the vote of the partisan (and more).
Another learning from this first wave of political participation through Internet is the shift
we can see. 4-6 years ago, the online platforms where people gathered were primarily designed
to stir the debate and make people voice their choice, opinion, so as to know, for the party,
which ordered the Platform, what was in its peoples mind. Nowadays, and since Obamas
campaign, the online presence is more designed as an organizational tool which allows party
militants to Schedule, organize and optimize their action in real life , this being non exclu-
sive with discussion groups, but the core of the sites are designed for organization and cam-
paigning. Which reinforce the idea that this is not a mere virtual community but a partici-
pauty with its own means of self-regulation, hierarchy and way to deal with the agenda.
The Creation of a New Concept: Participauty
In a nutshell, our concept of participauty would imply specific features which the sole
concept of virtual community does not talk about, such as:
a virtual space which is not linked to a single site (a virtual community is usually a way
to designate a single site, as we saw it with the case of Rheingolds WELL, but which is also
a more broader use of the concept in the discourse on the Internet today. It is not rare to see
phrases such as join the community which is near of join the website, register, then log
in and interact on the space of the website). One of our hypotheses to check later on will be
how a participauty can be seen on different websites: mainstream or specific social net-
works, twitter accounts, blogs, etc.
a form of political collective action based on the participation of users with a definite
political objective (hence the particip- root of our concept). If virtual communities are
based on user-generated content, participauties have in their status and way of providing
interactions a political objective (such as recruitment of new partisan, organization of cam-
paigning in real life, debate on the ideas of the party, and in some case a fonction of voting,
Media, Public Opinion, Political Actors 95
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as KIES, 2008 underlines in the cas of Radicali Italiani). This can be checked by looking at
the way political social networks define themselves (About pages, for instance).
Within the political context of a party, a new form of power given to partisan, but not
only, as these sites in France are open to the participation of non-registered users. Anew cat-
egory of web users has hence the ability to take part to campaigns. One of the concepts we
will develop later on will be the connective capital, roughly defined as the set of compe-
tences those new participants can put forward to gain power within the institution of the
party and amongst partisans (knowledge of web technologies and etiquette, for instance).
Another aspect of this power games will matter directly to the customer, e.g the party
which has paid for the creation of the participauty, as these new participants may gain and/or
claim part of the power that lied previously in the traditional structure of the party. For
instance, a sub-group in the participauty focused on cultural issues may be more productive
than the official party commission on the same issues (more people proposing more ideas, or
even drafts of bills to be passed).
Amedia consumer and producer who acts differently from other media actors in terms
of agenda setting. Our hypothesis is that what is being discussed by the participauty may dif-
fer slightly of what is written and read on the web (we will check this on issues as well as on
candidates), and our paper aims at giving first evidence of this phenomenon.
Other features are being thought of and found within the data generated by these partici-
pauties, such as the sources of information it uses to organize debates or discussions within
sub-groups (do these participants refer more to mainstream media, which we could see by
the number and/or rate of external links made to online media sites ? or do they prefer to put
forward their personal or professional experience ?).
The main point can be understood thanks to the concept of level of consciousness put
forward by HARVEY (1991), speaking specifically of virtual communities: The virtual
community is a level of consciousness, of interpretation, and such as, as a cultural level. It is
the community, be it a little group of people or a single individual, which provides a way to
give a meaning to information.
3. The Field: A Data-Mining Exercise on Agenda-Setting Differences
Between Several Media Layers
Data: Content Production of Several Media Layers
After having set up the bases of this new concept, lets see now how we can check it in
real life according to the geek vocabulary. The field of my dissertation and for this commu-
nication is the agenda-setting practices of various media layers, for the special occasion of
the 2012 presidential elections in France. Our objective is to check a certain number of
hypothesis regarding the participauty, especially how, when, where or why they can possibly
have a different behavior from mainstream media, for example.
The tool we are trying to create will try to compare the occurrences of the different can-
didates and of the campaign issues on several media layers with each its specific way to pro-
duce the news and people to receive it. The layers that will be compared are:
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Media, Public Opinion, Political Actors 97
The 6 political social networks of the main French political parties (main but not only
home to the participauty): La Coopol (Parti Socialiste), Les crateurs de possible (UMP),
Europe Ecologie (Europe Ecologie), Villepin Com (La rpublique solidaire), Epicentres
(Nouveau Centres), Dmocrates (MODEM). Those sites are commonly referred to as each
partys Facebook as they work on a more or less similar pattern and design.
A selection of generalist mainstream media, thanks to a connection with another
research project, IPRI
1
, whose aim is to check whether Internet is a means to achieve more
pluralism in news. This layer encloses about 400 French source of news, in which we can
find mainstream media (websites of Le Monde, Le Figaro), local press websites, pure play-
ers (Rue 89, Agoravox).
A selection of 10 000 Twitter accounts which is build so as to represent French media
landscape on this medium. We used a basis of 389 accounts
2
of politicians and journalists
gathered and certified by the social media company La Netscouade.
Other layers will be added as the project and resources are available
Methodology: Data-Mining and Data-Visualization
The method of exploitation of the field is an exercise of data mining. Each layers con-
tents can be automatically extracted through scripts so as to store and compare the data, with
differences for each of our layers:
Social political networks: a script allows us to harvest and anonymize user-generated
content, and to know for instance the numbers of groups or posts linked to a candidate or a
set of keywords which define an issue (occurrences of crime rate, police and prison
can make the post sorted as part of the Justice issue).
Mainstream media (provided by IPRI project): the RSS feeds of the 400 sources of
information gathered in the IPRI corpus allows us to get the content of these sites and to look
into this database for specific candidates or issues.
Twitter accounts: the easy access to the API allows us again to sort and anonymize the
content produced by our 10 000 users so as to check in the rapidly huge amount of tweets the
occurrences of candidates or issues (here, hashtags may be helpful to qualify an issue).
Data-visualization tools then allow us to make visible the difference of agenda-setting of
each of those layers, as can be seen below.
1
Research project IPRI Internet, pluralisme et redondance de linformation , with the support of
the Agence Nationale de la Recherche ref. ANR-09-JCJC-0125-01.
2
http://tweest.lepost.fr/.
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Figure 1
Figure 2
4. Discussion & Conclusion
The Legal Frame of Data Mining
One of the main issue which was raised by our work was the existence of a legal frame to
the gathering of data from the different media layers, as each one seems to be made impossi-
ble either by intellectual property rights (this can be the case for RSS feed extraction of
online media content) or personal data rights (this is the case for our six political social net-
works). The existing frame doesnt seem fit to the moving environment of Internet websites
and social media especially. As political social networks leave registration open to anyone,
this could be seen as a public object. On the other hand, French law is especially rude
towards the collection of political personal data, to which the content produced by the inter-
actions on these sites could be linked.
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Media, Public Opinion, Political Actors 99
Following the Participauty Across the Web
If our concept of participauty is primarily linked to the political social network websites,
we will have to take into account the fact that members of this group also have a political
activity on other websites or platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter or personal blogs. The
concept of participauty should be strengthened by this phenomenon, as it would mean that
the power effects of political participation on the Internet would not be limited to specific
political websites (such as the 6 political social network we are studying, and which are
linked to Frances main parties). The consequences of this could be that the political social
network could be a core home to the participauty, where discussion and activity takes
place between pairs (partisans), then users would spread within their personal networks the
political information received there (on Facebook, Twitter, etc).
Party Authority Undermined?
One of the most interesting consequences of the existence of participauties across the
web could be the change in the relationships between political parties and their partisans.
Traditionally, and still now in France, parties hope to maintain a tight grip on partisan activ-
ity, by framing it with people (local party chief, youth sections of the party, etc) or activities
(summer university of each party during which the main points of the party agenda are set
up and voiced to party members and partisans before the upcoming year). What if, as we said
it, the activity of web-users of political social networks overlap in a way or another the activ-
ity of the traditional structures of the party? People gaining power in such websites will for
sure not be the same as the old party elite. Other skills and abilites are in action and new
ways of being an opinion leader on social networks are appearing. The legitimacy of deci-
sion taking could change as well. A new elite is probably raising through these sites, and
clash could happen between old and new party structures.
A New Democracy, but Which One ?
On the other hand, several studies showed that previous trials of participauties had lit-
tle effect on candidates political agenda, some seeing such sites as a mere marketing appeal
to renew voters thanks to the hype around social media. Here we will be talking of different
types of democracies, such as participative, representative or deliberative democracies. The
way the Internet and social media could enhance democracy is not quite clear. The social dis-
course on the Internet is a one of optimism, that new technology could, through mass partic-
ipation of web users, give a new breath to ageing western democracies. However, we should
wait for no miracles, as the penetration of political activity online remains an activity of a
minority. Ideally, the Internet could help us fulfill the old Rousseauist dream of direct
democracy, as our representative democracies seem to show their limits. Other talk of
deliberative democracy, where Internet make participation possible, but a participation
limited to discussion, and which in no case would allow decision making being delegated or
partly given to web users.
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100 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
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http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1192/internet-politics-campaign-2008>.
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Using Voter Lists as Sampling Frames: Two Studies on Vote
Choice and Turnout
Lee B. BECKER*
University of Georgia, Athens, USA
Nicoleta CORBU
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration,
Bucharest, Romania
Qingmei QING
University of Georgia, Athens, USA
Abstract: Most concerns about sampling in survey-based research focus on the lack of accuracy and the
high costs of the sampling methods generally used. The growth of cell-phone-only households and increas-
ingly lower return rates in surveys in general have brought new challenges in recent years. This study exam-
ined some options for drawing inexpensive and valid samples that take advantage of new sources of informa-
tion, such as telephone online directories. Address-based sampling using voter lists and mail contact has
been shown in earlier research to be an effective alternative to random digit-dialing techniques. This
research analyses two Georgia surveys using address-based sampling techniques using voter registration
lists. The two studies show that voter list-based sampling is a good, inexpensive method to obtain accurate
samples at the county level. Both of the studies provided good estimates of elections outcome, not only in a
telephone survey, but also in a mail survey. Additionally, voter lists offer a great advantage in providing vot-
ing history, as well as demographic characteristics for each voter, which can be a good base for testing the
samples accuracy, and for refining the forecasting in order to obtain a more accurate outcome prediction.
Keywords: sampling technique, voter registration list, turnout, election outcome
1. Introduction
Sampling accuracy has been a key issue in studies using public opinion survey. Most con-
cerns were related to possible demographic or overreporting biases and the high costs of
commonly used sampling methods. Cell-phones only households and low return rates
brought new challenges, especially for large populations. Issues associated with small, com-
munity surveys have largely been ignored or considered less important than national ones.
Local political office holders, small media organizations, and community organizations,
however, rely on surveys based on what are often small community samples.
*
Contact: lbbecker@uga.edu.
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Random telephone number generation and random digit dialing are the most widely used
method in telephone surveys. This paper focuses on sampling from voter lists, as an inexpen-
sive alternative for both telephone and mail surveys, using the advantages of new resources,
such as online telephone directories.
One of the main problems related to sampling in public opinion surveys is overreporting
and how this can affect other variables, especially elections outcome. The findings in two
local surveys show that sampling from voter lists provides valid, reliable samples and that
overreporting vote does not affect accuracy of the predictions of elections outcome.
2. Registration-Based Sampling:
An Alternative to Random Digit Dialing Techinique
Accuracy has been one of the main concerns of researchers using survey methods. The
Mitofsky-Waksberg method of random digit dialing (RDD) is the most widely used survey
method (Brick et al, 1995). It ensures that all residential telephones have an equal chance of
selection. On the other hand, people living in institutions may have no chance to be selected
(Mitofsky et al., 2005). The disadvantages of RDD sampling method are related to the fact
that pollsters may discard or down-weight the interviews conducted with people whom they
consider as unlikely voters (Green & Gerber, 2003).
In recent years, researchers who conducted pre-election surveys have experimented with
samples drawn from voter registration lists. They are used because researchers can identify
potential voters, learn past voting history, and acquire demographic information of voters
(Mitofsky et al., 2005). These attributes can be used as a source of parameters for improving
the estimates, and in the same time they can provide a good accuracy test for the samples
drown. In addition, they can be used as stratification variables, which can improve the design
of the sample.
As recent studies mention (Green & Gerber, 2006; McDonald, 2007), relatively little has
been written about the practical details of registration-based sampling (RBS). Although rela-
tively rarely used in research and political surveys in general, voter registration list sampling
is shown to have considerable advantages as compared to the random digit dialing procedure
(Green & Gerber, 2006; McDonald, 2007): useful background information about the respon-
dents, simpler interview protocols, higher response rates (particularly in low-salience elec-
tions), reduction of the costs associated with identifying likely voters, etc. There are also
some possible drawbacks, such as incomplete coverage across and within states, lack of
phone number information and unwillingness to disclose vote intentions when the survey is
not anonymous.
Little is also known about the sample accuracy in different types of surveys using voter
registration lists. If investigated at all, differences emphasize the advantages or disadvan-
tages of different types of surveys and the possible biases related to different aspects of the
sampling procedures. Visser, Krosnick, Marquette and Curtin (1996) suggest that mail sur-
veys not only may be viable alternatives to telephone surveys but may also be more effective
under some conditions, based on their research findings, which shows a more accurate fore-
casting for mail surveys (using voter registration lists in Ohio) as compared to random digit
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dialing surveys. Green and Gerber (2003, 2006) found a more accurate prediction of
midterm election outcomes for registration-based sampling (registration list for Maryland,
Pennsylvania, New York and South Dakota) versus random digit dialing sampling. In addi-
tion, they found that RBS is more money-saving then RDD.
3. Public Opinion Surveys:
Estimating Turnout and Predicting Election Outcome
The main focus of public opinion surveys during election times has always been forecast-
ing an accurate election outcome. Additionally, turnout was important not only by itself, but
also because of the challenges it raises. Research shows that, when discussing accuracy of
public opinion surveys, overreporting vote is investigated in terms of possible influences on
predicting outcome.
Validity of survey data has been a constant concern in public opinion research. The earli-
est large-scale data set that systematically investigated validity issues is the 1949 Denver
Community Study. The data was consequently used to address specific validation issues for
several decades (Presser, 1984). Overreporting thus started to be investigated in terms of
causes and characteristic of people who declared they voted and did not.
The main causes of misreporting are memory and social desirability (Katosh & Traugott,
1981; Presser, & Traugott, 1992; Belli et al., 1999; Fullerton, Dixon & Borch, 2007), and, for
local issues, exposure to local television news (Volgy & Schwarz, 1984). Social desirability
has an important impact on estimating turnout because it influences the way people report
vote, especially for those who believe voting is a civic duty that should be filled in a healthy
democracy. Therefore, one of the key questions related to overreporting vote is who misre-
ports. In other words what are the characteristics of people who declared they voted but did
not, as compared to true voters.
Research shows that the most salient characteristic of overreporters is high education
(Silver, Anderson & Abramson, 1986; Granberg & Holmberg, 1991; Bernstein, Chadha &
Montjoy, 2001; Cassel, 2003; Karp & Brockington, 2005; Fullerton, Dixon & Borch, 2007),
which is explained by the belief that they feel a pressure to misreport because they usually
think they are the kind of people who vote or should vote. Other characteristics are related to
the degree of partisanship. The more partisan and the more religious people are more likely
to overreport (Bernstein, Chadha & Montjoy, 2001), as well as people who accept the norm
of voting and have an interest in the outcome of the election (Karp & Brockington, 2005).
Middle-aged people are less likely to tell the truth about voting, while young people would
rather acknowledge not have been voted (Granberg & Holmberg, 1991). Race has proven an
important indicator rather for misreporting registration (Fullerton, Dixon & Borch, 2007).
The study of causes and characteristics of overreporters has led to a constant search for
solutions and a further investigation of the impact of misreporting on other variables, with a
focus on forecasting the outcome of elections. Different solutions have been proposed to
decrease the overreporting bias: different wording, with options stating people have thought
about voting but did not in the end (Belli et al., 1999), secret ballot technique as a solution to
avoid misreports in exit-polls (Bishop, Fisher, 1995), post-debates polls to estimate likely-
voters (Traugott, 2005).
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Overreporting has been an important issue not only by itself, but also in relation to other
variables. A recent study (Cassel, 2003) provides some comfort to researchers by showing
that the possible influence of overreporting on other variables that serve as predictors for the
outcome is lower than previously estimated.
Many scholars have used the approach of identifying likely voters to make an accurate
forecast of election results (Anderson & Silver, 1986; Bolstein, 1991; Petrocik, 1991; Mon-
son, 1998; Siegelman, 1982; Siegelman et al., 1985; Silver, Anderson & Abramson, 1986;
Traugott & Tucker, 1984; Voss, Gelman & King, 1995). Using voter registration lists seems
to be the most effective technique to identify likely voters (Mann, 2003). The Columbus Dis-
patch poll in Ohio using mail surveys based on voter registration lists has proven to be more
accurate in forecasting outcome as compared to RDD similar polls (Visser et al., 1996).
Two main possible bias sources in forecasting election outcome are nonresponse and
undecided respondents before elections. Nonresponse may affect the representativeness of
the sample (Mann, 2005), because research provides evidence that respondents and nonre-
spondents may have different interests and preferences in politics (Groves & Couper, 1998;
Taylor, 1997; Voogt & Van Kempen, 2002). Allocating undecided respondents has proven a
better method than just treating them as missing cases, and therefore researchers have devel-
oped methods to deal with this issue (Mann, 2003). Possible solutions are allocating respon-
dents who report leaning towards a candidate to improve the accuracy of pre-election fore-
casts (Visser et al., 2000), using party identification reported by respondents or candidate
assessments or issue items from the same survey (Crespi, 1988), allocating evenly between
the candidates (Mann, 2003), assuming that undecided respondents reflect a portion of the
electorate that will cast their ballots randomly (Visser et al, 2000). Traugott and Tucker
(1984) propose a relatively complicated technique to allocate undecided respondents. They
claim that undecided respondents should be divided by partisan affiliation then allocated
based on the vote intentions of equivalent partisans who expressed a vote intention.
Other methods to increase forecasting accuracy are based on research on the length of
time between the poll and the election showing that the closer to the election, the more accu-
rate the poll (Crespi, 1988), the number of days the poll is in the field (Lau, 1994), and
screening likely voters (DeSart & Holbrook, 2003).
4. Research Questions and Hypotheses
This research is based on two public opinion surveys using sampling procedures based on
voter registration lists. One is a telephone survey conducted before the presidential elections
in November 2008, the other is a mail survey conducted immediately after a local tax initia-
tive election in March 2009.
The focus of these research studies concerns two main problems. The first is related to
voter registration lists as a reliable sampling technique in both telephone and mail surveys,
and the second to the accuracy of election turnout and outcome.
Although using online telephone directories in addition to voter lists to create the sample
for the telephone surveys eliminate some voters for whom telephone numbers cannot be
found, we argue that address-based sampling from voter registration lists will provide accu-
rate samples in both telephone and mail surveys, in terms of demographic characteristics of
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the voters, and therefore the representativeness of the samples would not be affected. How-
ever we expect some bias in terms of an increased activism of people who respond in public
opinion surveys, regardless of the type of survey.
The research questions and hypotheses associated with these issues are
RQ1: Does address-based sampling using voter registration lists associated with online
telephone directories provide a sample accurately representing population parameters in a
telephone survey?
RQ2: Does address-based sampling using voter registration lists provide a sample accu-
rately representing population parameters in a mail survey?
RQ3: What kind of biases appear as a result of not being able to interview all the persons
whose telephone numbers were found (nonparticipation biases)?
RQ4: What kind of biases result from nonparticipation in a mail survey?
H1: People who take a telephone public opinion survey are more active in terms of vot-
ing behavior than the general population.
H2: People who take a mail public opinion survey are more active in terms of voting
behavior than the general population.
The issue of accuracy of turnout and election outcome is partially influenced by peoples
activism. In addition, literature shows that people tend to overreport voting in favor of a
more socially desirable response. We predict similar behaviors in both telephone and mail
surveys. Therefore we expect some bias in estimating election turnout, but we argue that
election forecasting is not influenced by it.
H3: People overreport voting when taking a telephone public opinion surveys.
H4: People overreport voting when taking a mail public opinion surveys.
H5: Forecasting election outcome in a telephone public opinion survey is not influenced
by self-reporting voting behavior.
H6: Forecasting election outcome in a mail public opinion survey is not influenced by
self-reporting voting behavior.
5. Design Study 1
The first study focused on the presidential elections of 2008 in Oconee County, Georgia.
The voter registration list was obtained on September 8, 2008, from the Secretary of State
Office and contained records through that date. The list included 21,352 names. Registration
closed on Oct. 6. On election day, November 4, 2008, the Board of Election in Oconee
County reported 21,579 registered persons. The number of people who voted on November
4 but who were not registered on September 8 was 1,143.
A simple random sample of 840 people was drawn via SPSS from the list on October 1,
2008. The numbers were randomly ordered and divided into groups of 30 for assignment to
21 interviewers, who were graduate students in a research methods class in the Grady Col-
lege of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. The first two
authors were enrolled in the class. The students were instructed to work them from top to
bottom until they finished 10 completed interviews each.
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The interviewers first looked for telephone numbers available for the assigned names,
using the names and addresses as search criteria, using www.whitepages.com, www.switch-
board.com, www.yellowbook.com, www.dexknows.com, and simple www.google.com
searches on the Internet.
The interviewers were given new blocks of numbers as needed as they worked through
the interview process and attempted to complete interviews with the assigned voters. In the
end, from the 800 names and addresses, the student interviewers were able to locate 553 tele-
phone numbers in the online directories. For 192 names, it was impossible to find correspon-
ding telephone numbers using the Internet resources. For 55 names, there was no attempt to
find telephone numbers. In these cases, the numbers had been assigned but never used.
A total of 200 surveys were completed by telephone from October 15 to November 3.
The interviewers were allowed to use alternative modes of gathering data, such as mailing
questionnaires or in-person interviews, but few did so. In the end, only an additional 14
interviews were completed through non-telephone methods. For the purpose of this paper,
only the 200 interviews completed by telephone will be considered. Out of the 553 sampled
registered voters for whom telephones numbers were available, 200 were interviews com-
pleted by telephone, another 14 by other methods, 32 were continuously answered by
answering machines. Four numbers were always busy, and in 43 cases the person to be inter-
viewed was never at home. In 69 cases, nobody ever answered the telephone. An additional
50 numbers were out of service. One person did not speak English and could not be inter-
viewed. In one case, the interviewer made an illegal substitution, interviewing the wife of the
selected registered voter. In 32 cases, the person to be interviewed no longer lived in Oconee
County and was not interviewed. A total of 107 persons refused to complete the survey and
could not be converted by subsequent calls.
These data are summarized in Table 1, with the resultant AAPOR calculations of return
rate shown. Return Rate 1 was 38.0%.
The voter registration lists obtained from the Secretary of State contain a number of char-
acteristics of the voters that can be used to compare the samples drawn with the population.
In addition, the Secretary of State produces a voter history file that contains a record of voter
turnout for each voter for each election during a given year. This voter history file is avail-
able online for download and contains a voter identification number that also was part of the
voter list purchased from the Secretary of State. This voter history file was downloaded and
merged with the purchased list.
6. Measures Study 1
Characteristics from the voter registration and voting history files were examined and
selected for analysis. Some overlap in these characteristics existed. All unique factors were
selected. The first characteristic used was voter status. If a voter has not voted in two years
and has not responded to a mailed challenge, the voter is labeled as inactive. If the voter does
not go to the polls in two even-year elections, the voter is purged. The lists contain a full
voter address, including Zip Code. Zip Code was recoded into a binary variable, reflecting
delivery by the post office in the county seat of Watkinsville or by some other post office.
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Oconee County divides voters into 13 precincts. Precinct was recoded into a binary variable
dividing the county into the southern, agricultural part of the county and the northern, more
developed part of the county. The county has four small, incorporated cities, including the
county seat of Watkinsville. These were collapsed to create a variable for incorporated vs.
unincorporated areas of the county.
The election file also includes race and gender. Since 92 percent of the Oconee County
voters classify themselves as white, race was also reduced to a binary variable of white and
non-white.
Another characteristic was registration year, reduced to a binary distinction between
those who registered before and after 2000. The original voting record contained a recording
of the year of last voting, prior to the November 2008 election. The year people last voted
was reduced to a binary variable, distinguishing between first time voters (at the address)
versus those who had voted at the address before.
The voting history file downloaded for all of 2008 contained a record of voting or not
voting for five elections. The first was the February 5, 2009, presidential primary, in which
eight Democrats , including frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and nine
Republicans, including frontrunners Mike Huckabee, John McCain and Mitt Romney,
appeared on the ballot. (Obama and Huckabee won their respective races.) The second was
the July 15 primary for local and statewide offices. The third was the August 5 runoff elec-
tion for the local and statewide offices. The fourth was the November general election.
(McCain carried Georgia.) The fifth was a runoff election for a U.S. Senate seat. In addition,
the record indicated whether the voter used an absentee ballot or provisional ballot, which
included ballots casts as part of the early voting procedures allowed in the state. Georgia
does not register voters by party and has open primaries, meaning that a voter decides on
election day which ballot she or he wishes to cast. The record indicted whether the voter had
asked for a Democratic or a Republican ballot in the February, July and August primaries.
Finally, the official vote record showed John McCain received 12,113 votes (70.8%) in
Oconee County in November of 2008, Barack Obama received 4,824 votes (28.2%), and
Libertarian Bob Barr received 177 votes (1.0%). The telephone survey contained a measure
of vote intent (or actual vote, if the voter has already cast a ballot). The question measuring
the likelihood to vote in the questionnaire on a 10-item Likert scale was recoded into a bina-
ry variable. People who chose the definitely will vote (or 10 on the scale) option or had
already voted at the time of the interview were considered as likely to vote, all the others as
not likely to vote.
The sampling procedures described above resulted in the creation of five samples that
can be compared with the population on these characteristics. These samples are summa-
rized below.
Sample 1: Sample Drawn (N=800). This is the random sample of voters assigned to inter-
viewers.
Sample 2: Sample of Eligible Respondents (N= 703). This is the sample of voters actual-
ly used by interviewers. Excluded were numbers assigned but never used because the inter-
viewer did not need them as well as those who were not registered at the address. In the lat-
ter case, this exclusion was confirmed by the interviewer who either reached the voter at a
new address or reached someone else at the address. If the number was inoperative, was
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always busy, or only was answered by an answering machine and the interviewer could not
confirm that the voter had moved, the individual remained in this sample.
Sample 3: Telephone Sample (N= 532). This is the sample for which telephone numbers
could be located.
Sample 4: Sample Interviewed (N= 200). This is the sample of registered voters actually
interviewed by telephone.
Sample 5: Telephone Sample Plus Confirmed Improperly Registered (N= 242). This is
the sample of voters interviewed plus voters found to have moved and therefore to be ineli-
gible to vote.
Sample 1 shows if any biases appeared in the originally, randomly selected sample.
These biases would have to result from the error of sampling alone. Acomparison of Sample
1 with the population would indicate if there were any error resulting from random sampling.
Sample 2 differs from Sample 1 in two ways. The first is by eliminating randomly subjects
not assigned to the interviewers. The second group eliminated were those who were improp-
erly registered and this was confirmed by the interviewers. A comparison of Sample 2 with
the population would indicate if any bias resulted from elimination of these two groups.
Sample 3 is the sample of voters for which telephone numbers could be found. Acomparison
of this sample with the population will indicate the biases that can appear because of the
design of the study itself, in other words, from using telephone directories to identify land-
line phone numbers. Sample 4 is the sample of registered voters actually interviewed. A
comparison of it with the population will show the biases of nonparticipation. Sample 5
includes those who were interviewed as well as those who could have been interviewed but
were not because they were improperly registered. A comparison of this sample with the
population provides a second test of the biases of using a telephone sample based on num-
bers found in online directories.
7. Design Study 2
The second study was completed during the period following a vote for what is in Geor-
gia is called a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax. This is a one cent on the dollar tax for
designated capital projects that requires periodic approval by the voters. Such an election
was held on March 17, 2009, in Oconee County.
For this study, a simple random sample of 500 was drawn via SPSS from a voter registra-
tion list obtained on February 3, 2009. At that time, 22,090 people were registered to vote.
The registration closed on February 17, when a total of 22,113 people were officially regis-
tered to vote for the March 17 election. There were 1,457 voters who actually voted on
March 17, according to the official returns. The voter history contained records for 1,438
voters, meaning by the time it was uploaded 19 persons who voted had been purged from the
list, presumably because they moved by the time those records were created at the Secretary
of State Office in May of 2009. Of the 1,438 voters, 83 had not been registered when the
voter list was purchased on February 3, 2009.
Five hundred questionnaires were mailed on March 16, and a second mailing followed on
April 3. Eighty-one valid completed questionnaires were returned after the first mailing, and
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another 43 after the second mailing and before the closing data of April 24. Another valid
completed questionnaire was returned after that date but was not included among the com-
pleted questionnaires. An addition four questionnaires came back after the first mailing, but
the persons who completed them removed their names from the instrument, making it
impossible to identify them. The total completed returns thus was 128. One survey was
returned blank after the second mailing. Thirty-nine letters were returned to sender by the
postal services because the address was no longer valid.
These data are summarized in Table 2, with the resultant AAPOR calculations of return
rate shown. Return Rate 1 was 26.6%.
Although there was no intent to conduct a telephone survey, the first two authors of this
report looked for telephone numbers, using the same strategies as in the first study. Atotal of
321 numbers were found out of the sample of 500. For 26 names there were no telephone
numbers at all in the online databases used. Another 38 were identified as unlisted, and for
115 names, the address did not match the name in the online records.
One hundred and twenty-nine voters returned questionnaires. In one case, the form was
not filled out. Atelephone number had been found for this respondent. Four additional ques-
tionnaires were returned with the voter identification number removed. Three of these were
partials; all four have been treated as unusable. Of the 124 returned questionnaires that could
be identified, 92 were among the cases for which telephone numbers were found. Four of
them were cases without any address or telephone number, eight were unlisted numbers, and
20 were identified as wrong addresses in the telephone numbers search.
Thirty-nine came back returned by the U.S. Postal Service. For eight of these, a telephone
number had been found. In seven cases, no telephone number had been found. One of the 39
was unlisted, and in 23 cases the address did not match with the voter on the voter list.
A total of 336 questionnaires were never returned. In 220 cases a telephone number had
been found. In 15 cases no telephone number had been found. In 29 cases the number was
unlisted, and in 72 cases the address found did not match with the voter list. For a summary
of the cases, see Table 5.
The voter registration lists obtained from the Secretary of State contained the same infor-
mation as was included in the voter registration list obtained for the November 2008 study.
Those records were updated, of course, to reflect voting behavior and registration since that
time. The Secretary of State voter history file for 2008 was downloaded and merged with the
purchased list. In addition, the voter history file for the March 17, 2009, election was down-
loaded and merged with the voter registration file.
8. Measures Study 2
The same variables were taken from the voter registration lists as in the first study. Anew
variable for vote in the March 17, 2009, SPLOST election as well as use of absentee or a pro-
visional ballot for that election also was added to the file.
The official vote record showed 1,037 persons voted in favor of the SPLOST and 420
voted against it. The mail survey contained a measure of vote intent (or actual vote, if the
voter had already cast a ballot).
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The sampling procedures described above resulted in the creation of five samples that
can be compared with the population on these characteristics. These samples are summa-
rized below.
Sample 1: Sample Drawn (N=500). This is the random sample of voters assigned to inter-
viewers.
Sample 2: of Eligible Respondents (N= 461). These are registered voters minus those
confirmed as ineligible when the questionnaire was returned by the U.S. Postal Service.
Sample 3: Telephone Sample (N=313). This is the sample for which telephone numbers
could be located. The eight cases for which the mailing came back undelivered were elimi-
nated.
Sample 4: Interviewed Sample (N= 124). This is the sample of registered voters who
returned a completed, usable questionnaire and had not eliminated the voter registration
number.
Sample 5: Interviewed Sample Plus Confirmed Improperly Registered (N= 163). This is
the sample of voters who returned a questionnaire plus voters found to have moved and
become ineligible to vote.
As in Study 1, Sample 1 was compared to the population to make sure the simple random
sample fell into the 95% of confidence level. Sample 2 was created to see if any biases
appeared if only eligible persons were considered from Sample 1. This sample actually elim-
inated improperly register people. Although they were never used, telephone numbers were
looked for, in order to verify the biases that might appear in a telephone survey using online
directories to identify land lines numbers, because of the address-based sampling design
itself. This was Sample 3.The purpose of Sample 4 is see if biases resulted from participa-
tion. Just as in the first study, Sample 5 is used to show if improperly registered people in
Sample 1 (and in the population) play a part in any biases of Sample 4.
9. Findings Study 1
In order to have a complete view of the possible biases, each variable in the comparison
tables will be discussed. The voter status shows little variation across the samples, with a
slightly increased value for the telephone sample, and a more significant variation for the
interviewed sample. Even if the percentage still falls into the confidence interval, the varia-
tion is explicable by the fact that people who agree to being interviewed are generally more
interested in the elections and are more likely to vote, therefore they are more likely to be
active voters.
There are insignificant variations for the zip code. The distributions for precinct and the
municipal names vary starting with the sample drawn, but no variation is greater than 2.8%,
and they all fall into the confidence interval.
The variation of the race is rather insignificant. However, it should be point out that the
improperly registered people added to the sample of completed interviews seem to be the
explanation for the 2% variation in the final interviewed sample, if one compares the sample
of interviewed people and the sample obtained by adding the improperly registered people.
The gender has a variation of 4.6% for the interviewed sample. A reasonable explanation is
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that women are generally more likely to agree to the telephone interviews. Still, the percent-
age falls into the confidence interval and all the other variations for the rest of the samples
are insignificant.
The registration year is slightly leaning toward more people registered before 2000, for
the telephone sample. This was to be expected as well, since people registered more than
eight years ago are among the most stable in terms of changing addresses> Therefore, there
are better chances that their landline telephone numbers are registered in the public data
bases. The sample obtained by adding the improperly registered to the interviewed sample
has a small variation leaning toward the recently registered voters, which indicates the fact
that improper data in the registration list is to be found probably to a greater extent among
recently registered people.
The variations for the variable measuring the distribution of new voters or people who
never voted since their registration are to be found within the telephone sample, and the sam-
ple interviewed, although all the percentages fall within the confidence interval. This shows
that people whose telephone numbers are listed in online directories and people who would
agree to take surveys are generally slightly more active. Again, adding the improperly regis-
tered people to the interviewed sample reduces the variation.
The greatest variation among the samples, as compared to the population are related to
the variables measuring whether or not people voted in the five 2008 elections. The greatest
differences are in the interviewed sample. In four cases out of the five, the bias follows a
trend toward an increased activism among people for whom telephone numbers were found,
and was more prominent for the people who took the survey and were more likely to have
voted during the year. Again, the sample containing the improperly registered people reduces
somewhat the bias and it is a good indicator of one of the possible causes of the bias, the
improper data in the whole population, which will never be found in the interviewed sample.
The three variables measuring the percentages of people who chose to vote in the Repub-
lican ballot on February, July, and August elections show an increasing trend toward a
Republican choice in the samples, although the differences are smaller than the cases of the
variables measuring the vote itself; most of them also fall into the confidence interval. The
sample containing the improperly registered people slightly reduces the differences for this
variable too.
The voter absentee measure has insignificant variations, except for the absentee in the
November elections, for the interviewed sample and the interviewed and confirmed improp-
erly registered sample. The differences show that people who voted earlier are more likely to
take a telephone survey, which is consistent with the slightly more active people in the inter-
viewed sample overall.
The outcome of the elections, as a means to verify the accuracy of the final sample of
interviewed people needs further explanations. Out of the 200 people, 178 actually
expressed their vote preference for the elections, 2 declared they would not vote, 13 were
undecided at the time of the survey, and 6 refused to reveal their options, and one just
skipped this particular question when completing the survey. Out of the 178, 64.6% declared
they would vote McCain, 33.7% declared for Obama, and 1.7% said other (Bob Barr). In
fact, after the elections, the records show that 164 of them actually voted. Of theses, 67.3%
declared they would vote McCain, 31.5% Obama, and 1.2% Bob Barr.
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The real outcome for Oconee County was 71.1% voted McCain, 27,7% Obama, and
1.2% Barr. The sample error calculated for the 178 persons sample is 7.4%, and the result
falls into the confidence interval. However, as Murray, Riley and Scime (2009) suggested, in
forecasting presidential elections outcome, the probability of voting increases with intent to
vote and previous presidential vote. Therefore, before the elections and without knowing
who will actually vote, a more reliable measurement of forecasting the vote outcome should
have been obtained measuring the percentages within the group of people who voted in the
previous presidential elections and declared they were likely to vote on November 4. There
were 106 people who definitely intended to vote or had already voted in 2008 and also voted
in 2004 presidential elections. Based on this sample, the forecasting of the outcome is:
69.8% declared they would vote McCain, 28.3% Obama, and 1.9% Barr, a very accurate pre-
diction for the sample size.
As far as the turnout of the presidential elections is concerned, 87.5% declared they
would definitely vote or had already voted by absentee, even though not all of them declared
how they would vote. Another 9.5% estimated more chances for voting than for not voting
(chances of 6 to 9 on a 1 to 10 scale), although they were not sure about it. The real turnout
for the interviewed sample is 91.5%. Most of the people (19 of 23) who were not sure about
voting finally did vote, even people who estimated low chances (2 to 5 on a scale of 1 to 10).
However, some of the people who declared they would definitely vote or had already voted
did not actually vote. The real turnout for Oconee County was 80.2%. The comparisons indi-
cate an increased activism among interviewed people, as compared with the population, and
a slight tendency to overreport vote.
Overall, the small biases due to the mode of interview seem to follow the rule of an
increased activism among people who usually complete opinion polls, and, to a significantly
smaller extent, among people listed with workable telephone numbers in the online directo-
ries. All the variables for which the percentages do not fall into the confidence interval are
related to previous elections. For all these cases the improperly registered people seem to
play a part in the biases observed. The comparison between the population, the sample
drawn, the sample of eligible respondents and the telephone sample indicates accurate sam-
ples in general, which shows no biases due to the mode of interview itself. The people left
out of the sample, for lack of telephone numbers, are evenly distributed and do not cause sig-
nificant biases in the final sample.
Vote behavior also indicates a good sample. Self-reported behavior shows that overre-
porting vote influences turnout estimations, which are already influenced by the increased
activism of the interviewed sample. However, outcome seems to be very accurately predict-
ed, especially following the rule of refining predictions based on vote behavior in previous
presidential elections and vote intention.
10. Findings for Study 2
The samples for the second study were built as to be replicas of the samples in the first
study; the only difference is that interviewed sample is no longer a sub-sample of the tele-
phone sample. The differences between the samples will be discussed for each variable.
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The voters status shows small differences for the telephone sample and the interviewed
sample, within the confidence interval. The value of the variable in the sample of inter-
viewed and improperly registered people shows that it is probable that a good share of the
inactive people is to be found among the improperly registered people in the population, and
therefore it would have been impossible to interview most of them.
There is a small difference, within the confidence interval, for the zip code and the
precinct distribution in the interviewed sample. Percentages in all the other samples are very
close to the distribution in the population. No significant differences were found for the
municipal name.
People interviewed, as well as people improperly registered are white in a greater propor-
tion than people in the population. Both differences still fall into the confidence interval.
Gender is evenly distributed in all the samples, with a slightly greater proportion of males
among the people for whom telephone numbers were found. It is possible that males in the
household would rather list their telephone numbers in the online directories, although in
most cases both husband and wife were found in the directories used.
The registration year shows expected small biases for the telephone sample, the inter-
viewed sample, and the interviewed and improperly registered sample. For the first two sam-
ples, it was most likely for people who have been living in Oconee County for a longer peri-
od of time to have their names listed in the online telephone directories, as well as to be more
interested in the SPLOST local issue than for people who had recently moved in the county.
Therefore, it was expected that both samples would have a variation for this particular vari-
able. The variation for the interviewed and improperly registered sample suggests that the
difference between the interviewed sample and the population is even smaller than what the
actual numbers show.
The same increased activism can be observed in the variable measuring the distribution
of people newly registered to vote or who had never voted since registration, in both tele-
phone sample and interviewed sample. However, the percentages fall into the confidence
interval, and the sample of interviewed and improperly registered people reduces the varia-
tion, thus offering a new explanation for the differences observed.
All the variables measuring whether or not people voted in the 2008 (February, July,
August, November, December) and 2009 (March) elections show more active people in the
telephone sample and the interviewed sample. An interesting finding (also observed, to a
smaller extent, in the first study) is that people listed in the telephone directories are more
likely to be active voters than the population in general. Interviewed people are even more
interested in voting issues in general and therefore more likely to vote in both local and
national elections. For all the six elections, the sample of interviewed and improperly regis-
tered voters considerably reduces the biases, showing that another explanation for the differ-
ences between the interviewed sample and the population is the fact that voters list contains
a good share of improperly registered persons in general.
The percent of people using a Republican ballot in the three primary elections (February,
July, and August) suggest a slightly more Republican preference for all the samples, with the
exception of the Presidential Primary Election for the interviewed sample. However, all the
percentages fall into the confidence interval.
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The comparison for the Absentee variables shows significant and consistent variation
only for the interviewed sample, which suggests again that people who are more likely to
respond to questionnaires are more active in general, particularly more likely to vote earlier.
The interviewed and confirmed improperly registered sample offers again a secondary
explanation. In all six cases the percentages in this sample significantly reduce the difference
in the interviewed sample, if compared with the population.
As far as the vote itself in the SPLOST election is concerned, the results raise interesting
issues. If one tries a forecast of the outcome based on what people declared in the question-
naires, there are 32 people who declared they voted (26.2% of the 122 interviewed people
how answered that particular question). The real outcome of the SPLOST election was 6.6%.
Twenty-nine of them also indicated how they voted, 69.0% for and 31.0%. The real outcome
of the election was 71.2% for and 28.8% against the tax, which would indicate a very accu-
rate prediction for such a small number of respondents. However, voters registration list
shows that only half of the respondents who reported they voted actually did so. Fourteen of
the 29 respondents voted, 9 for (64.3%) and 5 against (35.7%) the SPLOST tax. Even though
only half of the people who declared they voted actually did, results show that had the other
half actually voted, they would have voted in a very similar way with those who actually par-
ticipated in the election.
Overall, the comparisons for the second study show a replication of what was observed in
the first one. All significant but small biases are related to the degree of activism of people
who are listed in the online telephone directories on the one hand, and of people who are
more likely to take a public opinion survey on the other hand. All the demographics show
very accurate samples, for all five samples built for this study. Just as in the first study, the
interviewed and improperly registered sample suggests that the biases are even smaller than
the numbers show, because the percentages for this particular sample always seem to reduce
the observed differences in the interviewed sample.
The findings also show that even though predictions for turnout are influenced by a
slightly increased activism of people responding to the survey and even more by the overre-
ported vote behavior, outcome can be accurately forecast, regardless of the real vote behav-
ior of interviewed people.
11. Discussion
The purpose of the two studies presented in the paper was to propose a very reliable and
inexpensive sampling procedure for local public opinion surveys. Both modes of interview,
telephone and mail surveys based on voter registration lists, provided accurate interviewed
samples in general and needed very limited resources. RQ1 and RQ2 were thus answered,
the results showing that address-based sampling using both telephone numbers found in
online directories and mailings provide accurate samples and represent a very good alterna-
tive to RDD techniques.
In both cases, the variables measuring demographics showed little variation across the
samples analyzed. Although mail survey should have the advantage of covering people with-
out landline telephones, and thus providing a more accurate sample, results show that tele-
phone samples in both studies are accurate samples, with small variations, if compared to the
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population. This provides a new, free and accurate sampling methods using online resources
for telephone surveys.
The small biases related to nonparticipation observed in both studies are all related to
previous voting behavior. Telephone samples indicate that slightly more active people in
general are to be found in the online telephone directories. Nevertheless, people without
landlines telephone numbers publicly listed have roughly the same demographic characteris-
tics with people for whom telephone numbers could be located in the online data bases.
Interviewed samples are generally accurate samples (if compared with the random sam-
ple drown initially), with rather insignificant variations for the demographics, and small
biases observed in the variables related to previous voting behavior, all showing an increased
activism in general for people who agree to take the surveys, regardless of the mode of the
interview. Nonparticipation biases are related to activism as well in both modes of interview,
and with gender only for the telephone surveys, women being more likely to take telephone
surveys than men. At the same time, hypotheses H1 and H2 were confirmed. Nevertheless it
should be stated that the biases observed are rather small. The samples of eligible respon-
dents are generally very accurate samples, just slightly leaning toward more active people. In
the same time, the samples of interviewed and confirmed improperly registered people con-
siderably reduce activism biases observed in the interviewed samples. Both observations
argue for another possible explanation of the differences observed in the variables measuring
voting behavior: improperly registered people in the voter registration lists.
Interviewed samples in both studies tend to overreport vote. Correlated with the slightly
increased activism of people in these samples, estimations for turnout lean toward overre-
porting vote. Hypotheses H3 and H4 were supported. We emphasize that survey mode does
not affect in any way overreporting, and thus socially desirable behavior influences self-
reported vote behavior both in a direct (telephone) and indirect (mail) communication. How-
ever, outcome forecast had proven a very accurate prediction in both cases, regardless of
self-reported vote behavior. Hypotheses H5 and H6 were supported. Address-based sam-
pling is a reliable technique for public opinion survey, offering good forecasting of elections
outcome. Voter registration lists offer information that provides tools for a more refined and
accurate prediction.
12. Conclusions
Probably the most important result of this research is related to the new sampling tech-
nique using address in voters list and online telephone directories to obtain good samples for
both telephone and mail surveys. This technique links voter lists with telephone numbers,
thus providing a viable alternative to RDD in public opinion surveys.
Telephone numbers were found for about two-thirds of the people in the lists. However,
the biases related to this mode of interview are only related to the activism of people for
whom telephone numbers could be found. Of them, even more active people actually take
surveys (for both telephone and mail surveys), and women are more likely to respond in a
telephone survey than men.
Another important finding is related to turnout. People tend to overreport vote in public
opinion surveys. Biases in estimating turnout are due not only to the increased activism of
Media, Public Opinion, Political Actors 115
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people taking surveys (that was observed in both studies), but also to a general tendency to
declare voting even when this is not true, probably because of the socially desirable dimen-
sion of voting itself. However, both studies showed that overreporting vote does not influ-
ence predictions of election outcome.
Overall, sampling within the population provided by voter registration lists has proven a
reliable and inexpensive alternative to random digit dialling for local public opinion surveys.
It also offers important information regarding people interviewed in the surveys, thus being
a rich resource for alternative investigations related to the profile of people who vote in gen-
eral, or for people who respond to public opinion surveys.
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Table 1. AAPOR return rates for study 1.
118 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
Final Disposition Codes for RDD Telephone Surveys (Adapted for ABS)
1. Interview (1.0) 200
Complete (1.1) 199
Partial (1.2) 1
2. Eligible, Non-Interview (2.0) 198
Refusal and break-off (2.10) 107
Refusal (2.11)
Household-level refusal (2.111)
Known respondent refusal (2.112)
Break-off (2.12)
Non-contact (2.20) 75
Respondent never available (2.21) 43
Telephone answering device 32
(message confirms residential household) (2.22)
Message left (2.221)
No message left (2.222)
Other (2.30) 16
Dead (2.31)
Physically or mentally unable/incompetent (2.32)
Language (2.33) 1
Household-level language problem (2.331)
Respondent language problem (2.332)
No interviewer available for needed language (2.333)
Inadequate audio quality (2.34)
Location/Activity not allowing interview (2.35)
Miscellaneous (2.36) / Completed by other method + Illegal substitution 15
3. Unknown Eligibility, Non-Interview (3.0) 128
Unknown if housing unit (3.10) 128
Not attempted or worked (3.11) 55
Always busy (3.12) 4
No answer (3.13) 69
Telephone answering device (dont know if housing unit) (3.14)
Telecommunication technological barriers, e.g., call-blocking (3.15)
Technical phone problems (3.16)
Ambiguous operators message (3.161)
Housing unit, Unknown if eligible respondent (3.20)
No screener completed (3.21)
Unknown if person is household resident (3.30)
Other (3.90)
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Media, Public Opinion, Political Actors 119
4. Not Eligible (4.0) 274
Out of sample (4.10) / Not at the address anymore 32
Fax/data line (4.20)
Non-working/disconnected number (4.30) 232
Non-working number (4.31) Number not found 182
Disconnected number (4.32)
Temporarily out of service (4.33) 50
Special technological circumstances (4.40) 10
Number changed (4.41) / Wrong address 10
Call forwarding (4.43)
Residence to residence (4.431)
Nonresidence to residence (4.432)
Pagers (4.44)
Cell phone (4.45)
Landline phone (4.46)
Nonresidence (4.50)
Business, government office, other organization (4.51)
Institution (4.52)
Group quarters (4.53)
Person not household resident (4.54)
No eligible respondent (4.70)
Quota filled (4.80)
e=never tried/total 32,0%
RR1 38,0%
RR2 38,0%
RR3 45,6%
RR4 45,6%
RR5 50,0%
RR6 50,3%
COOP1 61,6%
COOP2 61,9%
COOP3 64,8%
COOP4 65,1%
REF1 20,3%
REF2 24,4%
REF3 26,9%
CON1 61,4%
CON2 73,6%
CON3 81,2%
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120 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
T
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Table 3. AAPOR return rates for study 2.
Media, Public Opinion, Political Actors 121
Final Disposition Codes for Mail Surveys of Specifically Named Persons
1. Returned questionnaire (1.0) 124
Complete (1.1) 124
Partial (1.2)
2. Eligible, Non-Interview (2.0) 2
Refusal & Break-off (2.10) 1
Refusal (2.11)
Other person refusal (2.111)
Known respondent-level refusal (2.112)
Blank questionnaire mailed back, implicit refusal (2.113)
Break-off questionnaire too incomplete to process (2.12) 1
Non-Contact (2.20) 1
Other notification that respondent was unavailable during field period (2.26)
Completed questionnaire, but not returned during field period (2.27) 1
Other (2.30) 0
Death (including USPS category: deceased) (2.31)
Physically or mentally unable/incompetent (2.32)
Language (2.33)
Respondent language problem (2.332)
Wrong language questionnaire sent for needed language (2.333)
Literacy problems (2.34)
Miscellaneous (2.36)
3. Unknown eligibility, non-interview (3.0) 370
Nothing known about respondent or address (3.10) 331
Not mailed (3.11)
Nothing ever returned (3.19) 331
Unknown if eligible respondent in unit (3.20) 9
No screener completed (3.21)
USPS category: refused by addressee (3.23)
Refused to accept (3.231)
Refused to pay postage (3.232)
USPS category: returned to sender due to various USPS violations by addressee (3.24)
USPS category: cannot be delivered (3.25) 7
USPS Category: Illegible Address (3.251)
USPS Category: Insufficient Address on Mail from One Post Office to Another Post Office (3.252)
USPS Category: No Mail Receptacle (3.253) 2
USPS Category: Delivery Suspended to Commercial Mailing Agency (3.254)
Unknown Whereabouts, Mailing Returned Undelivered (3.30) 30
Cannot Be Delivered as Addressed (3.31) 23
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122 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
USPS Category: Attempted Addressee Not Known (3.311)
USPS Category: Postal Box Closed (3.312)
No Such Address (3.313)
USPS Category: No Such Number (3.3131) 1
USPS Category: No Such Office in State (3.3132)
USPS Category: No Such Street (3.3133) 1
USPS Category: Vacant (3.3134)
Not Delivered as Addressed (3.314)
USPS Category: Unable to Forward (3.3141) 3
USPS Category: Outside Delivery Limits (3.3142)
USPS Category: Returned for Better Address (3.3143)
USPS Category: Moved, Left No Address (3.32) 2
USPS Category: Returned for Postage (3.33)
USPS Category: Temporarily Away, Holding Period Expired, Unclaimed (3.34)
USPS Category: Unclaimed Failure to Call for Held Mail (3.35)
USPS Category: No One Signed (3.36)
Returned with Forwarding Information (3.40) 0
Returned Unopened address correction provided (3.41)
Returned Opened address correction provided (3.42)
Other (3.9)
4. Not Eligible, Returned (4.0) 4
Selected Respondent Screened Out of Sample (4.10) 4
No eligible respondent (4.70)
Quota Filled (4.80)
Duplicate Listing (4.90)
e= 89,5%
RR1 26,6%
RR2 26,6%
RR3 28,8%
RR4 28,8%
RR5 98,4%
RR6 98,4%
COOP1 99,2%
COOP2 99,2%
COOP3 99,2%
COOP4 99,2%
REF1 0,2%
REF2 0,2%
REF3 0,8%
CON1 26,8%
CON2 29,1%
CON3 99,2%
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 122
Media, Public Opinion, Political Actors 123
T
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Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 123
124 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
Table 5. Telephone numbers found distributed by mailing outcome.
Telephone numbers Return
Received
Returned
Refused
Returned to
Sender
No Response Total
Found 92 1 8 220 321
Not found 4 0 7 15 26
Address matched voter but
unlisted in white pages
8 0 1 29 38
Address did not match voter 20 0 23 72 115
Total 124 1 39 336 500
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 124
The Influence of the Candidates Name on
Vote Intention
Sofia FRUNZ
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration,
Bucharest, Romania
Ctlina GRIGORAI
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration,
Bucharest, Romania
Florena TOADER*
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration,
Bucharest, Romania
Abstract: Over the years, factors influencing the voting intention were a fertile research topic. Until
now, there are no studies in Romania that investigate the influence of candidate names on the voting inten-
tion. Through this paper we aimed to answer the question: Do voters prefer candidates with a common
name but with an inappropriate political program, or candidates with an uncommon name but with an
appropriate political program? In order to answer this question we used the experiment method during the
27th of April to the 2nd of May 2010 in three Romanian University Centers: Bucharest, Iai and Galai. The
method was tested on three groups of 14 Romanian students each. In addition, we had a group of 14 students
from The Republic of Moldavia in order to compare the results. The experiment was followed by a series of
interviews. Even through we expected that the name would be important for the voters, the results were
unexpected. The key factor that influenced the respondents choice was the political program of the candi-
dates. However, the results showed that there are still a lot of controversies about the influence of the candi-
dates name on the voting intention.
Keywords: Romania, politics, candidate, voters, elections
1. Introduction
One of the major challenges for the researchers is to reveal what determines the voters to
prefer a certain candidate. Studies show that every aspect of a candidates image and every
one of his actions are important for winning the voters support. In this case, how important
*
Contact: florenta.toader@yahoo.com.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 125
is the name of the candidate, especially if the candidate has an uncommon name? The aim of
the present paper is to find an answer to the following question: What do voters prefer: a
candidate with a common name, but with an inappropriate political program, or a candidate
with an uncommon or comic name, but whose political program is focused on the voters
needs? By uncommon name should be understood a name that has a comic or negative
meaning, which can indicate a negative trait of character of the person carrying that name.
For a better understanding of the citizens voting behavior it is important to know what
leads them to vote. Richard Law and David Redlawsk (2006) identify o series of general
models in decision making: the classic economic rational choice, in which decisions are
based on explicit calculations of self-interest; the social psychological model, in which deci-
sions are influenced by early-learned social identifications, that tend to be accepted with lit-
tle or no consideration or alternatives; fast and frugal decision making, specific to single
issue voters; bounded rationality and intuitive decision making, specific to voters who want
to make a good and easy decision based on little information achieved during the electoral
campaign. According to Dorina Guu (2006), voters who form the hard core electorate of a
party dont need a large amount of information to sustain a certain candidate. But there are
also citizens whose vote isnt ideological, nor the result of an affiliation to a party. These vot-
ers need information to create and consolidate their image about a candidate. There are three
main steps to the actual voting process. First of all, the voter must know and recognize the
name of the candidate. To this effect, the candidate needs to be popular. Secondly, the candi-
date has to provide more information in order to create a more coherent picture of him.
Thirdly, having reached this stage, the candidate can inform the public about his political
position, his solutions and his objectives. Therefore, a politician running for a second term
has a major advantage over his competitor (Guu, 2006).
Until now, the American space has the largest number of studies regarding the variables
that influence the voting intention. Some of the variables tested are the appearance of the
candidate, the attributes of the ideal candidate, the gender, the public exposure, the name
familiarity and incumbency or the candidate name exposure. Richard R. Lau and David P.
Redlawsk (2003) investigated if the voters choose the candidate they like or the candidate
they agree with. The study illustrated that citizens are most likely to choose the candidate
whose ideas and political program are closer to their needs and political beliefs rather than
choosing a good looking candidate they didnt agreed with (Lau & Redlawsk, 2003). Anoth-
er study (Trent et al., 2005) that tested the concept of the ideal candidate, shows that the
views of individual members of the mass media regarding the ideal qualities of a presidential
candidate does not differ significantly from those of voters. The two most important attrib-
utes of the ideal candidate remained being honest and talking about the nations problems for
both the media and the public. Nevertheless, there were noticeable party differences in rating
these attributes. Republicans consistently rate moral values as more important than democrat
respondents do. Astudy (Dolan, 2009) on the impact of the gender on evaluation of a candi-
date, investigated if there is a gender affinity effect in American elections. The assumption
of this study was that usual, female American voters tend to be the main source of support
for female candidates. The results revealed that the party to which the candidate belongs
plays a central role in public evaluations of women candidates. Women voters tend to feel
closer to Democratic female candidates, but dont have the same affective feelings for
126 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
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Republican female candidates. This is explained bay the fact that when women prefer a
female Democratic candidate, they are pulled by two forces in the same time: candidate sex,
and political party. However, in the case of a female Republican, women voters may experi-
ence cross-pressure, with gender considerations taking them in the opposite direction from
the political orientation of the candidate (Dolan, 2008: 10). In 2001, L. Althaus, P.F. Nardul-
li and D.R. Shaw focused on candidate appearances in counties, media markets, and states in
American general elections since 1972 to 2000. The study accomplished that presidential
candidate appearances increased in number and in geographic scope over time (Althaus et
al., 2001). The public appearances are numerous in areas with large population. Most eligi-
ble voters live in media markets that receive at least one visit from a presidential candidate,
and the percentage of eligible voters exposed to intense personal campaigning has been on
the rise. Although candidate appearances are targeted at electoral competitive states, candi-
dates tend to visit states that consistently vote for the opposite partys candidates, and the
allocation of candidate visits to electoral competitive states has remained stable over time.
Name familiarity and reputation were analyzed in a research carried out by Alan I.
Abramowitz (1975). He tested the name familiarity of the candidate hypothesis, assuming
that this is the best known explanation for the incumbency effect in congressional elections;
however, he didnt find enough support for this assumption. Thus, he turned to an alternative
explanation: the reputation hypothesis. This other hypothesis states that the incumbency
effect is a function of an incumbents reputation among the voters in his constituency.
Abramowitzs second hypothesis was supported by the evidence from a survey made in Lane
County, Oregon. Miller and Krosnick (1998) studied if voters may be influenced by the order
in which candidates names appears on the ballot. The results of his research indicated that
the structure of the ballot influences the voters especially when citizens dont have enough
information or clear preferences. Other three American researchers, Schaffner, Wandersman
& Stang (1981), revealed the impact of candidate name exposure in electoral campaigns in
two studies. In their first study, they found support for the supposition that the level of name
exposure on campaign posters significantly increase the number of votes received. In the
second study, the results showed that the exposure of one candidate name significantly
improved the way citizens perceive his electoral performance.
After reviewing these researches, a question still remains unsolved: how do voters come to
a decision if they have to choose between a candidate with a common name and a candidate with
an uncommon name? A short analysis over the Romanian Parliament, since 1990 until 2010,
shows that citizens voted politicians with uncommon names as well as politicians with common
names to represent them in the Senate or in the Chamber of Deputies. However, this may be the
result of the fact that a long period of time Romanian voters had to choose lists of candidates.
The introduction, in 2008, of the uninominal voting system increased the personalization of par-
liamentary elections, this is why every aspect of a candidates image became important, even his
name. At this point, it is important to comprehend the framework of the Romanian anthropono-
my. It should be noted that the Romanian anthroponomical system is available from the ancient
times until today because it is the logical product of how people have seen the natural relations
between them in terms of continuity through ancestry. Regional differences do not alter the unity
of Romanian anthroponomy because the fund is the same in all regions of the Romanian coun-
ties. In addition, due to migration flows in different historical periods, the names have migrated
with people. In other words, the regional differences were erased.
Media, Public Opinion, Political Actors 127
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Another aspect that should be taken into consideration is the fact that ordinary people
sometimes want to change their names because they sound too trivial for them. The aim is to
achieve long term social effects (Constantinescu, 1963). This phenomenon is very widespread
today. Women are looking for very sophisticated and unusual names for their children to
replace the common ones. Some people think that they could change their condition by
changing their names. Apeculiarity of the Carpatho-Danubian space is the fact that a part of
the Romanian population has Roman names. The phenomenon can be interpreted as a polit-
ical frame, a national mission to preserve the Latin origin when people feel their identity and
their culture threatened. In Transylvania, for example, that was cohabitated by important com-
munities of Germans and Hungarians, Romanians, who were the majority population, tried to
conserve their identity and culture by reminding the others their origin by using Latin names.
Over the river Prut, in the Republic of Moldavia, there is a mixture of names which
reflects pretty clearly the influence of the past epochs. These names were preserved by tradi-
tion and they have been transmitted from generation to generation. According to Maria
Coniceanu (1991), all the name categories which appear heterogeneous have a common
pool: the Greek-Slav and the Latin-Roman. An innovation compared to the traditional
names, in the contemporary period, is the emergence of some names of nonreligious or
pedantic origin, which are wide spread nowadays.
2. Methodology
There are no previous studies in Romania that investigate the positive or negative influ-
ence of the name of a candidate on the vote intention. Therefore, this experiment is a first
step in a pursuit to find out weather a candidate with an uncommon name but with an appro-
priate political program has lower chances to be voted than a candidate with a common
name, but with an inappropriate political program. With this object, three hypotheses were
tested: If a candidate has an uncommon name, the voting intention will be influenced nega-
tively; If a candidate has an uncommon name with a negative connotation in a different
language in this study Russian that the voter is familiar with, the voting intention will be
influenced negatively; If a candidate has an appropriate political program, which is
focused on the needs of the voters, he has more chances to win the elections.
In order to test the hypotheses above, the experiment method was used during the 27th of
April to the 2nd of May 2010 in six Romanian Universities: The National School of Political
Studies and Public Administration, The Romanian-American University and The Academy
of Economic Studies from Bucharest, The University Al. I. Cuza and The Technical Uni-
versity Gh. Asachi of Iai and The University Dunrea de Jos from Galai, on groups of
14 students each. Furthermore, there was a group of 14 students from The Republic of Mol-
davia, who are studying at The University Al. I. Cuza and The Technical University Gh.
Asachi in Iasi.
The experiment design was an adapted version of Lau and Redlawsks experiment (2006)
regarding the influence of the candidate appearance on voters choice, and included three tasks
for the participants. First of all, they had to answer a short political attitudes questionnaire
about political knowledge, interests, and political involvement, in order to establish if they are
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interested in politics, if they go to vote and to see if they are part of a political party. Secondly,
the participants at the experiment were told that a certain Romanian political party (the name of
the party wasnt specified because the ideology and the party affiliation werent variables in
this experiment) is preparing the candidates for the 2012 parliamentary elections and wants to
find out which candidates are more suitable to enter the electoral campaign. Therefore, the par-
ticipants were asked to carefully read two lists of 10 candidates each, List Aand List B, in order
to choose the list of candidates most suitable to participate in the 2012 Romanian parliamentary
elections, in different circumscriptions. List Ahad three candidates with common names, and
seven candidates with uncommon names. In List B there were seven candidates with common
names and three candidates with uncommon names. In order to establish which names were
common and which names were uncommon, a pretest was made on a separate group of 10 sub-
jects, college students from the National School of Political Studies and Public Administration.
Moreover, the two lists included a candidate with an uncommon name, which had a negative
meaning in Russian. Enclosed to each list, there was a political program. List Ahad an appro-
priate political program, focused on the needs of Romanian voters, especially young voters,
while List B had an inappropriate political program. After choosing a list with the best candi-
dates to represent them in the Parliament, the subjects were asked to rank the candidates in the
chosen list considering the chances they had to be voted in the uninominal elections. Thirdly,
the experiment, that lasted approximately 20 minutes, was followed by a series of face to face
interviews in which the participants were asked about the motivation and difficulty of their
choice. After the interview, the subjects were dismissed. The results of the interview were com-
pared with the results of the political attitudes questionnaire and the results of the experiment in
order to observe if there were major changes of attitudes and to see if there were certain partic-
ularities in the participants choice.
3. Data Presentation and Analisys
Two variables were taken into consideration in the analysis of the results of this experi-
ment: the participants gender (masculine or feminine) and the studying profile of the partic-
ipants (exact sciences or social sciences). Also, the results obtained among the sample group
of students from The Republic of Moldavia were compared to the results gathered from the
Romanian students to see if there are differences or similarities between them.
The results show that the candidates name didnt play a decisive role in choosing
between the two lists of candidates. Subjects attention was focused on the political program,
because, as they said when being asked, the name doesnt have an effect on their lives but the
politicians actions do. Among all the participants at the experiment 92.8% of the male par-
ticipants and 82.14% of the female participants said the political program played a very
important role in their choice. The main aspects that the respondents took into consideration
in choosing the best political program and the most suitable list of candidates were the coher-
ence, the ampleness and the concordance of the political program to their needs. Both female
(100%) and male (92.8%) participants were more convinced by the candidates with uncom-
mon names. There was only one male respondent who preferred the list of candidates with
common names, but the reason for this fact was that he felt closer to the political program of
the chosen candidates.
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The participants considered that the candidates with uncommon names have more
chances to be voted because they have a political program focused on their needs. The male
respondents who decided on the list of candidates with uncommon names are 78.57% con-
vinced that the candidates chosen are going to be voted, and 64.28% female respondents
think the same way. Apercentage of 71.42% male participants that said the political program
played an important role on their option rated their choice as being easy and very easy. The
same trend is preserved among female respondents, 67.85% considering the choice as being
easy. However, results show that female participants were less confident in the chances of
the candidates with uncommon names to receive votes. The reason is that they took into con-
sideration the fact that these candidates need to be popular in order to have big chances to
receive votes. The results also suggest that the name of the candidates was more important
for female participants because they thought the name reveals the personality of the candi-
date, and if he can be trusted or not, as shown in the post-experiment interview.
The participants that rated the option between the two lists of candidates as being diffi-
cult were persons who paid small attention to politics, and didnt used to search information
about politics, persons who considered that candidates with uncommon names have the same
chances to be voted as candidates with common names, or persons who considered the name
of the candidate as being important because it reflects the personality of the candidate. Nev-
ertheless, there were only two cases of respondents from a sample group of 42 Romanian
students, who considered the name as being important. The rest of the respondents consid-
ered that the candidates name doesnt influence his performance as a politician.
Both students in exact sciences and students in social sciences prefer the candidates with
uncommon names, considering they are more prepared to represent their interest in the Parlia-
ment. Yet, the confidence of students in social sciences in the chances of candidates with
uncommon names to be voted is smaller than the confidence shown by the students in exact
sciences. Among them, 63.33% students in social sciences consider that candidates with
uncommon names have more chances to receive votes, while 70.96% of the students in exact
sciences believe the same way. Also, 83.37% of the participants in exact sciences rated the
choice as being easy and very easy, while 63.63% of the participants in social sciences rated
their choice as being easy and very easy. These results show that students in social sciences
are skeptical about the chances of candidates with uncommon names to receive votes, espe-
cially those studying political sciences. This is the result of the fact that students in social sci-
ences use more sources of information and believe they have a better understanding of politics
than their colleagues in exact sciences, who would rather consider politics as being an easy
game. Nevertheless, the fact that they study social sciences, and are closer to theories about
politics and society, they tend to be more politically involved than students in exact sciences.
It should be mentioned that there were also 14.28% participants who stated they never go
to vote, but they dont consider the name as being important. However, they declared that the
political program is important, if the politicians respected the promises enunciated in their
program. In other words, the reason they do not go to vote is the fact that they are disappoint-
ed by politicians, but if they went to vote one day, the name would not be important.
Avery important aspect revealed by the results of this experiment is that even though par-
ticipants who selected candidates with uncommon names said that the name of the candidate
wasnt important, when asked to rank the candidates, they placed on the first positions the can-
130 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
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didates with common names. A percentage of 72.19% Romanian students who selected the
candidates with uncommon names did the same. Despite the fact that, in statements, they said
the name isnt important, when they didnt had any other criteria to differentiate the candidates,
the participants preferred the candidates with a common name. In other words, they leaned to
find rational reasons for their actions, based on their needs and on self-interest calculations
(Lau & Redlawsk, 2006: 10). Also, the participants didnt state that the name of the candidate
is important because they wanted to be seen as rational human beings who vote by their reason.
The results are alike among the students from The Republic of Moldavia, where 85.71%
of the participants decided on candidates with uncommon names, while 14.28% of the sub-
jects selected the candidates with common names. The central criterion that set apart the two
lists of candidates was also the political program. Considering this aspect, the choice
between the two lists was rated by 71.42% of the participants as being easy and very easy.
When asked to rank the candidates in the chosen list considering the chances every candidate
has to be voted, 62.28% Moldavian students placed on the first positions candidates with
common names, revealing the fact that the name is important. The results show that between
the two groups, from Romania and from Republic of Moldavia, there are more similarities
than differences. One difference revealed a special trend among this group of students:
42.85% of Moldavian participants placed Russian names on the first positions of the hierar-
chy, despite the fact that these names had a negative meaning and they are not considered as
being common. This fact is caused by the familiarity of the Russian names for the Moldavian
students. In other words, the candidates name was important for them because of their famil-
iarity. In this case, their decision was influenced by early-learned social identifications, as
Lau and Redlwask (2006) observe.
Overall, the results of the experiment show that the participants are interested in political
problems and had the custom to search for information on this matter. Television and Inter-
net are the favorite sources of information regarding political aspects. An explanation could
be that an important part of the students are living in a university campus where Internet or
online television is their main source of information. In addition, the greater part of the par-
ticipants admitted they have an average understanding of political problems. This fact con-
tradicts the common belief that youth dont usually search for information about politics.
Moreover, the participants were more influenced by the political program than they were
influenced by the name of the candidates. Therefore, the first hypothesis was invalidated. By
statement, the name of the candidates didnt ponder very much in the participants choice.
However, when asked to rank the candidates in the chosen list considering the chances they
have to receive votes, the subjects placed on the first positions the candidates with a common
name. These findings show that when voters dont know any other information that could
help them differentiate the candidates, the name becomes the key aspect on which they
establish their choice. The addition of the political program as a clear distinguishing variable
helped the participants to better understand the objectives of the candidates of which they
have to choose. The central role played by the political program on participants choice con-
firmed the third hypothesis. The respondents were more interested in selecting a list of can-
didates who are capable to represent their interests in the Parliament. The decision is one
based on rational criteria, while when the subjects didnt have any information on the candi-
date than their names, the choice was based on emotional criteria, or early-learned social
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identifications. The motivation given by those who considered the name as being important
in their choice was that they believed the name is part of the personality of the candidate.
This wasnt a general trend because there were also subjects who refused to rank the candi-
dates without having any information to differentiate them. Nevertheless, the number of
those who refused to rank the candidates, two participants of the whole sample group, isnt
relevant for the dimension of this study.
The second hypothesis was partly validated, considering that, when asked to rank the
candidates in the chosen list, almost a half of the participants from The Republic of Mol-
davia placed on the first positions the candidates with Russian names, despite their negative
meaning. This trend observed among Moldavian students contradicts the general inclination
of the Romanian subjects to place the candidates with an uncommon name on the last posi-
tions of the hierarchy. This is the result of the fact that the Russian names have a closer reso-
nance to Moldavian names. The familiarity of these names determined the students from The
Republic of Moldavia to identify themselves with the candidates. The particularity found in
the group from the Republic of Moldavia reveals another aspect that should be taken into
consideration: the cultural background of the participants. This shows that participants who
live in another community where uncommon names are wide spread think that uncommon
names are, in fact, common ones, due to habit. It is the same case for participants who live in
small towns, or regions where a comic or unusual name is very popular. These participants
dont see anything uncommon in such names and their choice isnt be influenced by this
aspect. This is a very important feature that this study has revealed; therefore the cultural
background is a variable that should be further tested in other name related experiments.
The interviews that followed the experiment, allowed a deepen investigation of the par-
ticipants choice and the reasons for which they would go to vote. The majority of the partic-
ipants who declared in the political attitudes questionnaire that they are interested in politics
said that they are looking forward for a big change in society. They are optimistic and hope
in a better future, believing that their vote is important. Moreover, they stated that indiffer-
ence is not a solution for the crisis which is affecting the society they live in. In these circum-
stances, the name of the candidate doesnt matter, but the actions of the politicians do.
4. Conclusions
The results of this experiment are unexpected and open the path for new deepen studies
regarding the aspects influencing the vote intention in Romanian elections. The name of the
candidates was far from being the key aspect on which subjects based their choice. The
majority of the participants took into consideration the political program rather than the
unusual or comic name of the candidate because they said that this aspect does not affect
them, but the political program could have direct effects on their life. In this case, they made
a rational decision based on the resolution found in the political program of the candidates,
because they are more interested in seeing result that could alter their lives for the better and
the society they live in. There were also participants that stated they never go to vote, but
who didnt consider that the name of the candidate plays an important role in the electoral
process. The reason they dont vote is the fact that they are disappointed by the politicians
132 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
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who never keep their promises. Although, if they went to vote, they would choose the candi-
date that better represents their interest, without taking into consideration his name.
Results show that female participants and students in social sciences are reserved in what
concerns the chances of the chosen candidates to receive votes. Even though female partici-
pants didnt admit the name was important for them, they stated that the name could repre-
sent the personality of a candidate, or shows if a candidate can be trusted or not. They also
consider that it is difficult for a candidate who is not very popular to receive votes. This is
also the case of candidates with uncommon names, who can be misjudged by voters because
of their names. In the case of social sciences students, the reason for their skepticism is the
fact that they use more sources of information and they have a better understanding of poli-
tics. They believe that winning an election requires more resources than a political program
and there are other aspects to take into consideration in the electoral campaign, such as the
personality of the candidate, his actions, the way he responds to the attacks of other candi-
dates etc. Even if the participants talked about the lack of importance of the name, they pre-
ferred common names when asked to rank the candidates. It can be noticed that this trend is
available for all the participants excepting an important part of the Moldavian students who
perceive themselves as being different and they would vote the candidates they can identify
with. The results of this experiment revealed some hypothesis to be tested in further studies.
Voters would support politicians who are similar to them, or politicians who better respond
to their needs. Another hypothesis is that young Romanian voters with tertiary education are
rather rational in making political choices.
However, in a real electoral campaign the number of variables rises considerably, show-
ing the first limit of this experiment. In a different situation, with more variables to be taken
into consideration, the results may be different. Although, this study allows a more focused
view over the influence of a candidates name on the voting intention, by isolating two vari-
ables: the name of the candidate and the political program. Another limit of this study con-
sists in the fact that the participants at the experiment are all college students. However, stu-
dents represent the future electoral base of Romania; this is why this study can be considered
a first step in finding what influences the voting intention of Romanian electorate. For the
experiment to be more representative it would be also necessary to include a sample group of
students from Transylvania. In the future, the experiment grill will be extended, and other
variables will be added. The appearance and the candidates profile and also the cultural
background of the participants are some of the variables that will be tested in association
with the name of the candidate.
One of the positive aspects that were revealed by this experiment is the fact that young
people from Romania vote and are interested in political aspects. The importance given by
the participants to the political program of the candidates is an indicator of the fact that
politicians should pay more attention to the dissemination of their electoral proposition.
Nevertheless, the promises made in the electoral campaign must be respected, otherwise the
candidate looses credibility. In Romania, the governmental party did not win more than two
successive elections and this fact may indicate that citizens are not easy to trick and they will
not support a politician who never accomplishes his promises. The students that participated
in this experiment showed they vote on rational criteria this is why politicians should think
twice when they want to promise something that they are not able to accomplish.
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134 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
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the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago.
7. Lau, R. R., Redlawsk, D. P. (2006). How Voters decide: Information Processing during Election Cam-
paigns, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
8. Miller, J. M., Krosnick, J. A. (1998). The impact of candidate name order on election outcome,
Public Opinion Quarterly, 62(3), 291-330.
9. Schaffner, P. E., Wandersman, A., Stang, D. (1981). Candidate Name Exposure and Voting: Two
Field Studies, Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 2 (3), 195-203.
10. Trent, J. S., Short-Thompson, C., Mongeau, P. A., Metzler, M. S., Trent, J.D. (2005). The Idealized
Presidential Candidate: AVision Over Time, American Behavioral Scientist, 49, 130.
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The Released Image of Political Actors Taking Part in the
Romanian Electoral Process in 2008 and 2009
Bogdan-Alexandru HALIC*
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration,
Bucharest, Romania
Ion CHICIUDEAN
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration,
Bucharest, Romania
Corina BUZOIANU
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration,
Bucharest, Romania
Monica BR
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration,
Bucharest, Romania
Abstract: This paper aims to identify the structure of the candidates released image in 2008 parliamen-
tary elections and 2009 presidential elections. Although the image parameters and levels are different from
one candidate to another and from one electoral process to another, our analysis points out the common
structural elements. In this way we can identify the imagological levels that are the closest to the audiences
expectations. Also, our research underlines the key role that media plays in developing the public image of
the political actors. Nevertheless, media has an important role in shaping audience expectations.
Our methodology was developed in the Image Management Methodology Special Seminar from the
Faculty of Communication and Public Relations. The raw data has been collected by monitoring the daily
newspapers in 2008 and 2009, mainly the ones with the highest market share.
Keywords: social image, political actor, elections, media, image analysis
*
Contact: bogdan.halic@comunicare.ro.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 135
The paper presents the results of the study conducted by the researchers from the Image
Management Methodology Special Seminar
1
during the academic years of 2008-2009
2
and
2009-2010
3
. Our research purpose is to investigate the released image of political actors taking
part in the electoral process. We consider that the released image is obtained through the analy-
sis of information on the subject of the investigation produced by other sources (B.-A. Halic, I.
Chiciudean, 2004, p. 19). Therefore, we analyzed the candidates image released by the media
during the 2008 parliamentary elections and the 2009 presidential elections. The analysis rep-
resents a continuation of research that begun in the year 2008 (B.-A. Halic, I. Chiciudean, C.
Buzoianu, 2009) and that was meant to inquire whether there were common or similar structur-
al elements between the image released by the media of candidates in the parliamentary elec-
tions in 2008 and of candidates in the presidential elections in 2009. We departed from the
premise that the desirable image is built depending upon the medias willingness to report on
certain aspects rather than upon functional and image dimensions. Therefore the working
hypothesis to validate was that if there are similarities in the structure of the released image,
then they are aimed particularly at those areas of the image that are accessible to the target
audience and that hold interest for them.
The raw data used in this research was obtained by monitoring three important daily jour-
nals: Adevrul, Evenimentul Zilei and Jurnalul Naional. The three of them were cho-
sen because, according to market studies, during the period taken into consideration they
held the greatest share of the market. For the candidates to the parliamentary elections of
2008 the three journals were monitored between January 1
st
, 2008 and the 31
st
of October
2008, and for candidates to the presidential elections of 2009 the monitoring period was
from the 1
st
of January 2009 to the 30
th
of November 2009.
Due to space limitations, in the current paper we will only be discussing those elements
that are relevant to the structure of the candidates image during the elections, without there-
fore making a larger exposition of the research results. Thus we cannot enter into the details
of the structural elements of the image of each individual candidate and neither will we be
interpreting the image profiles obtained through journals monitoring.
1. Analytic Methodology
The research was based on the methodology developed by authors in the Image Manage-
ment Methodology Special Seminar which allows us to investigate the dynamics of social
images in the Romanian political space. In analyzing the released image of the candidates, we
136 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
1
Image Management Methodology Special Seminar is a research center at the Faculty of Communication
and Public Relations, National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania.
2
The research on the released image of candidates in the parliamentary elections of 2008 was aided by
the following students: Irina Balt, Adriana Bltreu, Oana-Raluca Brtil, Diana Blasciuc, Raluca Costil,
Radu Delicote, Alina-Maria Enescu, Ancua Frncu, Oana Grigore, Alina-Florina Ionescu, Ana-Georgiana
Minea, Adina Radu, Daiana Rdulescu, Alexandru Tunaru, Ana-Maria Trandaburu i Roxana Zegrean.
3
The research on the released image of candidates in the parliamentary elections of 2008 was aided by
the following students: Adelina Dumitrescu, Delia Apintei i Valentin Busuioc.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 136
begun with establishing a set of functional and image characteristics based on which the polit-
ical actors image can have a positive perception in Romanian society. These functional and
image levels articulate the image indicators system and represent, in our opinion, the scheme
of category for an image analysis. So, the image indicators system outlines the criteria for the
candidates positive image. We developed this methodology considering the image that poli-
tical actors should have and considering the media interest to transmit certain messages.
The system was built to match our research needs and was structured along six image
indicators and forty-two image sub-indicators: Attributions Fulfillment
4
, Political Dimen-
sion
5
, Professional Dimension
6
, Public Dimension
7
, International Political Actor
8
and
Human Dimension
9
.
The media monitoring had its counting unit referenced to the image sub-indicators. The
raw results obtained after the media monitoring were processed in order to obtain the calcu-
lated values necessary for building image profiles and also in order to highlight image index-
es. When interpreting the obtained data, we operated both with the resulting values, calculat-
ed through processing the data from the monitored sources, and with a set of hierarchical
indexes of the image areas, which aided us in the comparative analysis.
2. Context
The analyses that had taken place during the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 academic years
allowed us to interpret data on sixteen candidates to the parliamentary elections in 2008 and
the foremost three candidates to the presidential elections in 2009. The in-depth analysis of
the candidates released image highlighted some image and structural elements characteris-
tic to the Romanian electoral process. During the 2008 campaign the three sources were
monitored for references to Crin Antonescu, Marko Bela, Vasile Blaga, Cristian Diaconescu,
Media, Public Opinion, Political Actors 137
4
The Attributions Fulfilment indicator contains the following sub-indicators: transparency in office,
optimal performance of functional duties, no abuse of political power and efficient crisis management.
5
The Political Dimension indicator was broken down into the following sub-indicators: promotes party
interests, good working relationship with other members of their party, good working relationship with
other members of other parties, good speaker, adept at having an argument based debate, viable legislative
initiatives, viable political offer, political consistency.
6
The Professional Dimension indicator contains the following sub-indicators: significant leadership
position experience, significant experience in holding a public office, significant experience in working with
people, good team-work and good decision-making abilities.
7
The Public Dimension indicator contains the following sub-indicators: good relationship with civil
society, publicly expresses the party position on any current political issue, takes part in cultural events,
takes part in charity events, takes part in public social events and good relationship with the church.
8
The International Political Actor indicator contains the following sub-indicators: promotes the nation-
al interest, good relationship with the European Union, good relationship with the NATO, a good relation-
ship with neighbouring countries, supports the fight against terrorism and good representative of the coun-
try abroad.
9
The Human Dimension indicator was divided into the following sub-indicators: intelligence, honesty,
modesty, irreproachable ethics, good Christian, good family man or woman, credible, decisive, close to the
people, polite, generous.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 137
138 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
Mircea Geoan, Adrian Nstase, Sergiu Nicolaescu, Eugen Nicolescu, Bogdan Olteanu,
Clin Popescu Triceanu, Raluca Turcan, Elena Udrea, Corneliu Vadim Tudor, Dan
Voiculescu, Gheorghe Becali and Varujan Vosganian. If we were to analyze the political
actors according to their parties we might say that the National Liberal Party (Crin Antones-
cu, Eugen Nicolescu, Bogdan Olteanu, Clin Popescu Triceanu, Varujan Vosganian) sur-
vived a very difficult period, as it represented the minority government before the elections,
the Democratic-Liberal Party (Vasile Blaga, Raluca Turcan, Elena Udrea) took the advan-
tage of being in opposition and succeeded to obtain its highest electoral score and the Social
Democrat Party (Cristian Diaconescu, Mircea Geoan, Adrian Nstase, Sergiu Nicolaescu)
was the major loser of the elections
10
.
During the 2009 presidential elections the analyzed candidates were Traian Bsescu,
Mircea Geoan and Crin Antonescu. Traian Bsescu won the presidential campaign after he
confronted Mircea Geoan in the second electoral term.
We must mention that the 2008 parliamentary elections showed the highest absenteeism
rate in Romania after 1990. Although we encounter a reduced civil participation in electoral
terms in other European Union countries in 2008, we must consider some particular ele-
ments for the Romanian case. First, the 2008 parliamentary elections brought for the first
time the uninominal vote
11
, which strengthened the local political leaders power and weak-
ened the national political leaders. (B. Teodorescu, D. Sultnescu, 2009, p. 118). Second, the
public opinion barometers
12
indicate a major discontent of citizens towards politicians and a
strong lack of interest for political matters. Instead, citizens seem sensitive to emotional
aspects regarding candidates and political actors.
2008 and 2009 analyze of electoral campaign revealed a certain gap between the political
discourse and the civic one. Obviously, this had an important influence on the behaviour of
the citizen. The lack of a credible and relevant electoral discourse, focused on real social
problems, made the electors who didnt lose total interest in the campaign to be interested
more in emotional themes, which led to an irrational vote. (Ghe. Teodorescu, 2009, p. 183).
Obviously, each individual social actor has a particular image structure, depending upon
the image profile path, the career specific elements and previously held public offices. In the
current paper we are not concerned with these aspects, seeing as we tried to use the research
results to highlight the interest the media had in each image area. Hence, we resorted to using
a generic structure.
10
According to the dates provided by the Central Electoral Office at http://www.becparlamen-
tare2008.ro/.
11
In Romania, the electoral system was changed from a simple party-list proportional representation into
a uninominal voting system, through a law, adopted by the Inferior Chamber of Parliament, in March 2008.
12
Standard Euro-barometer, National report Romania, Spring 2008, pp. 31-33, http://ec.-
europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/eb/eb69/eb69_ro_nat.pdf.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 138
3. Data Interpretation
The data reveals that the political actors who have a positive visibility of the Human
Dimension indicator manage to obtain a positive character of the released image. Moreover, the
media interest in the image area of the Human Dimension is by far the main common element
between the images of political actors running in the 2008 and 2009 elections. Our analysis
shows that the released image of political actor that won the presidential elections wasnt
focused on the Political Dimension. This also the case for some parliamentary candidates,
although they held high positions in their party, and they supposedly had the opportunities and
the means to enforce their image regarding this dimension. This is also the case for Attributions
Fulfilment, who loses visibility in favour to Professional Dimension. But, nevertheless, certain
particularities must be considered further as we deal with two different type of election.
For candidates to the 2008 parliamentary elections, the analysis of the hierarchical
weighted distribution indicated a major mass-media interest in the Human and Political
Dimension areas. (Figure 1)
Figure 1. Image indicators visibility.
The mass-communication media were less interested in the Public and Professional
Dimension indicators, these taking the fourth and fifth place in the interest hierarchy. On the
third place is the Attributions Fulfilment indicator, and the sixth place is taken by the Inter-
national Political Actor image indicator. Instead, we see that the 2009 presidential election
candidates released images profile is structured particularly around the Professional
(26.48%), Human (22.98%) and Political (22.18%) dimensions, whereas the lowest visibili-
ty is registered at the level of the International Political Actor indicator (1.86%).
One of the most interesting cases was that of the released image of Traian Bsescu (Figure
2), the then current president who was running for a second term, which he won. In his case
Media, Public Opinion, Political Actors 139
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:39 AM Page 139
we noted that the weighted hierarchical distribution indicated a major mass-media interest in
the Professional Dimension indicator to the detriment of the Attributions Fulfilment indicator,
which has a far lower visibility, at 13.35%. If the lack of visibility of the Political Dimension
indicator can be explained away as it comes in direct conflict with the constitutional duties of
a president, the same cannot be said about the Attributions Fulfilment indicator. The reduced
visibility of the indicator that describes the performance of presidential office, when correlat-
ed with the primarily positive image of Traian Bsescu, as it emerged from the analysis of the
monitored data, makes obvious the tendency to structure the image on levels that are not nec-
essarily connected to the satisfactory performance of the duties of the political mandate the
candidate was seeking to renew. The emotional dimension of the presidential candidates
image is revealed by the important visibility of his Human Dimension. Mass media were very
much interested in this level as it describes the elements that are so close to the public.
Figure 2. Image dimensions for Traian Bsescu, presidential candidate.
If we consider the 2008 parliamentary elections candidates visibility we observe that
only in the case of two political actors have the mass-media been interested in the Attribu-
tions Fulfilment dimension. It is worth remembering that the two are former cabinet mem-
bers: Clin Popescu Triceanu, the former prime-minister and Eugen Nicolescu, the former
health minister. For the two, the Attributions Fulfilment indicator had a visibility of 31.46%
and 58,11% of total references respectively (Figure 3). As mentioned, Clin Popescu
Triceanu and Eugen Nicolescu are members of the National Liberal Party, who managed
to survive very difficult governance, but didnt reach the 2004 electoral level
13
.
140 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
13
National Liberal Party (at that time in an electoral alliance with the Democratic-Liberal Party) had a
quota of 31,6% out of the population vote, meanwhile at the 2008 elections (this time without their allies)
they managed to achieve only a quota of 18,6%. (http://www.becparlamentare2008.ro/rezul/anexa8abun.-
pdf) Nevertheless, before creating the 2004 electoral coalition, the National Liberal Party was credited with
a higher percentage of vote intentions, than their coalition partners.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 140
Figure 3. Image indicator Attributions Fulfillment for Traian Bsescu, Clin Popescu
Triceanu and Eugen Nicolescu.
Other than for the aforementioned exceptions, for the majority of candidates the released
image is structured along the Human and Political Dimensions. In addition, our research
revealed similarities in the image structure among candidates of the same political party,
which clearly suggests that the mass-media interest is focused on specific functional levels
depending on party affiliation.
When grouping the analyzed political actors by their party affiliation a series of interest-
ing points of contention come forth. The first one being that the released image of the three
candidates from the Democratic-Liberal Party (PD-L) is structured nearly identically, the
most visible image indicators being the Political and Human Dimensions. This type of
released image structure makes these three the favourites within the monitored sources, see-
ing as they address in equal measure rational voters thus the dominance of the Political
Dimension and emotional voters thus the second place taken by the Human Dimension in
the image structure. We must underline that only in this case can we observe a similar distri-
bution of interest on these particular image areas, areas which are in fact particularly relevant
for the candidates of a party that was for that time in opposition.
The Social Democrat Party (PSD) candidates benefited from a media presence built
around the Human Dimension indicator, with the exception of Mircea Geoan whose image
was focused on the Political Dimension (42.44% of total references). But, even in this case,
the second position in the media interest hierarchy is taken up by the Human Dimension indi-
cator (21.55% of total references). As Mircea Geoan lost the electoral competition in favour
to Traian Bsescu, we can explain the importance that Human Dimension has in structuring
the candidates image. Unlike Mircea Geoan (Human Dimension 21,55% of total refe-
rences), Traian Bsescu won with the help of an important visibility on Human Dimension
(35,35% of total references).
An interesting distribution of references can be observed in the case of the National Libe-
ral Party (PNL) candidates, for whom the interest hierarchy is equally distributed along the
Media, Public Opinion, Political Actors 141
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142 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
Attributions Fulfilment indicator and the Political and Human Dimensions. Nevertheless,
there are significant differences between the released images of candidates. Thus, with the
exception of the image constructed mainly around the Attributions Fulfilment indicator for
Clin Popescu Triceanu and Eugen Nicolescu, whom we have mentioned above the
released image of Crin Antonescu (41.82% of total references) and Bogdan Olteanu (27.75%
of total references) are structured predominantly around the Political Dimension, whereas
Varujan Vosganians released image is concentrated on its Human Dimension (43.59% of
total references). This probably makes for the most nuanced approach taken by the press,
which proves that in this case social actors were treated differently, depending on their indi-
vidual merits.
Special attention needs to be paid to the level of the International Political Actor indica-
tor, which took the last place in the interest hierarchy during both the parliamentary and pres-
idential elections. Not even Traian Bsescu, the current president at the time the analysis was
conducted, has much visibility in this area (5.58%). If we keep in mind that these political
actors are running for the position of president, which clearly has important responsibilities
regarding Romanias foreign affairs, the small visibility of the above mentioned indicator
should be surprising. The small amount of attention the media pays to this imagological level
is not any less than that which the target audience pays to the international activities per-
formed by political actors in general. This conclusion is also enforced by the lack of media
interest in international activities during the parliamentary elections. It is nevertheless inter-
esting that there is a greater amount of attention paid to the International Political Actor
indicator during the parliamentary elections (2.40% of total references) than during the pres-
idential ones (1.86% of total references).
The only candidate to the presidential elections whose image was centred on the Political
Dimension is Mircea Geoan (Figure 4). In the case of this candidate at the highest state
function, the Political Dimension indicator was present in 66.57% of the total references.
This is the only case where we can identify structural similarities at the level of the indicator
that regards the political activity from among the candidates to the parliamentary and presi-
dential elections. The other two candidates, Traian Bsescu and Crin Antonescu, have a
released image concentrated on the Professional Dimension (42.84% of total references) and
the Attributions Fulfilment (41.26% of total references) indicators.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 142
Figure 4. The image indicators visibility for Mircea Geoan, candidate in the presidential
elections.
Traian Bsescus released image brings forth another element which must be taken into
consideration. The only imagological level where the character of the political actors image
is slightly negative is the Attribution Fulfilment indicator, which is of major importance as
during the monitored period Traian Bsescu was still exercising his office as president. Nev-
ertheless, the image vulnerabilities in this area did not stop him from winning a second term.
The victory can however be explained since this indicator was the least visible in the candi-
dates image and even more so when we consider the structure of the targeted publics inter-
est in state functions.
The analysis of the monitored data presents an interesting facet of the released images
emotional side. With no exception, during both of the electoral campaigns, within the struc-
ture of each candidates campaign the Human Dimension takes an important role. The major
importance of this indicator in the image of political actors is directly connected to the very
character of their image. Thus, candidates to the parliamentary elections who do not have a
significant positive visibility along the Human Dimension indicator generally have an image
with only a slightly positive character or even a slightly negative one. This image indicators
visibility and the consequences of its visibility for candidates image must be understood
through the light of the increased targeted publics interest in emotional image areas.
Correlating all of the abovementioned elements with the character of candidates image
during the presidential elections reveals the fact that the released image has a highly positive
character in the cases of Traian Bsescu and Crin Antonescu, the positive references reach
84.94% and 92.9% respectively, whereas for Mircea Geoan the image has only a slightly
positive character at 56.33%.
Media, Public Opinion, Political Actors 143
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 143
4. Conclusions
The study of the released candidates images highlighted a series of structural imagolog-
ical elements, but also opened up several further investigation areas. The first of our research
conclusions is related to the emotional dimension of the political actors image, conclusion
proved by the relationship between the positive visibility of the Human Dimension indicator
and the mainly positive character of the released image. The media interest for Human
Dimension dominates the image structure both for candidates in the parliamentary and pres-
idential elections. As we deal with political actors we would expect a certain visibility on this
level in order to have a relevant and positive image, but the data showed that the lack of vis-
ibility regarding the political activity is not at all a disadvantage for their released image. A
political actor can have a positive released image and win the elections without having an
important visibility on the political level.
Another element revealed by our analysis is the reduced relevance that the Attribution
Fulfilment indicator holds in the structure of the released image. We can therefore conclude
that those political actors who had a reduced visibility on the Attribution Fulfilment general-
ly have a positive image. It seems that when political actors focus their campaigns on this
aspect, and not on the Human Dimension, their image profile suffers. This conclusion is rein-
forced by Traian Bsescus released image, which did not turn on the way he fulfilled his
duties but rather on those imagological dimensions that were advantageous for the candidate
and that hold interest for the targeted interest: the Human and Professional Dimensions.
Thus our analysis confirmed the premise that the image that reaches the targeted public holds
a great amount of importance, since it gives visibility to those themes and image dimensions
that match the publics interests and expectations. The mass-medias interest in certain
themes emphasizes a number of elements that can either help or hinder political actors,
regardless of whether the political context is beneficial or not. Certainly this research area
needs to be further investigated through an analysis of the way in which the fundamental
imagological themes are structured for political actors at the level of the targeted public.
If the Political Dimension and Attribution Fulfilment levels are structured in a similar
way for candidates to the 2008 parliamentary elections and 2009 presidential elections, the
Professional Dimension is far more visible in the image of those political actors who ran in
the presidential elections, particularly so in the case of Traian Bsescu. However we must
keep in mind that its very likely this particular political actor willingly redirected the
medias interest towards other image levels, distracting attention from the Attribution Fulfil-
ment and International Political Actor indicators. The latter dimension was very poorly rep-
resented during the electoral campaigns, and the small amount of visibility can be explained
by the lack of interest exhibited by the targeted audience in this topic, but also by the real
lack of socially debated topics in this area. The fact that the International Political Actor
indicator was more visible in the parliamentary elections than in the presidential elections
also points to a lack of interest of the candidates in these issues. However, our research will
need to be extended with a study that would reveal the real cause of the lack of visibility of
certain themes: the targeted audiences lack of interest, a deficiency in background informa-
tion, as well as the lack of competency exhibited by the political actors in this subject area.
144 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 144
Media, Public Opinion, Political Actors 145
As we mentioned in the introduction, we were considering the premise that the candi-
dates desirable image is built depending on the mass medias willingness to report on certain
events and topics, rather than on the imagological and functional levels which would be rel-
evant to their duties while holding public office. Evidently, our research has revealed this
point, highlighting the high importance of the Human Dimension as well as a particularly
low interest in the Attribution Fulfilment indicator in those social actors who held public
office during the monitored period.
We can conclude that our initial hypothesis was validated since there are similarities in
the released image of candidates to the parliamentary elections in 2008 and those of candi-
dates in the presidential elections in 2009. These similarities are in the accessible imagolog-
ical areas and in those areas that hold interest for the targeted audience. The candidates vis-
ibility in specific areas is in fact not only the medias response to the publics limited areas of
interest but also represents a testament to the political actors ability to model their self-
image. Social interest loses its importance in public sphere due to citizens emotional reac-
tions and to their incapacity in understanding what is in their best interest (A.O. Hirschman,
2004, p. 64). Therefore, the public concern for the human dimension should be analyzed
considering the interpretation horizon and the reference system.
Addendum: Concepts Used in the Current Paper
(B. A. Halic, I. Chiciudean, 2004, passim)
1. The released image is obtained through the analysis of information on the subject of the investigation
produced by other sources.
2. The interpretation of image profiles implies distinguishing general aspects, establishing the images
character, identifying specific connections, highlighting vulnerabilities and establishing image related risks.
3. The image indicators system constitutes the category system with which the image analysis operates.
4. Image indicators are structure elements for the image they define, particularize and at the same time
they allow us to measure it.
5. Image sub-indicators are those elements which compose the image indicator and which finally allow
us to measure the social image.
6. Primary profiles represent, in principle, the image formed at the level of the monitored sources (how
much and how the sources referred to the social actor). Therefore the cumulative profile highlights the struc-
ture of the sources interest for the image areas, whereas the dichotomized profile highlights the weighted
amount of positive and negative accounts in relation with each image area and the binary profile allows us
to establish the character of the transmitted image through the monitored sources.
7. Weighted profiles present the structure of the image that reaches the target audience.
8. Image indexes represent the guiding values calculated for image areas image indicators and sub-
indicators with a lower relevance than the values of the image profiles.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 145
146 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
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www.bec2004.ro/
www.becparlamentare2008.ro
www.ec.europa.eu/public_opinion
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Reconfigurations
of the European Public Sphere
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Does Europe Come to Save Us or to Scold Us?
An Analysis of the Media Discourse on EU Funds
Alina BRGOANU*
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration,
Bucharest, Romania
Paul DOBRESCU
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration,
Bucharest, Romania
Adina MARINCEA
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration,
Bucharest, Romania
Abstract: The last Eurobarometer survey (August 2010) draws the attention of the European Commis-
sion on the need to communicate with EU citizens. Amid the economic crisis, peoples confidence has
decreased, while euro-skepticism has increased. Among other things, this shows that, in spite of the efforts
undertaken by the Commission to improve efforts towards public communication, we still cannot speak of a
European identity and, even less, of a European public sphere. Successive changes have been made during
the 60 years of EU Communication, in attempt to bring Europe closer to Europeans and win their support
for the Commissions policies. It is the purpose of this paper is to identify and briefly present these mile-
stones in the evolution of what today we call EU Communication and analyse them in the context of a
famous debate that has shaped the study of communication since its inception, that between Walter Lipp-
mann and John Dewey. We will then present the results of a research on the coverage of EU policies in the
online media from Romania against this theoretical background.
Keywords: the transmission model, the ritualic model, EU communication, EU funds
1. Our Babel is not One of Tongues, but of Signs and Symbols
Communication study was shaped by a famous dispute between Walter Lippmann and
John Dewey regarding public opinion, the role of mass media in forming it and the entailed
consequences on the functioning of democracy. Their widely different theoretical positions
led to the crystallization of two fundamental models of communication the transmission and
*
Contact: alina.bargaoanu@comunicare.ro.
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the ritual one. In spite of the current sophistication of the theories and perspectives proposed
by communication scholars, the theoretical lines drawn by each of them seem to reinforce any
discussion about how communication can be conceptualized.
Although both authors find a series of weaknesses inherent in democracy, they differ
widely in terms of the solutions provided. Lippmann believes that democracy cannot work as
a result of the involvement of a non-specialist public in decision-making: institutions, hav-
ing failed to furnish themselves with instruments of knowledge, have become a bundle of
problems which the population as a whole, reading the press as a whole, is supposed to
solve (Lippmann, 1991: 177). Thus, Lippmann repels two fictions which he associates
with democracy: the fiction that identifies the functioning of government with peoples
will and that of the omnicompetent citizen. Since the public can only remain passive,
outside the public problems (Lippmann, 1993), Lippmanns solution lies in granting
responsibility to govern to a group of experts (Lippmann, 1993). John Dewey considers
Lippmanns book the greatest indictment of democracy and argues that expert government
is equivalent to oligarchy, thus undermining the very concept of democracy. Deweys solu-
tion is fundamentally different from Lippmanns: educating the public, with the involvement
of other stakeholders such as experts or media.
Lippmann critically analyses the role of the media in transmitting information and forming
public opinion. Medias fundamental role is to organize information for the society. But jour-
nalists are subject to the same limitations as the rest of the citizens, and filter information
through their own stereotypes. The press reflects a distorted image of truth and is far from
being an accurate mirror of society. On the other hand, the inability of public institutions to
build upon the instruments of knowledge and to pass on to the public an accurate picture of
the public space has reinforced medias role as guardian of public opinion: The press, in
other words, has come to be regarded as an organ of direct democracy, charged on a much
wider scale, and from day to day, with the function often attributed to the initiative, referen-
dum, and recall. The Court of Public Opinion, open day and night, is to lay down the law for
everything all the time (Lippmann, 1991: 177). Therefore, media play a key role in shaping
public perceptions, but, at the same time, they deepen the problems of public opinion by prop-
agating a distorted and subjective picture of reality. Hence the solution proposed by Lipp-
mann assigns the accountability of mediating the communication relationship between gov-
ernment and citizens to experts and not to the media. According to him, it is only experts who
are capable to objectively analyze facts and information, to transmit a true picture and provide
the necessary means for creating a relevant public opinion. Public opinion is distorted by the
subjective representations that people operate with and, therefore, if these representations
could be accurate (mediated by experts), then an informed public opinion would be possible.
The premises underlying Deweys study of public opinion are different. In his perspec-
tive, public opinion is formed only through debate and does not necessarily depend on the
degree of truth and accuracy of the information and representations. Therefore, his criticism
of the press does not have to do with the fact that it does not reflect reality correctly, as in
Lippmanns case, but that it fails to stimulate dialogue and public debate.
While Lippmann considers communication a linear process of transmitting information
from elites to citizens, Dewey has a fundamentally different perception. For him, communica-
tion is essentially a sharing of experiences and an exchange of symbols. As direct experiences
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become fewer and the possibility of direct knowledge of the world around us is increasingly
smaller, the only solution is to appeal to the meanings of events and facts that build reality,
meanings embodied in symbols and signs: events can not run from one person to another, but
such meanings can move and can be shared through signs. Desires and impulses are then
attached to common meanings. They are thus transformed into desires and purposes which,
since they involve a shared, common, understanding, create new links, convert a concerted
action into a community of interest and effort (Dewey, 1954:153).
John Dewey is preoccupied by the profound changes occurring in post-industrial society,
warning that it is not technology that underlies the current social problems, but the lack of
appropriate symbols that are adequate to the new context, our Babel is not one of tongues,
but of the signs and symbols without which shared experience is impossible (Dewey, 1954:
142). Only communication can convert the Great Society into a Great Community. Dewey
thus provides the foundation for the ritual communication model which will be further
developed by J.W. Carey, who highlights the fundamental difference between the transmis-
sion and ritual model, in which communication is directed not towards the extension of
messages in space but towards the maintenance of society in time; [it is] not the act of trans-
mitting information, but the representation of shared beliefs (Carey, 1989: 18).
2. A Short History of EU Communication
After EUs last enlargement in 2007, the challenges faced by the European Union became
more visible, urging resolution. Topics such as European identity (viewed from the perspective
of the national European cleavage), citizenship and common values have called into question
the need for public communication. In the context of the perception gap between Brussels re-
presentatives and EU citizens, the European Commission began to pay more attention to its
communication strategy. Aseries of key moments underlies its progress and a review of these
steps will help shape a broader picture of what we generically call EU Communication.
At the beginning of what today represents the EU, related communication was perceived
as solely aiming at disarming the opponents of integration (Kohnstamm apud Slys,
1996), and according to its strongest critics, it was a matter of mere propaganda. (Slys,
1996). The need of public support for the EU single market initiative led to a change in the
communication strategy, which was premised on the attempt to seduce the public opinion.
During the 90s the EC worked towards transforming the EU into a branded product and
turning journalists and editors into enthusiastic supporters of the cause [...] As a result, the
Commission multiplied events and infotainment campaigns on symbolic Community
issues that could give it a positive image: a G7 meeting in Brussels on information motor-
ways, conferences on the single currency, etc (Meillier, 2007: 9).
However, changing the strategy proved largely ineffective. Citizens distrust in the EU was
amplified by the accession of three Euro-skeptic countries in 1995: Austria, Finland and Swe-
den. At the same time, the need for public support for important endeavors (such as the single
currency) increased significantly. However, EU-related communication remained fragmented,
and was perceived rather as an arguable obligation than a necessary strategy: At least between
1958 and 1999, being responsible for information was always a task that no commissioner
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wanted. Almost invariably, this portfolio was attributed either to a commissioner from a small
member state or to the second commissioner from a larger country (Smith, 2004: 8).
Aradical change was initiated by Romano Prodi, who restructured the whole institutional
framework of the communication policy. The former DG X and the spokespersons service
were grouped into a new Directorate General: DG Press and Communication, which was
placed under the direct authority of the EC president. In 2001, the Commission proposed a
shift from what until then had been considered a communication strategy to a policy in itself,
through its Communication Anew Framework on Cooperation on Activities concerning the
Information and Communication Policy of the European Union. The document divides com-
munication responsibilities between DG Press and Communication and Commission repre-
sentatives of Member States (MS), responsible for passing on information from Brussels and
maintaining relation with the national media. Hence, Member States became mediators of
communication between the EU and European citizens, one of their priorities being to explain
EU policies in order to obtain the support of public opinion (COM (2001) 354 final).
In 2004, Margot Wallstrm became the first commissioner for communication. Ayear later,
the first Barroso Commission launched the Action Plan to improve Communicating Europe
by the Commission. The document identifies a number of issues, such as the fragmentation of
communication, the exclusive focus on media and political elite and the lack of citizen-cen-
tered communication and dialogue at the expense of the predominance of public campaigns.
The EC now underlines the need to focus on listening and communicating with citizens,
by increasing the role of experts in communication, and the financial allocation. The first Bar-
roso Commission (2004 2009) thus emphasizes the importance of going local by listening
better and explaining better. For this purpose, the Commissions Representations in the Mem-
ber States are considered responsible for communicating the Commissions policies and
actions to people in a way that takes into account their specific demands and concerns, and pro-
vide the Government, national stakeholders and regional and local media with timely and rele-
vant information about developments within the Commission (SEC (2005) 985, 10).
Plan D for democracy, dialogue and debate (2005) proposes new measures for going
local: communicating with the media, visits of Commissioners to Member States, consulta-
tions with citizens or partnerships with other institutions. An important role is assigned to the
Commission Representations in Member States: to organize regional events, specific infor-
mation days (Europe Day) and to allow free access to the public regularly in their premises.
The White Paper on a Communication Policy (COM (2006) 35 final) goes a step further than
Plan D, aiming to create a European public sphere. The question of the existence of several
national public spheres at the expense of a European public sphere is brought to the surface
in this document. According to the Commission, this is due to the fragmentation and the lim-
ited space provided by the national media for European issues. The main concern is thus to
ensure national debate on EU-related topics. The responsibility of creating a European pub-
lic sphere belongs to the European institutions, but, as the White Paper stresses, this cannot
be achieved without a close collaboration with Member States, which are regarded as links
for the information transmitted from Brussels to citizens through a decentralization process
of communication. Communicating Europe in Partnership (CEP) (COM (2007) 569 final)
reinforces the key role of MS in communicating EU policies to citizens and media and stim-
ulating debate on European issues at national level.
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3. EU Communication from the Perspective of the
Transmission and Ritual Models
In the first 50 years of EU Communication, the European Commission was primarily
focused on a one-way, top-down communication (from the Commission towards citizens).
After 2000, important efforts have been undertaken in order to integrate citizens feedback in
the communication policy and to stimulate bidirectional communication. Still, the model
underlying EU Communication remains focused on the transmission of information from
Brussels to the Member States; messages are spread with the help of national and European
media, the Commission Representations and national authorities.
In spite of the repeated attempts of the EC to improve communication, a European iden-
tity and, further more, a European public sphere, are concepts that remain largely remote.
Furthermore, the EU seems to be faced with a rise of euro-skepticism. If we turn to the per-
spective proposed by John Dewey, we can correlate this communication failure with the lack
of symbolic communion at a European level. European institutions themselves acknowledge
that the European public sphere is actually a sum or a gathering of national public spheres in
which European issues fall far too rarely and fragmented on the public agenda of both media
and citizens. Europe remains an abstract, distant, incomprehensible concept, that marketing
strategies fail to bring closer to citizens.
The model that underlies most of EU Communication as it is conceptualized now is the
transmission one, while the ritual aspects of public communication are greatly overlooked.
The essential concepts underlying Deweys ritual model are almost entirely missing. Citi-
zens participation in decision-making and the sharing of common experiences are over-
looked in the official communication model adopted by the EU. Although there have been
efforts in recent years to stimulate debate on European issues among citizens, they had poor
result. European symbols are communicated through the simple transfer of information
(visual identity manuals, rules for promotion) and not by ritual communication.
The default theoretical model underlying communication in general and more specifically,
EU Communication, determines its effects on the audience to be addressed (in this case EU citi-
zens). EU Communication Policy and the way it is implemented show a conceptual poverty. Du-
ring the 60 years of communication, the EC remains anchored in the traditional model of infor-
mation transmission. In spite of the successive changes in strategy, the effects remain the same
and the EC risks distancing Europe from the citizens instead of bringing it closer to them.
4. Research into Online Coverage of EU Policies/ EU
Funds in Romania
In this context, we have underlined a research into how Romanian online media cover EU
policies, more specifically EU Regional and Cohesion Policy and the corresponding funds
allocated to its implementation. The 5 research questions were as follows:
1. How do the online media cover the topic of EU funds?
2. What are the main frames for this topic?
3. Is there a relation between journalists source of information and their specific approach?
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4. How well prepared are online media to act as intermediaries in communicating on EU,
in general, and on the EU funds, in particular?
5. What is the implicit communication model that underlies online media communication
on EU funds?
4.1 Methodology
An examination of 100 articles from the two online media sources with the largest audi-
ence in Romania, Hotnews.ro and Ziare.com, was carried out. The last 50 articles and news
(until September 9, 2010) were chosen from the section devoted to European funds in each
portal, in order to capture the general approach to the subject. The research questions deter-
mined using textual analysis as the optimal method of qualitative research. The publication
periods of the articles analyzed were significantly different due to distinct periodicity of pub-
lishing for each media source (July 26 to September 9, 2010: Ziare.com; April 7 to Septem-
ber 9, 2010: Hotnews.ro).
The selection of online resources takes into account the current virtualization trend of tra-
ditional media and is based on the interest to study the image conveyed by journalists, seen
as mediators of information on European subjects, to the young audience (21 40 years).
Among the frequent readers of the two news portals are both the general public, with a high
level of education (higher education), mainly in urban areas, and a specific target group con-
sisting in potential or actual beneficiaries of EU funding under various programs.
The type of analysis used for this research is textual analysis, without a default analysis
grid. Two working frames were identified: Messianic Europe and Penalizing Europe and
the analysis conveyed the following categories:
a. Editorial format: news, article, editorial;
b. Main theme;
c. Causes;
d. Solutions;
e. Arguments;
f. Information sources cited.
4.2 Editorial Format. Style and Significance
In order to explore the interrelation between media format and the content of the two
sources analyzed, a careful analysis of the specific features of each portal is needed. The
image propagated by online media on the broader topic of European funds relies on the
very perception of journalists. How the issue is put on the media agenda, the editorial style
and format and the information sources used by journalists, seen as intermediaries of EU
messages, are codes for deciphering both their perception and the mental representation for-
warded to their audience.
Both portals have assigned a special thematic area to this subjects, which shows that Euro-
pean funds are a topic of interest on the public agenda of online media, although not nece-
ssarily a priority. euROfonduri is placed under the Economic news category on Hot-
news.ro and Funds in the Business category on Ziare.com.
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Three editorial formats were identified for the two sources analyzed, although they are
not always explicitly or intentionally separated: news, articles and editorials. Since Hot-
news.ro and Ziare.com are news portals, news is the predominant format in both cases, but
with a different frequency. On Hotnews.ro the number of articles (22) is close to the number
of news (27), indicating a shift towards interpretation andin depth coverage of the topic,
while Ziare.com prefers the news format (36 pieces of news) rather than articles (11 articles).
Differences appear regarding the editorial style, too. Most articles and news published on
Ziare.com have a short, almost telegraphic format, confined to the communication of infor-
mation from official sources (calls for proposals, absorption stage of different EU programs,
numbers of contracts signed) and quoting or paraphrasing official statements. However, the
range of news published on Hotnews.ro is wider, and in many cases is accompanied by jour-
nalists interpretation or additional information.
An explanation of the two different approaches results from the publishing frequency of
news and articles on each news portal. The analysis of the corpus covers different periods for
each website, the total duration of the examined interval being significantly higher for Hot-
news.ro (about 5 months) then for Ziare.com (1 month and a half). In other words,
Hotnews.ro publishes news or articles on European funds less frequently, with an average of
1 article in 3 days (or 50 in 156 days), while Ziare.com publishes articles in the Funds cat-
egory daily (or 50 in 46 days). The predominance of news format and brief content is there-
fore understandable for this latter source. This tendency also appears in the form of a neutral,
objective, tone, present in many of the news published on Ziare.com (21) compared with
those on Hotnews.ro (16).
The number of editorials is very low for both news portals: during the analysed period, a
single editorial was identified on Hotnews.ro and only three on Ziare.com. At least two rea-
sons can justify the low preference for this format: information on EU funds is largely tech-
nical and not suitable for this format and journalists are not sufficiently trained on the topic
in order to express informed opinions.
The source of news also has an influence. Only 12 news from Ziare.com come from other
sources (NewsIn and Agerpres), over half (27) of the articles and news on Hotnews.ro are
published on EurActiv.ro, as well. Most articles published on Hotnews are written by a jour-
nalist specialized in EU funds and legislation, who is also part of the editorial team of
EurActiv.ro portal. It is therefore expected to have some more professionalized content on
Hotnews and a deeper analysis in comparison to Ziare.com. The frequent references to offi-
cial documents or studies carried out by different institutions confirm this.
At a national level, journalists play the role of opinion leaders who take information from
authorities, who also receive messages from the European Commission. During this three-
step flow of communication, the possibility of interference and distortion of messages is
high. Therefore, any additional interference can cause not only further fragmentation of the
message, but also an altered public perception.
Both online sources rely on the political discourse on the absorption of European funds to
a lesser or greater extent. If Hotnews.ro cites statements of ministers and the Prime Minister
in 9 articles and news, Ziare.com resort to this type of references more often (16 articles and
news). Besides, Hotnews.ro cites various representatives of the authorities that manage the
funds in 11 articles published, while only two of the news on Ziare.com relate to this source.
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Content-wise, a common orientation of the two news portals is noticeable: the presenta-
tion of concrete examples of projects being implemented or contracted, either as case studies
(Project profiles published by Hotnews.ro), or explicitly mentioned in different contexts.
The frequency of this type of examples is higher for Ziare.com (12 news / articles) than for
Hotnews.ro (8 news / articles).
4.3 Themes and Categories in Online Media
In spite of noticeable differences, there is a great similarity in the way in which online
media address the topic of EU funds. The core of the overall media representation is the
highly debated issue of absorption, consistently present both in the national media land-
scape (print and online, televised debates) and, on a recurring basis, in political speeches.
Three major themes are emerging in the online press articles on European funds: absorption
of funds, fraud and irregularities in the management of funds and problems in implementa-
tion of European funded projects.
The most frequent one is the general topic of absorption of EU funds, which occurs in 21
articles out of 50 on Hotnews.ro and 18 of those on Ziare.com. A secondary theme that
occurs less often is the delay of the absorption, the Hotnews journalists being particularly
concerned to identify the causes for the delay.
The amount paid to beneficiaries for projects from EU funds until March 31, 2010 is
nearly 3 billion, according to data published by the Ministry of Finance. Reported to
the 2007-2009 financial allocation, it is about 12.41%, with approximately two per-
centage points over the one at the end of December 2009, which was 10.26%. The
number of contracted projects has reached 2450 and they cover 70% of the EU
money allocated for 2007-2009 (Hotnews.ro: Morovan, April 12, 2010).
Although the absorption of funds is the main theme on both online resources, Ziare.com
treats it in rather general terms, without too many references to specific documents of statis-
tics. The approach appears as a clich repeated not only by journalists, but also by politicians
and national or international authorities; in most cases, the theme has a negative connotation.
I complain about the absorption of Community funds, the Prime Minister com-
plains, the president complains. We should not complain, we must find solutions for
Romania to attract European money. It is priority number one in the Ministry of
Finance, along with combating tax evasion, said Vldescu (Ziare.com: Bodeanu,
July 27, 2010).
Head of the International Monetary Fund mission in Romania, Jeffrey Franks, said
Tuesday that the IMFs main concern is related to the poor absorption of EU funds in
Romania (Ziare.com: Ghinea, July 27, 2010).
A10% of the analyzed articles published by each source have as a primary or secondary
theme frauds and irregularities in the management of funds. The theme is frequently associ-
ated with the media frame of Europe penalizes us by blocking the funds. Media style dif-
fers in the two online portals, the language used by journalists of Ziare.com being rather
biased, while Hotnews.ro adopts a cold approach even for hot topics.
For a start, take the European funds. 15%. This is the rate of absorption of EU funds in
2007-2009. Only 15%. That means tens of billions that were virtually ours and escaped
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us through our fingers. Because of people who are not capable, but especially because of
the disorder that reigns in the field. Corruption, bureaucratic incompetence and bureau-
cratic inefficiency. The result: huge amounts evaporate, which would otherwise be a
blessing to the Romanian economy (Ziare.com: Lumezeanu, August 5, 2010).
The Political Investigation Group (GIP) released Monday the names of 11 companies
in the meat industry where OLAF has already requested full recovery of funds allocat-
ed through the SAPARD program in which OLAF has asked the NAD [National Anti-
corruption Directorate]. According to the GIP press. OLAF challenges the Romanian
authorities to meet their obligations and to fully recover the SAPARD funds for proj-
ects implemented by fraudulent means (Hotnews.ro: Mixich, August 2, 2010).
A third common theme found on both websites refer to the most frequent problems
encountered by funds beneficiaries. Ziare.com does not insist on this issue, treating it spo-
radically, Hotnews.ro tries a broader approach. The theme is placed in a special category of
articles presenting the Project profiles in order to identify specific or general problems faced
by different types of beneficiaries:
An entrepreneur in Caransebe received a Structural Funds grant for the purchase of
machinery and equipment in the wood processing industry. He claims that he lost over
$10,000, on the other hand, which went on interests paid to the bank for unexpected
delays in the project implementation. He wanted to tell his story for EurActiv.ro for other
beneficiaries to learn from his mistakes (Hotnews.ro: Morovan, April 15, 2010).
Significant differences have emerged as a result of the textual analysis. While the two
news portals have common themes and topics, the approach varies. The editorial format and
frequency of publishing contribute to the nature of these distinctions between Hotnews.ro
and Ziare.com manner of covering the EU funds. Further differentiations are identified and
strengthened within the next step of the analysis, regarding causes identified by journalists
for the low absorption rate.
4.4 The Issue of the Absorption of Funds. A Causal Perspective
12 main causes leading to a low rate of absorption of EU funds (as the main common
theme) were identified in the articles published by the two news portals analyzed. In order of
their frequency, these are: delays in project implementation, providing the co-financing, pro-
curement, complaints during public tenders, long process of evaluation/selection of project
proposals and late contracting, reduced rhythm of spending the money, bureaucracy, political
interests, banks reluctance to grant loans for co-financing, reduced number or non-special-
ized staff in the institutions managing the funds, delayed reimbursements, disagreements
between institutions that manage the funds, projects low appeal to the banking sector
(dubbed bankability).
The number and frequency of references to the identified causes differ significantly from
one source to another. A total of 63 references appear in the articles published on
Hotnews.ro, with only 24 references on Ziare.com. This further reveals Hotnews.ros edito-
rial emphasis on explaining the central issue of the local media landscape a low rate of the
absorption through an in-depth study of the cause effect relationship.
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4 out of the 12 causes identified by Hotnews.ro are missing from the articles on Ziare.com.
Frequent references on Hotnews such as those relating to banks reluctance (references in 7
out of 50 articles), the delay of reimbursement (6 articles), or the less often regarded to causes
like disagreements between the authorities and bankability (2 references each) are omitted
by Ziare.com. In addition, the hierarchy of causes differs substantially. Hotnews.ro prioritizes
articles on co-funding debate (references in 9 articles out of 50), on the evaluation process or
the reluctance of banks to grant credits (7 articles). Ziare.com does not appear to be interested
in these issues; it considers as key causes of the low absorption rate problems such as delays
in project implementation, bureaucracy and political interests (approximately 5 references
each), the last two issues being considered as less relevant by Hotnews.
Both the type of prioritization and the approach of the causes identified by each source
show the fundamentally different positioning of the two media portals on the broader issue
of EU funds. Hotnews.ro adopts a more professional attitude, seeking a rational, in-depth
and argumentative interpretation, justified by references to official documents, studies or
consultations with third parties. Ziare.com displays a tabloid-like style, which is used not
only for editorials, but also for news format (choice of title). The news portal is prone to a
sensational journalistic style (especially in editorials) and on a telegraphic news format.
Another aspect that is brought to the surface by textual analysis is that the media vocabu-
lary regarding European funds is not yet sufficiently well defined. Both portals mainly use
the term European funds, while other formulations also appear: EU funds, EU money,
Structural funds, Structural Instruments, Community funds. Ziare.com journalists
prefer the more accessible EU money formulation, which appears in 14 news out of 50
(especially in headlines), unlike in Hotnews articles, with only 3 such references.
4.5 Media Format as a Vector of Public Opinion
The textual analysis shows two major frames in which messages on EU funds are framed:
Messianic Europe (European funds are the safe and quick way out of economic crisis)
and Europe penalizes us (Romania may be placed in a position to return the European
money, blocking of EU funds).
The frequency of the two frames is significantly different from one source to another. The
two media frames appear in only 7 articles on Hotnews.ro and only in the context of state-
ments or messages from third parties (government representatives, European Commission,
other national or international authorities). This indicates a lack of identification of journalists
with the above-mentioned frames. On the other hand, the media frames appear in 17 articles
(more than one third of all news and articles) published on Ziare.com. Most of the references
are placed in the context of quoting other sources, but they also appear in editorials or news
where the voice of journalists is apparent, indicating an identification with the two frames.
There is a common tendency of the two news portals analyzed to look at the two portals in
terms of the risk of losing EU funds rather than the rescue opportunity coming from Europe. If
the pre- and post-accession euro-enthusiasmprevailed in the media three years after Romanias
EU accession, an euro-skeptical attitude emerges (at least in the online media). The results of
the textual analysis identify a number of links to the Europe penalizes us media frame that is
almost double to that of Messianic Europe. The way these frames are distributed between the
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two sources is also relevant to their editorial style. On Hotnews.ro only one article refers to the
latter frame, placed in the Prime Minister Emil Bocs statement European funds are the safe
and quick way out of the economic crisis (Hotnews.ro: Prvoiu, August 6, 2010); such refer-
ences are more frequent on Ziare.com (8 news and articles).
There are several different ways of framing messages about European funds within the
wider image of Messianic Europe: European funds represent the solution for the economic
crisis; European funds are the key to the development of various sectors (economy, agricul-
ture, infrastructure) and European funds are free money. The Messianic Europe media frame
is reflected both in editorials, presenting the journalists own perception,
For a start, take the European funds. 15%. This is the rate of absorption of EU funds
in 2007-2009 [] huge amounts of money evaporate, which would otherwise be a
blessing to the Romanian economy (Ziare.com: Lumezeanu, August 5, 2010)
and the perception of other stakeholders:
tefan Niculae, Agrostar Federation president, says that Romania is sitting on a bag
of money which we might receive from the EU to develop agriculture (***, tefan
Niculae: Romania is sitting on a bag of money. July 30, 2010. Accessed: September 4,
2010.
http://www.ziare.com/economie/agricultura/stefan-niculae-romania-sta-pe-un-sac-
de-bani-1032454).
In both online sources, the frame Europe penalizes us by blocking funds appears more
often. This perception is justified, but the way it is introduced imprints it with dramatic con-
notations, the theme being treated unilaterally by both news portals. The frame appears in
correlation with strong negative connotations such as: danger, losing money, risk,
money disappearing, to claim refunds. Europe penalizes us frame appears in six articles
on Hotnews, in the context of political statements or information received from the European
Commission and other relevant authorities. In political speeches the frame is most common-
ly associated with the broader theme of absorption. The issue is regarded in a cause effect
perspective: delays in implementing the European-funded projects result in a low rate of
absorption, which translates into the loss of European money.
In Slaj, the rehabilitation of Ciuc-Crasna-Vrolt road. Works contract was signed
with a delay of 12 months. Again, you will say that we still have time; 12 months of
delay, I repeat, puts Romania in a position to be in danger of losing European money,
said Emil Boc (Hotnews.ro: Morovan, August 27, 2010).
Prime Minister Emil Boc warned certain beneficiaries of European funds to be attentive
to the implementation of projects [...] Because of these delays, Romania risks being put
in the position to return the European money (Hotnews.ro: Prvoiu, August 6, 2010).
Messages transmitted by authorized sources confirm and strengthen the perception
according to which Europe penalizes us by requesting the return of funds or by reducing the
amount of money. The textual analysis outlines a transformation from the Messianic Europe
image to the representation of a distant and relentless arbitrator, transformation consolidated
by the European Commission and other supra-national actors (IMF):
The consequences of not meeting the Growth and Stability Pact requirements
include a measure relating to the reduction of European funds, measure which would
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actually affect the new Member States, major beneficiaries of these funds, rather than
several isolated regions in old member states (Hotnews.ro: Bljan, May 12, 2010).
He [Jeffrey Franks, the representative of IMF mission in Romania] said that if these
funds are not used until the end of availability, all these money will disappear, no
longer be available for Romania (Ziare.com: Ghinea, July 27, 2010).
A dramatic tone is reinforced by different sources that intermediate the communication
flow between the European Commission and the Romanian citizens. The causes of a poten-
tial suspension of funds are diversified, amplifying the negative perception of a Europe that
penalizes us. Suspension of funding is attributed to fraud, strengthening the image of
redeeming Europe that punishes a corrupt Romania:
Because of fraud, it is possible that European funds be blocked, says Teodorovici
[Eugen Teodorovici, former Secretary of State in the Ministry of Finance]. The
Commission always says it, but who needs to hear it does not want to hear it. There is
the possibility that European funds on a particular program or even all, depending on
how serious the problem is, may be suspended temporarily or, worse, on a very long
term. During which the Romanian state should cover the money, do what hasnt done
and then, after solving that problem, persuade the Commission to request the release
and the resumption of payments, Teodorovici explained (Ziare.com: Bodeanu,
August 9, 2010).
In addition to the messages collected from different sources mentioned above, the journal-
ist himself, as bastion of public opinion, sets his seal to the image of a Europe that penalizes us:
If it is only a Romanian engineering or simply a mioritic naivety, approved insti-
tutions will decide. The fact is that Romania is losing money annually, money with
which it should build up the country, heighten it, and the situation must change
(Ziare.com: Rdulescu, August 11, 2010).
It is clear from the textual analysis results that the two media frames are applied as a form
of simplifying the mental representations of the EU funds issues. We consider that the frames
are relevant for Ziare.com much more than for Hotnews.ro, whose journalists try to keep
their distance from these patterns and avoid citing the avalanche of political statements that
refer to them.
4.6 Discussion
We consider it necessary to place the coverage of EU funds into a larger context. Amid a
worsening economic crisis and the impoverishment of the national finance, European funds
have become a priority issue in the political and public discourse. The IMF loan (together
with regular visits from the IMF representatives) and the decrease in budget revenues ampli-
fy the pressure felt in the collective mentality and determine the search for redeeming solu-
tions. In this context public attention has moved towards European funds, seen as an exit
from the crisis and potential return on an upward economic trend. But Messianic Europe is
dethroned by numerous messages received from various sources on Romanias inability to
capitalize on the opportunity of free money. Ordinary citizens remain caught in the
antagonistic conflict between a Messianic Europe and one that penalizes us for a collective
160 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
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failure. Media messages, institutional leaders and the European Commission thus seem to
anticipate a dramatic denouement to which the citizen only passively assists.
The European funds remain the only real issue in the local media landscape that brings us
closer to the abstract concept of a European public sphere. Media discourse is still poorly
structured, although, as the analysis shows (for Hotnews.ro), there are efforts towards the
professionalization of the field and the specialization of journalists. The information
received by the audience from the online media is not necessarily useful, in many cases
being transmitted in emotional terms only. Media do not necessarily distort the content of the
message content; rather, the interference occurs due to selection and prioritization of infor-
mation. So the final message transmitted to the large public tends to mentally frame the EU
funds theme within a good bad dichotomy.
The answers to the research question can be summarized as follows. Online media cover
the topic of EU funds by focusing on one main issue, which is the absorption and, more
specific, the low rate of absorption. Though the approach is different, two main frames are
common for both sources analyzed: Messianic Europe and Europe penalizes us. One reason
for the differences between the two news portals comes from the sources of information. Our
analysis shows that the sources chosen by journalists determine the approach adopted in the
articles. This premise is most evident in the case of articles quoting political statements,
which automatically induce and reinforce a series of clichs. While Hotnews.ro is rather
reluctant and much more selective in quoting political statements, Ziare.com falls back more
often on this information source. This leads to different approaches and to a different weight
of the identified frames.
5. Conclusions
There is a common theme for both online resources analyzed, a theme that seems to dom-
inate the entire media scene: the low rate of the absorption of EU funds. Although both
Ziare.com and Hotnews.ro are concerned with identifying the causes and possible solutions
for this issue, their prioritization and approach differ substantially. Hotnews.ro seeks a deep-
ening of the causes that delay absorption, while Ziare.com treats the theme more stereotypi-
cally (bureaucracy, political interests) and adopts a more telegraphic style. With due differ-
ences, the number of individual media investigations and editorials from both sources is very
low, with journalists being rather content with simply quoting official information.
The online media analysis confirms that the communication model underlying the EU
Communication is a transmission model. Journalists play the role of gatekeepers, forward-
ing the information from the national or European authorities and institutions to the general
public. Most of the articles are purely informative, quoting official sources without evaluat-
ing or interpreting their messages. Messages about European funds are placed in two major
media frames: Messianic Europe and Europe penalizes penalizing us, but only the jour-
nalists from Ziare.com appear to identify themselves with these subjective perceptions. The
two frames can be considered a distortion of the messages transmitted by the European
Commission, mainly conveyed in political statements. Within both sources, there are signi-
ficantly more references to Europe penalizes us frame than to Messianic Europe frame.
Reconfigurations of the European Public Sphere 161
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162 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
There appears a slow demythologization of the panacea image of the EU funds, in contrast to
the prior enthusiasm that dominated the media outlook during the accession period.
Questions still remain regarding the deliberative ability of media players and their readi-
ness to assume the role of intermediaries of information about European funding. The wider
process of developing a European public sphere involves both critical engagement of media
representatives and a collective responsibility of the communication intermediaries.
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Constructing a Cosmopolitan Public
through Deliberative Journalism
The Case of Romanian Media Civic Campaigns
Mlina CIOCEA*
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration,
Bucharest, Romania
Abstract: This paper
1
will discuss the role of the media in constructing a cosmopolitan public. We will
analyze a recent mobilizing campaign of a Romanian newspaper (Jurnalul Naionals Resistance Move-
ment) in order to show how the Romanian media build a potential cosmopolitan space by involving the pub-
lics imagination into a project of value redefinition. The research hypothesis I start from is that the journal-
ists thematic cut-up and the choice of medium mobilize the cosmopolitan sensibilities of the public.
Endowed with deliberative instruments in a participative environment and presented with a controversial
topic, the public gains a new identity as a reflexive producer of culture. Such militant campaigns initiated by
the media integrate the public in a cosmopolitan civic perspective.
Keywords: cosmopolitan public, deliberative journalism, public sphere, media civic campaigns, media
morality
1. Introduction
My analysis draws on recent developments in cultural theory regarding the role of the
media in constructing and promoting a global civil society. By discussing the efficiency of
several civic campaigns initiated in the media whose declared finality is value reconstruc-
tion, I will appraise medias role in the formation of a cosmopolitan community.
The perspective assumed in this paper is fed by discourses on globalization as the driving
force behind (yet another) dramatic change in the social landscape. Among the very dense
haze of globalization studies, one track is of utmost interest here: the study of the rise of a
*
Contact: malina.ciocea@comunicare.ro.
1
This paper is the result of research conducted as part of the research project Fenomenul migraiei
forei de munc i formarea publicului diasporic: impactul asupra spaiului public i a practicilor insti-
tuionale [The phenomenon of the migration of workforce and the formation of the diasporic public: impact
on public space and institutional practices] (project coordinator: Professor Camelia Beciu), financed by the
National University Research Council.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 163
global public sphere giving a voice to various self-reflexive publics. If to this idea we add the
contention that the media are instrumental in the creation of this global public sphere, we
have a very rich conceptual background that deserves some discussion before proceeding in
our analysis of the new identities of the journalists and the public. The first part of the paper
will then follow the complex changes in the nature of the public sphere (encouraging multi-
plicity of perspectives) and its actors (growingly aware of the deliberative instruments
available to them) and discuss medias role in shaping cosmopolitan sensibilities.
2. Transformations in the Public Sphere
While analysts questions as to the locus of an emerging global society are still waiting
for a new methodology exempt from the bonds of national space and limitations, the age-old
concept of public sphere might well serve as provisional site.
That the term public sphere should be allowed to signify public spheres where a variety
of self-reflexive publics are at work, is quite self-understood ever since Habermas refined
the idea of the public sphere as a network permitting exchange of viewpoints. The reflexivi-
ty of publics is further emphasized by Appadurais understanding of mediascapes and
ideoscapes as constructs molded by actors various backgrounds. While mediascapes are
rather centered on images and based on reality narratives, and ideoscapes belong to the polit-
ical realm of ideologies, both are enabling for actors, since they offer pooled resources for
building new contexts (be they semiotic or political).
Back in the XVIII
th
century the public sphere as a functional element in the political
realm was given the normative status of an organ for the self-articulation of civil society with
a state authority corresponding to its needs (Habermas, 1989: 74). Now the political public
sphere is subject to the influence of two competing processes: the communicative generation
of legitimate power (which communication processes, while interlinked and inclusive, are
legitimated by weak institutions) and the manipulative deployment of media power to pro-
cure mass loyalty, consumer demand, and <compliance> with systemic imperatives (which
is more of an interference in the public sphere, based on alternative referential frames
Habermas, 1992: 452). If power is now exercised by various actors following competing
agendas, it is to be expected that they will attempt to identify and create their own publics,
consequently multiplying perspectives and encouraging eccentric (if not individual) choices.
In these circumstances, the principle of rationality makes room for impulsive/emotional reac-
tion (rational-critical debate gave way to the consumption of culture Calhoun, 1992: 21).
The pessimistic view of a degraded public sphere not serving its purpose may find a coun-
terpart in a stance where the multiplication of publics and public spaces would allow various
identities to express themselves. In this postmodern view, trivialization (the invasion of private
matters into the public space) would stretch the field of choice for identities, commercialization
(producing on demand) would make ideas accessible by forging them on the framework of
working-class culture, spectacle (replacing rational debate with spectacular communication)
would accentuate the appeal to emotions, fragmentation (into distinct, overlapping public
spheres) would allow public debate from different perspectives, and deplored apathy towards
public matters would be in fact a new way of doing politics and being politically involved
164 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
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(McKee, 2005). We may recognize in this analysis the tokens of global culture: global reach,
diversity, polyphony, empowerment. It is not insignificant that Habermas himself acknow-
ledges the critical potential of the public, become pluralistic (Habermas, 1992: 438).
3. The Cosmopolitan Actors and their Power
Despite contrasting visions of a global community, the concept of a global society bring-
ing together people from different cultures, sharing the same ideals, is very much the talk of
the day. The view (often dismissed as a highly utopian empty concept) comes as a continua-
tion of the more comfortable idea of globalization as an instance of modernization, which
has come to signify an emancipation from the strains of national topography (community
included). Whether globalization is, au fond, a continuation, albeit in an intensified and
accelerated form, of the perduring challenge of modernization (Berger, 2002: 16), or a post-
modern stance involving the loss of national perspectives, it follows that all concepts per-
taining to modernity should be at least revised, if not re-defined, to answer the challenges of
the process. Defenders of globalization as a distinct historical epoch call for the necessity of
an ideology that would govern, organize and imbue this state.
No study of global projects can be attempted without the critical investigation of the ide-
ological project called <globalism>. (Steger, 2007: 380) The general feeling among
globalist academia is that global flows of objects, images and discourses of universal appeal
somehow have the edge over national imagination. Still, such competitive advantage loses
its force in the absence of a global community that would manage the flows for the benefit of
the world. In creating this new loyalty, emancipation is a significant process emancipation
not only from space (as in Scholtes concept of deterritorialized experience), but also from
time and collective memory (Beck, 2002: 27). Consequently we should not understand that
the geocultural and geolinguistic locations of modernity (a term coined by Mignolo, 1998:
38, to discuss civilization processes) belong to the non-space of globality, but that they are
rather reinterpretations of natural allegiances.
The ideological deconstruction of modern national perspectives should be followed by a
new critical theory which might well be cosmopolitanism. Acosmopolitan social and political
perspective would need to build a moral authority (which some researchers believe to be
grounded in the language of universal individual rights and needs Hunter and Yates,
2002: 338), but also open up negotiation spaces and strategies which the national viewpoint
precludes, such as relations of power in the global arena or the power of actors in new polit-
ical networks (Beck, 2007: 175). Changes in the geography of global cultural interactions
(Held et al., 2004: 387, Scholte, 2000: 59, Scholte, 2003: 85, Smith, 2003: 279), the spreading
of modern cultural institutions (Tomlinson, 2003, 270), the plurality of cultures (following the
earlier fragmentation of societies Connor, 2000: 376), increasing reflexivity impacting the
structure of social relations (Giddens, 2005: 63), are all signs of a shift in the symbolic struc-
ture of the world (Thompson, 2003: 246), where culture is power (see Castells, 1999). The
global civil sphere would harbor the production and negotiation of meaning (Schirato and
Webb, 2003: 137, discussing Hardts and Negris proposition in Empire).
Cosmopolitans do not share a common past, but project a paradigm of communitarian
bonding in the future. The moral epistemology that feeds cosmopolitanism (Appiah, 2004),
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irrespective of its vagueness in present, would have the double advantage of imagining a
new cultural order and of projecting it in the future. The cosmopolitan agreement on values
and their weight would not lead to harmony without the necessary companion of pluralism,
which Appiah (2006) calls fallibilism (admitting that our share of knowledge is imperfect).
Part of the problem in trying to seize the loyalties of citizens towards a cosmopolitan
ideal lies in the disjuncture between imagined and real communities. One solution would be
to allow imagination to play its part in designing new patterns of collective life (Appadurai,
1996) that would help communities not only imagine better worlds, but construct them.
Within this frame research of social build-ups would play the part of imagination going prac-
tical (Appadurai, 2000).
Before Beck, cosmopolitanism was seen as departing from the natural order of local
attachment and entering the fuzzy, abstract order of non-attachment. Beck claims that cos-
mopolitanization means internal globalization, globalization from within the national soci-
eties (Beck, 2002: 17). Banal cosmopolitanism (Ong, 2008) or grassroots globalization
(Appadurai) characterizes those individuals who behave as cosmopolitans because of globa-
lization awareness (Axford and Huggins). Although lacking in some respects the visible side
of performance, this form of low globalization could shape the cosmopolitan society to
whom it feeds a narration which, in time, could create loyalty, very much like loyalty to
localism. Cosmopolitanism is, basically, an alternative to modernization as put forward by
the given cultural paradigm. By questioning the value attached to inherited principles, the
cosmopolitan creates culturally significant practices that form that system of meanings
which, in Goodmans vision, is necessary for validating cosmopolitanism as an ideology
(An analysis of global culture requires the identification of a set of practices that consti-
tute a cultural field Goodman 2007: 335).
Global culture does not demand absolute loyalty from individuals (all sectors of the
emerging global culture enhance the independence of the individual over against tradition
and collectivity Berger, 9). The significant influence of global culture is evident in the
reconstruction of identity: the individual acts as an autonomous producer of culture, taking a
critical attitude towards community culture. The individual can construct her own hybrid
cultural paradigm, putting together values from diverse cultures which resonate with her
principles, values which might be more or less harmonized, but dramatically influence the
cultural behavior of the individual, who feels freed from the pressure of the official cul-
ture. It is this process of individualization that spills into a new ethic of personal cultural
programming. (Lull, 2000) While culture is still a staple space for identity construction,
the locus of much cultural activity today is shifting from structure and tradition to indi-
vidual persons and their chosen networks that are composed of varying degrees of proximi-
ty and mediation. (Lull, 2006: 45)
Global culture comes with its own set of values, already simplified, tagged and self-explana-
tory, and with their own interpretation grid which attaches significance to values. The individual
accepts the convention of this grid, since this form of culture does not bring about the obligation
of final attachment (Multiple allegiances and identities are often quoted among the liberating
features of a global community.) The alleged freedom of the individual (individuals are
autonomous, rational, resourceful, and acquisitive, pragmatic ... self-directed agents
Hunter and Yates: 339 340) is, however, quite limited in the very relativity offered to her.
166 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
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4. Medias Role in Creating the Global Public Sphere
The media have long been pinpointed as instrumental in negotiating and reflecting the
meanings and ideological allegiances of individuals and communities. So long, that the com-
plex relations of power between the media and its public have been clichd (Curran, 2006:
139). Understanding the complex exchanges between media and the publics, the power rela-
tions governing them, the configuration of the knowledge circulated among them, the fields
of action opened up to the publics thus empowered and the ethical implications of this inter-
change is, undoubtedly, one of the most fertile grounds to explore in future years (in the
encouraging words of Couldry, a new map of media studies should include two crucial
landmarks (knowledge, agency) that, assuming media research still wants a critical edge,
imply a third (ethics) Couldry, 2006: 187). We find here much to encourage our analysis
on how the media shape the public matters by involving an active public.
In the age of increasing reflexivity, the media appropriate the reflective instruments need-
ed to turn spectators (long thought of as passive and weak) into an active, conscientious pu-
blic. If, along this reality, one goes a step further towards the ideal of an ethical public space,
then the media should be seen as a moral force enabling and creating such representations.
The permanent negotiation of meaning and opinion (the contrapuntal seen by Silverstone,
2007, as the mediating logic governing the mediapolis) allows the creation of a moral public
life (our media provide the most pervasive and persuasive perceptual frameworks, in an
increasingly global society, for the way in which meanings, representations and relationships
to the other are offered and defined Silverstone, 2007: 101). If we employ Jeffrey Alexan-
ders definition of the civil society as containing not only symbolic categories but also struc-
tures of feeling (among which, the idea of the public as it has inserted itself into social sub-
jectivity Alexander, 2006: 72), we must allow for the media (as a communicative
institution) to provide interpretations and define representations of the public.
Although there is still no theory of the relationship between media and cosmopolitan
identity development (media and morality currently lacks a sophisticated and rounded
theorization and examination of the relationship between the media and the development of
a moral identity an identity that has come to be described as cosmopolitan Ong, 5), it is
not far-fetched to claim that the media are able to build empathy between local and distant
communities and nurture attachment to cosmopolitan identity. By encouraging reflexivity,
media take a stand on inducing social change. One of their instruments is mediation, defined
by Silverstone as the dialectical process in which institutionalized media of communication
are involved in the general circulation of symbols in social life (Silverstone, 2007: 109). It
is shaped towards the ideal foundation of the mediapolis by the proper distance (which might
be seen as the kind approach of difference), trust (in the view the media take), complicity and
collusion (in accepting the mediation of the media) and responsibility (for such shaping). A
step further is to see mediation as a political process insofar as its potential to define public
response and cosmopolitan traits in spectators (Chouliaraki, 2006: 18).
The dilemma is how to negotiate between the consequence of such mediation (namely,
the creation of a cosmopolitan public) and public action. The ethical role of the media
derives not only from responsibility to educate the public (if not yet global, through the work
of transnational flows, then at least cosmopolitan, through the build up of its moral sphere by
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means of universal values), but from the infinitely more difficult task of inviting public
action in the name of the cosmopolitan sensibility it has thus created. The moral issues
involved by mediation derive from two transformations it brings about: immediacy and
deterritorialization, both of which raise the issue of rendering various moral horizons ade-
quate (Tomlinson, 2002: 252). In line with Tomlinson (who asks for taming moral issues
from distant spaces, rather than require people to cover the moral distance), Chouliaraki
tackles the problematic of governmentality associated with mediation, given its potential
to influence the conduct of the public (Chouliaraki, 2006: 71). For instance, the position of
reflexive identification of ecstatic news allows spectators to feel for and with distant suffer-
ers (Chouliaraki, 2006: 187), which amounts to cosmopolitan disposition (by breaking with
the moral horizon of the locality, only to accede to universal morality). The long-standing
issue of media power is thus refined by the trickier problem of media responsibility.
5. The Case of Romanian Media Civic Campaigns
5.1 Hypothesis
It is now time to see how these changes in the public sphere and in the positions assumed
by journalists and the public (and the subsequent transformations in the media role) work in
the Romanian media landscape. The research hypothesis I start from in this analysis is that
the journalists thematic cut-up and the choice of medium mobilize the cosmopolitan sensi-
bilities of the public. Endowed with deliberative instruments in a participative environment
and presented with a controversial topic, the public gains a new identity as a reflexive pro-
ducer of culture. Such militant campaigns initiated by the media integrate the public in a cos-
mopolitan civic perspective.
From among the initiatives that have lately been launched in the Romanian media land-
scape (the news channel Realitatea TV, We demand respect!, the internet websites, blogs
and Facebook), campaigns brought together by protest aimed at deficient public communi-
cation, politicians irreverent attitude towards citizens, lack of vision in Romanian politics
and pervasive media ignorance of true values, I have chosen the ongoing campaign of Jur-
nalul Naional, Resistance Movement. Following the troublesome political campaigns of
2009, some newspapers and TV channels took an unprecedented stand against what they
denounced as utter immorality of Romanian public sphere, and their campaigns have echoed
in the public, rallying support from a whole range of public figures and anonymous citizens.
The ethos of mobilizing campaigns in Romanian media is quite rich: Generaia ateptat,
Generaia expirat [Waited-for Generation, Expired Generation] initiated by Cotidianul in
2006, and meant to identify agents of change and their counterparts, 10 pentru Romania [10 for
Romania], initiated by Realitatea TV, searching for influential personalities, Martor Ocular
[Eye Witness], inviting Realitatea TVs watchers to post videos on the site denouncing short-
comings in the system. Jurnaluls campaign is illustrative for the symbolic mechanisms
employed in the press for constructing a new social imagery and public culture, involving new
social practices of the public. It is also relevant for a certain complicity between a public that
trusts media enough to join the deliberative game it lays forth, and the media that incorporates
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Reconfigurations of the European Public Sphere 169
the public into a setting of participative journalism. This complicity serves an educational final-
ity. For the public, participation in the campaign is a way of appropriating and cultivating cos-
mopolitan disposition, while for the media it is a way of developing and polishing the deliber-
ative discourse, and learning the techniques for building a public matter with the help of an
active public.
Jurnalul Naional is one of the few quality papers in Romania which managed to survive
in print (with a readership of around 67.000 copies), partly due to its accompanying Library
for all books (reviving a much loved collection of good Romanian literature), and its supple-
ments and Sunday papers on health and lifestyle. Jurnalul changed its identity several times
from its launch in 1993, from tabloid to The Guardian-like format. The target audience is
educated people between 20 and 40, with an above average income. Editorials signed by per-
sonalities in the press, in economics and politics are accompanied by investigations and fea-
ture articles on less known events in the Communist times. Part of a powerful media holding
under the influence of opposition groups, Jurnalul has hosted a series of debates on Romani-
ans identity and values. Its editor, Marius Tuc, gained a reputation as an objective journal-
ist, following his TV show in the mid-nineties, and is now at the forefront of Jurnaluls cam-
paigns, many of them focusing on denouncing faults in the system and attempting a redress.
5.2 Elements of Methodology
Given the scope of the paper, one should perhaps wonder about the most appropriate
instruments to employ in the analysis. Any attempt at analyzing media role in promoting cos-
mopolitan values is in danger of falling down on several important points, the most promi-
nent of which is probably that concerning the incongruity between instruments and scope.
Global or cosmopolitan seem abstractions in the absence of the more salient national
perspective. Before tackling the issue of cosmopolitan perspectives within nationally delim-
ited campaigns, however, we will follow the thematic construction and the involvement
devices employed in the campaigns, in an attempt to demonstrate that the choice of medium
and themes is instrumental in the construction of cosmopolitanism. Integrating in such an
approach the three ensembles (semio-discursive, socio-communicative and of interpretation)
which, in Charaudeaus view (1997), should govern the study of social discourses, seems a
reasonable approach. Since the media have a role in constructing allegiances of the individ-
ual, the themes and instruments it chooses to put forward are relevant for the complex shifts
of the publics perspective. So are the fields of action opened up as a result of debating both
the issues and the ethical choices laid out to the public. Consequently, we have introduced in
the methodological grid the followign elements: the position of journalists towards the issues
launched and towards the contributing public, the symbolic distance created as a result of the
complex interactions between the journalists, the personalities and the anonymous readers,
the types of participation and alliances proposed by the online forum, and the types of actors
that are valued (the identities that are legitimized, the conventions and values of such actors).
With such instruments we will attempt to outline how journalists construct public matters
starting from general interest themes opened up to a public endowed with instruments of
deliberative discussion.
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5.3 The Thematic Orientation
The thematization space is relevant since it helps construct an axiological imaginary. The
campaign approaches themes that are under subdued circulation among the public: national
values are ignored, value appreciation follows arbitrary criteria, the political sphere perverts
values, loyalty towards true values is at an all-time low.
The finality condition proclaimed by Jurnalul is to engage the public in developing an
inventory of true values and act based on them. The vocation of permanent beginnings has
been bewailed by many analysts as one of the prominent (and disturbing) features of Roman-
ian culture. The constant attempt of cultural personalities to lay the foundations of their work
on the ruins of former orientations and schools of thought, and the accompanying effort of
defining Romanians representative values, are the underlying enterprise of centuries of cul-
tural creation. In this respect, the theme of the campaign launched by Jurnalul is not a new dis-
covery. TV station Realitateas campaign, launched on its site (We demand respect!) at about
the same time with Jurnaluls, is strikingly similar, as we will see below. Nor is a novelty the
treatment of value rejuvenation in the media and not in more traditional cultural settings.
Jurnaluls campaign, started in the print and online edition, moves towards a platform where
petitions can be posted and signed by users (petitieonline.ro), Realitateas campaign, launched
on the site of the TV channel, invites comments on Voxpublica, its platform of comments,
blogs and opinions, only to be picked up on socializing networks.
The choice of themes already announces the complicity between the journalists and the
public, revolving around a mutual understanding of what is good for society. The manifesto
of Jurnaluls campaign, written by Marius Tuc and posted on the campaign page (hosted by
the site of the newspaper), identifies the most stringent issues of society, from Everybodys
perspective, and vilifies the political class as corrupt, lacking vision, will and character. The
threat to Romanias value system is denounced as immediate, inevitable and tragic in its con-
sequences. Jurnalul posts different articles motivating the initiative (Because we receive EU
funds but arent able to spend them, we have started the Resistance Movement! Because we
have been singing <Wake up, Romanians!> for 20 years and are still sleeping, we have start-
ed the Resistance Movement!). Most reasons are gathered from the area of value/non-value,
but the cut-up is unequal in terms of relevance or prominence (from fallacies in reason to
failings to recognize true literary figures, for instance), probably in order to allow readers
identification with an array of social perspectives. Taking a stand against lack of civic action
or ignorance of communitarian values is at the forefront of the discourses.
While this first stage is militant in tone and intention, the second stage introduces a more
pronounced deliberative tone. The editorial of this new stage, Were we born in the right
place? Why would you stay in Romania? Why would you leave Romania?, gives a descrip-
tion of the desolate Romanian landscape and lists some areas of discontent, among which
politics (and a particular understanding of democracy). Dreaming of running away from
Romania becomes habitual, as it was during Ceausescus time. Despite all this, people
return home because of inner nonsense. Reasons for leaving are bizarre mentalities, indif-
ferent and corrupt politicians; the counter-arguments are more emotionally laden: the color
of Christmas and love and sweet language. The journalists posts are imbued with cultural
imagery and idioms, while personalities interventions are emotional and defensive. In the
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words of a journalist, Talking about your relationship with Romania is like talking about
your relationship with religion, with church. Much too intimate.
The strategies of assembling information and delivering it from a perspective result in
giving pre-interpreted information to the readers (ever since Goffman, frames serve not only
for defining the situation, but also for interpreting it.) The retrospective construction of the
event, for instance, derives legitimacy from previous states. The manifesto of Jurnalul cam-
paign relies heavily on images of a distant, untainted past of fully-fledged values which, in
time, have degenerated into negative reflections. The problem identified is approached in the
name of collective actors.
The insufficient symbolic capital (sparse criteria for selecting values or establishing their
representativity) is not the only argument that can be brought against the campaign. Critics
emphasize various constraints (such as the difficulty of transfering a list of desirable values
and behaviours into real life) and the ethical dimensions of the campaign. If the campaign is
just a media concept based on spectacular devices, is it moral to invite confessions of the pub-
lic on very sensitive themes? The question can be answered if the journalists are entrusted
with a second finality (besides that of legitimizing their own discourse by the use of anony-
mous voices): attempting a change in the publics behaviour. We will tackle this issue below.
5.4 Mechanisms for Involving the Public
What is relatively new in such campaigns is the treatment of the theme (value definition)
in a new medium (the online forum involving direct participation) by new actors (the reading
public). The mere access granted to the public to new forms of representation is not a great
breakthrough. What is groundbreaking is that the journalists make use of a new medium to
select a public and endow this public with two instruments: the deliberative mode (forcing
the public to acquire some competence not only in the topic, but also in building arguments
to qualify their assertions) and the rhetoric of emotions generating discursive effects.
In order to identify the types of actors aimed at, selected and given visibility by the jour-
nalists, we will take a look at the types of participation open to the public and at the network-
ing between the different participants. While any public involves rituals of participation and
sociability, the unstable nature of an online public invited to debate a sensitive issue with
some level of competence requires mediation from journalists that first offered the instru-
ment of online deliberation. Besides legitimizing a theme (and the accompanying arguments
developing it), by means of deliberative campaigns the journalists legitimize a citizen-public
(and its accompanying emotions).
The campaign parades a manifesto, an anthem (sung by known figures of Romanian
music) and the odd personality (actors, professionals, writers) supporting the initiative. The
public are invited to join the movement (a list of Movement members is provided on the
website) and to post reasons why they would or would not leave Romania. In terms of avail-
ability, the Movement is quite visible (a banner sends to the site from the main page of the
online edition), and the public can choose whether to pass as generic identity (a reader) or
in person (with full name) when writing on the forum. The second stage of the campaign
allows even more freedom to the individuals, since many of their for or against posts reach
the front page, along with journalists and personalities posts (although previously selected
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by journalists from an array of pooled comments, probably on criteria of representativeness
or relevance and to observe discretion). The selection of anonymous voices clearly follows
that of types delineated in personalities posts: professionals are given equal stage as private
people telling their life story, for and against discourses are as visible as emotional renditions
of the theme. Many of the publics roles are present here: they are information sources but
also reflexive instances, anonymous actors/witnesses, but also civic actors.
However, it is the journalists and personalities discourse and arguments that set the tone
of deliberation, and the readers comments, while not arising to the aesthetic quality of pro-
fessional writers/thinkers, reiterate some arguments, in defensive, poetic or cultural lan-
guage, adding up to a line of thinking. Readers are free to comment on journalists posts, but
journalists preserve a position of objectivity by not intervening in readers discourse (alt-
hough, as we have seen, some censorship takes place).
The campaign revives certain media practices already active in the Romanian public
space, the journalist as a skeptical representative of collectivity (Beciu, 2009, 61). Yet,
while journalists regard themselves as representatives of collective identity in the frequent
use of us versus them and the appeal to mutual responsibility against a degraded reality,
the fact that the debate is apparently set free after the initial input introduces some symbol-
ic distance from the public. Even if such distancing produces its effects, it is undoubted that
an active public (let aside its limited activism) will change the construction of public matters
(since the media settings dedicated to the active public institute a certain imagery on the cul-
ture of public engagement Beciu, 2010: 10).
5.5 Strategies for Legitimizing the Movement
There are many elements in this campaign confirming the marketing logic governing simi-
lar past campaigns. The title of the campaign, the editorials, the mobilizing language used, the
strategies for public visibility, all lead to a double discursive effect (Beciu, 2009: 59): legit-
imizing the media initiative as a campaign of the newspaper and as a necessity for the public.
The use of us versus them, the diary of campaign (who else joined the movement, what
other events were hosted under the slogan), the involvement of personalities, all lead to the idea
of significant impact on the public. Since change is iminent, participation is a civic duty. The
use of rhetoric strategies defining the issues that respond to citizens needs has the potential not
only to shape the journalist as a mediator, but also to facilitate the access of actors to the public
sphere. Yet, apart from some instruments open to individuals (posting comments on the forum,
joining the movement, posting life stories), not many channels of direct intervention are avail-
able, leaving open the question of the relevance of such campaigns in real life.
Here we must stop and inquire into the power of these campaigns to rally support from the
public they claim to represent. Given the channels used for spreading Jurnaluls Resistance
Movement: the web page of the newspaper, YouTube, the petition page, and their potentially
cascading effects, the number of people openly joining the Movement is quite low (3500 for
the website, 200 for the petition in June 2010). In contrast, a movement on Facebook, Wake
up! This is not your Romania!, begun by a private person, gathered 11.000 friends. Part of
the explanation is in the medium the emotional involvement is lower on a socializing web-
site, while another, perhaps more pungent, explanation resides in the fact that on Facebook no
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Reconfigurations of the European Public Sphere 173
personalities were rallied, giving the members a feeling of belonging to a community of
equals, rather than an exclusive club of illuminated citizens (Asecondary thread of analysis
might elaborate on the topic from Bourdieus perspective of symbolic capital).
Before giving a final sentence on the comparative irrelevance of such movements, one
should ponder on the various constraints governing them. The finality condition and the
thematization space of the campaign have both been questioned as heavily indebted to the
interests of the media trust, preoccupied with recovering from the potentially dangerous
blows of face loss during the presidential campaigns (see Ctlin Sturza in Observatorul Cul-
tural, Values Crisis and Death of Culture as Marketing Tools). The commercial logic might
have been forgiven, had the target not been missed: since the scope of issues was too broad
and vague to allow precise identification of threats and enemies worth fighting against, rally-
ing sizeable public figures to talk about the movement seems morally unacceptable, the dis-
parity between the festive means (use of an anthem, among others) and the poor outcome
being quite similar to putting on a fabulous upmarket carnival costume for a backstreet jig.
It is not to be inferred that faire ressentir is any more blamable than faire savoir. Staging
objectivity is, by and large, the privilege of the media, and successfully negotiating spectacular
devices to generate credibility shouldnt necessarily lead to chastising media morality against
pre-established norms of deliberative communication. Rather, we should see whether that par-
ticular format contributes by means of specific scenic formulas, irrespective of their atypical
dress to the build-up of a public issue (Beciu, 2009: 107). In this logic, the thematic con-
struction, the staging of events and the deliberative mode are the tools of the journalist who is
highly involved in the topic and who not only comments on events, but provokes them (Cha-
raudeau, 1997: 140-143). And one cannot deny the relative novelty of all of the above tools in
the Romanian public space. The cut-up and hierarchy of themes (the otherwise subdued inter-
est in value construction and recognition amounts to general interest topic), the choice of delib-
erative discourse (in a media space seemingly dominated by narratives) and the scenes chosen
for mediation between publics (from the print newspaper to the online edition, from a TV sta-
tions website to opinion platforms, from socializing networks to blogs) create a movement (to
use the very name) whose potential for changing perspectives is not to be denied.
The eclectic devices used in the campaign (militant vocabulary, use of mobilizing language
to enphasize civic motivations and iminence of action, marketing logic through the promo-
tion of hierarchies, dichotomies, cumulative effect of multiple channel use and employment of
deliberative practices) tie in with the various facets of journalists involvement: as ideologists
(at the forefront of fight against spoilers of true values), as civic actors (mobilizing the pu-
blic), as authorities (on representative values), as average citizens (sharing the same experi-
ences with the public), as teachers (of desirable behaviours). Journalists that assume all these
roles have a certain vision of the public space and of the public. Mediation between various
viewpoints is appropriated as a deliberative instrument (all the while, in media studies, <inter-
pretative> would not equal the journalists unfounded subjectivity; deliberative [journalism],
meaning interpretation constructed on the principles of mediation among several viewpoints
and providing knowledge for the citizen-public Beciu, 2007: 8).
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5.6 The Construction of the Cosmopolitan Public
While the work of such instruments in the practice of participative journalism in Romania
is highly illustrative of the transformation of media discourse towards a more deliberative
stance, one other change is important as well: the media construction of the public. Valuing the
public as a gathering of cases and experiences, as a participative self-reflexive partner, works
well with the idea of a cosmopolitan public sphere relying on self-conscious individuals.
The choice of themes and the deliberative practices employed signal a preoccupation with
individuals empowerment as creators of culture. Since the campaign is imbued with the issue
of value recognition and revival which would lead to a better Romania, one might wonder
whether this campaign does not display, at the most, the very opposite of cosmopolitan value
formation. Can a campaign aimed at cultivating communitarian values be an instrument for
universalist reflexivity? And what qualifies the term cosmopolitan by which we choose to
define the new identity of the public? Going back to the hypothesis of this analysis, do deli-
berative practices work up the cosmopolitan sensibilities of the active public?
Irrespective of the low turnout of the public in Jurnaluls campaign, the use of an interac-
tive medium (the online forum) creates the stage for dialogue and empowerment. Although
not all readers posts make the front page, their proximity with journalists and personalities
arguments not only democratizes this virtual agora, but also multiplies perspectives on the
issues under debate. By laying open the question of values representativeness, the media
offer the public the possibility to acquire moral authority as producers of meaning. The voli-
tional act of joining a movement and posting comments takes the readers to a higher level of
autonomy. One might claim that this autonomy is quite limited, given the journalists inter-
vention in selecting front-page posts. However, the possibilities offered to the public at large
(of reading both front and back page posts together with more qualified opinions) amount
to the creation of an environment where production of meaning is accompanied by negotia-
tion of meaning. In this respect, the public comes to acquire cosmopolitan traits. Emancipa-
tion from traditional perspectives on values is what results from debating their representa-
tiveness, be such perspective only an enrichment or confirmation of traditional thought.
Awareness of the axiological imbuement of actions, on the one hand, and of the universal
validity of local values, on the other, means internalizing a global perspective.
The short answer to the above questions would be that all reflection on value revival may be
a first step towards such high education. This attempt at giving a higher meaning to realities,
at putting aside the degraded national environment and immediate political concerns for an
alternative agenda of cultivating universalist values is in tune with what is required of cos-
mopolitans. Alocal context does not revoke universalist propensity; nor can universalist sensi-
bilities be devoid of local meaning. A critical appraisal of current affairs, given the chance of
deliberative devices lending it a voice (and potential public action) might well serve the pur-
pose. In defense of this view we might summon Chouliarakis elegant solution of a similar
dilemma: since Western public life offers a narrow repertoire of participatory positions for
the ordinary citizen (a fact made clear before by Boltanski), it is hard to account for the way
in which transnational flows of visibility actually cultivate a beyond the nation cultural res-
onance among Western audiences. The way out is to relieve the public from its local bonds
and see it as a symbolic act of cultural identity (Chouliaraki, 2006: 12). If we add the cosmo-
politan potential of mediation, we have a double-fold contingency that rings true.
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6. Conclusions
It is high time to draw a conclusion on the media role in the construction of a cosmopoli-
tan community through deliberation and value redefinition.
The study of the rise of a global public sphere allowing self-reflexive publics to define
their identity is a fruitful track to follow in globalization studies. The publics agreeing on
shared narrative frameworks and meanings become agents of cosmopolitanization. Globaliza-
tion from below could shape a cosmopolitan society by creating a set of culturally significant
practices, along with the legitimation of moral authority and definition of relations of power
between actors. The development of global communication flows and the individuals access
to means of self-expression encourage new forms of political and cultural engagement.
Employing reflexive instruments in the mediation between communities and their narra-
tives, the media can well be the scene needed for the build-up of a global public sphere. The
mediating logic governing the mediapolis might lead to the creation of a moral public life.
The dilemma laid before the media is how to negotiate between the consequences of media-
tion (among which, the cosmopolitan identity) and public action.
An analysis of the staging of an event as a public issue should reflect on the instruments
employed by the media (the themes and experiences brought forth), the symbolic sphere (val-
ues, opinions, stereotypes, emotions), the mediation practices between the social identities, the
imaginary communities built on the basis of shared narratives and cultural standing. The con-
struction of a cosmopolitan perspective invites comment on the ethical choices opened to the
public by the media. The mediation between the political and cultural allegiances of the public
is one of the instances encouraging the idea of media as the frame of choice for forging a cos-
mopolitan perspective. In reflecting upon the power potential of networked actors and the
reconstruction of the political and ethical space through the media we answer the imperative of
emancipation from the national viewpoint towards a new critical theory, as proposed by Beck.
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What Makes the European Public Sphere Still a
Prospective Project?
Elena NEGREA*
National School of Political and Administration Studies,
Bucharest, Romania
Abstract: This paper seeks to critically examine the required conditions for the emergence of a Euro-
pean public sphere. The topic is one of the most intensely discussed among scholars who have expressed
their interest for both the development of the widely used concept of the public sphere, and the political and
social mechanisms underpinning the function of the European Union. I shall try to evaluate here the
prospects for the emergence and consolidation of a European public sphere by taking into account the crite-
ria that Habermas used to establish his model of the public sphere. I shall refer in more detail here to the
rational critical discourse, a condition that Habermas considered to be crucial for the development and,
more importantly, the consolidation of the public sphere. Although the scope of this paper is somehow limi-
ted to a habermasian view of how a public sphere should look like, I consider that a historical approach to
the concept may shed some light on the uses and misuses of its contemporary transformations.
Keywords: Habermas, identity, legitimacy, rational critical discourse, European public sphere
1. Some Insights Into the Concept of Public Sphere
In light of the recent debates over the (social, political or communicational) future of the
European Union, the concepts of public sphere and, more specifically, European public
sphere have gained significant ground in the literature on the European Union as well as in
the published views on future implications on the development of the Union triggered by the
integration process. As expected, many of the authors have started their analyses on the
emergent European public sphere from the historical approach to the public sphere pro-
posed by Habermas in his classical book, Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere.
How far these views on the European public sphere have gone from the original concept,
remains to be seen. Irrespective of the distance at which they placed themselves from the
habermasian view of the public sphere and its modern transformations, almost every propo-
sal of what a European public sphere should be has reconsidered a least three of the essential
*
Contact: elena.negrea@comunicare.ro.
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components of the model described by Habermas. These key elements of the public sphere
are: the rational-critical debated it nurtures, and which, at the same time, feeds it; the public
as a critical judge of the public affairs; and the potential of the public sphere to reflect and
reshape interests and identities of the participants to the public debate.
From a chronological point of view, the public sphere is a concept that acquires substance
in the eighteenth century. At that time, literary journals and periodicals flourished and educat-
ed people discussed the subjects presented in these publications in salons and coffee houses.
Habermass historical investigation of the concept revealed that it was the emergence of the
literary public sphere that had made possible the apparition of the expression public sphere,
which was inexistent in the seventeenth century vocabulary. The literary public sphere of the
eighteenth century replaced the obsolete representative publicity only to transform itself into
the political sphere in the public realm. This was the last metamorphosis of the concept before
it became the bourgeois or liberal public sphere. This reshaping of the public sphere that took
place in the nineteenth century was linked to the invention of the bourgeois constitutional
state (Habermas, [1962]/ 1989). Despite the criticisms drawn by historians and scholars in
political theory and political philosophy
1
, the historical examination of the public sphere
helped Habermas grasp an understanding of the evolution of the category of publicness. The
classical distinction between public and private, functional in the ancient Greece, has been
replaced by another division adapted to the new type of societal organisation. Thus, on the one
hand, the public gathered private individuals who join in debate of issues bearing on state
authority (Calhoun, 1992: 7); this category acted as a counterpart to public authority. The pri-
vate, on the other hand, related to the family, the economy or the society; it was conceived as
the realm of freedom that has to be defended against the domination of the state (Calhoun,
1992: 7). In the contemporary world, the separation between public and private has faded, as
the increase of consumer interests and the massification of culture have contributed to the jel-
lification of the society. In fact, one of the key shifts in the structural transformation of the
public sphere is the loss of the distinction between the two notions.
But Habermas is not entirely pessimistic with regard to the development of a strong pub-
lic sphere in the modern world. Furthermore, he believes that in the mass democracies of the
twenty-first century, public deliberation and communication constitute a powerful course of
legitimacy. Habermas notes that the function of the communicational infrastructure of a
democratic public sphere is to turn relevant societal problems into topics of concern, and to
allow the general public to relate, at the same time, to the same topics, by taking an affirma-
tive or negative stand on news and opinions. Over time, these implicit attitudes coagulate to
constitute public opinion, even though most citizens do not send public messages beyond
voting or non-voting (Habermas, 2006: 36).
180 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
1
A collection of essays edited by Calhoun (1992) shows a wide range of critical approaches to Haber-
mass work. The reactions touch the factual foundations of some of the claims presented in the book (such
as the economic and political history of the bourgeoisie or the development of the publishing industry), the
overemphasis on the degeneration of the modern mass public or the disregard of the role of women in the
public sphere. Habermass attempt to answer his critics was also included in the volume (see Further Reflec-
tions on the Public Sphere).
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The public sphere is intrinsically related to the existence of a genuine public communica-
tion that would spur the development of a functioning discourse on issues of public interest.
Public discourse (or what Habermas later calls communicative action) and public participa-
tion are the two key elements, which taken together ensure the crystallisation of an authentic
public sphere. The connection between the two seems to be stronger than one would have
thought. The constitution of the public sphere in a democratic society depends both on the
quality or form of the rational-critical discourse and the quantity of, or openness to, popular
participation (Calhoun, 1992: 4). However, Habermass analysis of the modern transforma-
tions of the category of the public sphere has revealed a paradoxical situation: apparently, the
expansion of participation (i.e. the continuous enlargement of the public sphere to include
more and more people) has led to a decrease in the quality of discourse.
Public debate was supposed to transform voluntas into a ratio that in the public compe-
tition of private arguments came into being as the consensus about what was practically nec-
essary in the interest of all (Habermas, [1962]/ 1989: 83). The Latin words used to refer to
will and reason, respectively, are crucial for the model of the public sphere put forth by
Habermas. The debate stimulated by the functioning public sphere should reflect the triumph
of arguments over emotions and that of the general interest over the fluctuant particular
interests. Although nowadays it may seem difficult to obtain, especially in a conglomerate
such as the European Union, the general consensus over the topics that should be addressed
publicly, through communication and deliberation, is essential to the very existence of the
public sphere. One of the very harmful situations that could affect the public sphere is the
accumulation of particular, subjective interests, which people who hold them try to promote
as matters of general interest. In such a situation, the future of deliberation and of the public
sphere as such is put in jeopardy. The dissolution of the public sphere would come naturally.
The members of the public sphere would lose their common ground because of the disinte-
gration of the notion of general interest and the growth of the consumption industry. As a
result of the increasing orientation towards consumption, the public has been split apart into
minorities of specialists who put their reason to use non publicly and the great mass of con-
sumers whose receptiveness is public but uncritical (Habermas, [1962]/ 1989:175).
Due to the immixture of peoples personal interests with those matters of common con-
cern, the category of public as such has been set back, because the very idea of the public
was based on the notion of a general interest sufficiently basic that discourse about it need
not be distorted by particular interests (Calhoun, 1992: 9). Three very important features of
the public sphere have been lost because of peoples incapacity to separate general interest
from their particular voluntates: a) the essence of the public, b) the quality of the discourse
and c) the practice of the rational-critical debate on an issue. Without a discourse, there is no
public sphere, no symbolic place where people make public use of their reason (Haber-
mas, [1962]/ 1989: 27), no agora where private people have come together as a public.
Literature on the public sphere largely uses a spatial metaphor to refer to a notion that
cannot be confined to spatial boundaries (Calhoun, 2004), whereas this is a phenomenon that
derives its life from conversation and discourse. The public sphere really exists only in and
through communication. Public communication involves not only sharing what the partici-
pants to the process already know or think, but it also favours the reshaping of peoples
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beliefs and knowledge as a result of the use of reason to govern the discursive exchanges.
Therefore, the public sphere is not a setting where fully-formed identities, interests, beliefs
work together to bolster the debate over matters of public concern. It is, however, a symbol-
ic encounter place where people set aside their private interests and identities in favour of the
preservation of the rational critical discourse.
Having set up the framework for my analysis of the European public sphere, I turn now
to investigation of the possibility for the existence of such a European arena of public debate.
I admit that I have adopted a rather pessimistic tone in my paper I consider that, at least so
far, the so-called European public sphere has failed to meet the requirements of a genuine
public sphere (at least, Habermass criteria). However, I do not want to discard here the mer-
its of any efforts to create a European public sphere. The question is this: if these high stan-
dards determine the functioning of the public sphere, would it be possible for a European
public sphere to reach and, at the same time, to maintain them?
2. Three Models to Explain the Emergence of a
European Public Sphere
The development of a European public sphere whichever position one may adopt in con-
ceptualising this space of communication seems to be rather difficult to account for in
habermasian terms. The greatest challenge in explaining the necessity for such a symbolic
construct to tie in with the communication within the EU comes from the very nature of this
supranational structure. Since the European Union is neither a state nor a nation, ascribing it a
public sphere may seem uncanny. The concept of the public sphere belongs to the logic of the
nation-state. The members of the public sphere are supposed to watch over the legitimacy of
the actions taken by the state and the government. To this sense, the public sphere should be
closely related to a sovereign power (Fraser, 2007). The people acting as voices in the arena
are empowered, to ensure that the state takes into account the will expressed by the citizenry
and, at the same time, it is their responsibility to hold accountable the officials who neglect
that will. Perhaps this explanation would seem a bit too simplistic to a reader in search for an
encompassing definition or model of a European public sphere. Let me elaborate some more.
The very challenge is not to dismiss the possibility of a European public sphere, but to
search for the idea of the public sphere that best fits the specificity of the European Union
(Fossum &Schlesinger, 2007). So far, the results of such a search have led to the shaping of
three models of the European public sphere that have attained a certain visibility among the
academics preoccupied with this topic. These three theoretical approaches to what the Euro-
pean public sphere should be constitute a point of departure for future research on the topic
or on related issues. Despite the growing popularity of these three models, there is quite a
heated debate as to whether the European public sphere is a void concept or not and, if it is
not, how it could be materialized into a helpful construct.
I shall briefly present here the models that propose three distinct ways of conceptualising
the European public sphere. The first model is the most intuitive and the least original. It states
that the European public sphere should reproduce the national public sphere at the European
level (Lingenberg, 2006). According to this model, a common European-wide public sphere
182 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
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could develop if some conditions are to be fulfilled. In order for a European public sphere to
repeat the national public sphere in content and form, there is a pressing need for a common
media system, a common language and, overall, a European identity that ensure an accurate
reception of the subjects discussed all over the European Union. As reality has shown us so far,
this is rather unlikely to happen. Attempts have been made to consolidate a European media
system
2
(e.g. Euronews, Eurosport or the newly created portal presseurop.eu; for a discussion
on the potential of these media to consolidate a European deliberative arena, see Bargaoanu,
Negrea & Dascalu, 2010), but they have resulted in failure so far.
The second approach seeks to view the European public sphere as the consequence of the
Europeanization of the national public spheres. What makes this approach interesting is the
idea that topics pertaining to European affairs should also be covered in national media, but
they should be evaluated from a European, not a national perspective (Kunelius & Sparks,
2001). This is the model that brings forward the importance of a solid discourse of the EU,
and of distinguishing between EU-issues and national issues and covering the former sepa-
rately in the national media. The current image of the coverage of EU-issues across the
national media shows that topics on the EU and EU affairs are discussed predominantly from
a national point of view. It would seem, thus, that this model does more justice to the ideal of
creating a European public sphere than the one previously presented did. Furthermore, some
think that the Europeanization of national public spheres may be the only successful way in
which a European public sphere could be brought to light (Bruggemann, 2005:2).
Finally, the third approach to the development of a public sphere within the EU seems to
have gained the majority of sympathies. This view sees the emergence of the European public
sphere as a consequence of the segmentation of publics. This model explains the continuing
transformation of European publics to keep pace with the ongoing variation of the issues on
the EU debated in national media. Therefore, the European public sphere would consist of an
ensemble of issue-oriented publics (Lingenberg, 2006: 123). This model is intrinsically
connected with media reporting and analysis on EU issues. The existence of issue-oriented
publics that form the European public sphere is determined by the need that EU-issues be
simultaneously reported, analysed and debated in various media across Europe. Furthermore,
the information transmitted has to be decoded using the same schemes, and any interpretation
has to use same relevance criteria (van de Steeg, 2002; Risse, 2003). Therefore, in order for
an EU-issue to cause public debate that supports the consolidation of the European public
sphere, it should gain the same level of attention across all the member states of the EU. This
is another way of saying that the crystallisation of a public sphere within the EU is merely a
form of transnationalisation of the public sphere. Despite the beautiful arrangement that the
supporters of this model have described, they have pushed the discussion on the European
public sphere on slippery ground. No matter how appealing the concept of transnational pu-
blic sphere might be, from the perspective on the public sphere endorsed by Habermas, this
expression is quite oxymoronic (Fraser, 2007).
Reconfigurations of the European Public Sphere 183
2
Efforts have been made to set up a pan-European media, to include newspapers (such as The European)
and TV channels (such as Europa TV). This initiative has been dismissed due to language barriers and lack
of demand (Kevin, 2003).
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 183
3. Why the European Union Does Not Yet Have a
Fully-Fledged Public Sphere
The brief outline of the most influential three models of the European public sphere, which
almost any piece of Euro-literature reports on, allows me to move forward and reflect on the
places that the habermasian key concepts of public, general interest and rational debate occupy
in these views of the public sphere within the European Union. Although I have already stated
that I am rather pessimistic about the actual functioning of the European public sphere, there
might be some better prospects ahead. If the search for a definition of the European public
sphere had been a lottery, I would have bet on the second model. The Europeanization of the
national public sphere by means of disentangling the EU-related topics from the national per-
spective used to cover them in the media is the only model that, so far, proposes a view of the
European public sphere situated at a safe distance between the requirements of the classical
habermasian model and the particularities of the area to which this public sphere is attached.
Despite this promising vision of a functioning arena of lively debate within the EU, to state
that a European public sphere currently exists would be unwise. The very idea of a genuine
arena for rational debate within the diverse and (currently) troubled European Union is sur-
rounded by many doubts. In what follows, I shall try to inventory some of the main reasons for
which the European public sphere is still a prospective project, and not a reality. My analysis
will focus on theoretic assumptions and conceptualisations rather than empirical evidence.
The Lack of a (European) Public
So far, there is little evidence that such a category as a European public exists. There is a
category of public related to the EU, but it is not referred to as a European public since it is
mainly formed by the EU Commissioners, civil servants or other professionals working within
the EU institutions. Ordinary people of the member states are rarely directly touched by mat-
ters discussed at the European level and, in many of the cases, they do not even care about such
issues (Wilson & Millar, 2007). Since the number of debates over the future of the EU has
gradually grown, the issue of a better and stronger communication with the European citizens
became an overtly assumed objective of the EU. In a speech delivered in 2000 at the Humboldt
University in Berlin, the former foreign minister of Germany, Joschka Fischer, pleaded for the
establishment of a European federation and stated the reasons for which the EU needs a consti-
tution that helps it find the right balance between a Europe of nation-states and a Europe of
the citizens. The project of the constitution has been initiated, but unfortunately for its sup-
porters it was abandoned after the powerful non and nee it received in France and the Nether-
lands, respectively.
Beginning with 2005, the year of the rejection of the EU constitution project by the citi-
zens of two of the most important members of the Union, the initiatives to bring the citizens
closer to the EU have multiplied and intensive discussions on dialogue, debate and delibera-
tion, as well as on communication with the people, have occupied much space in the online
arena (forums, blogs, portals have been created in order to encourage people to express their
opinion and to facilitate public debate on EU-related issues).
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Despite the significant effort made by officials of the EU to set up a communication arena
in which matters of public interest be debated by the citizens, the results show that peoples
interest in such endeavours has been lower than expected. Not only have the EU-related
issues only slightly made it to the public agenda, but they have been greatly overcome by
discussions on national-related issues. Furthermore, there is still room for discussion on the
nature of the EU-related issues that may be put under scrutiny in the public sphere. Follow-
ing their examination of a wide range of EU-related texts and conversations, Wodak & Weiss
(2005) reported a list of recurring topics in these texts. Those topics gave rise to discourses
on unemployment, European identity, attitudes towards EU Enlargement and on multilin-
gualism or language policies (2005: 128). Most of these are easily cast into shadow by to-
pics reflecting national or global-related issues (such as environment and climate change,
threat of terrorism, economic development, socio-economic gaps, etc.).
While the theory on the emergence of a public sphere where EU-related issues are discussed
may have looked promising, in practice it has failed to deliver. People have shown little interest
in such issues as Europe identity and multilingualism, to name but two of the topics mentioned
above. Thus, attempts to form a public of citizens who willingly participate to public debates on
European affairs have failed. So far, it seems that citizens of the EU involved in public commu-
nication and deliberation are mainly concerned with topics addressed from a national rather than
a European perspective. Furthermore, the economic and financial crisis has favoured debates
over national-related issues, such as the loss of jobs, the decrease of incomes, the response-to-
crisis measures taken by the governments, the consequences of the crisis on the education and
health systems, etc. Since these topics are deeply connected to the national realities of the mem-
ber states, the EU has not been too present in such debates. This should not surprise us, since,
apparently, public perception and understanding of the EU are hardly separated from a national
perspective (Galasinska & Galasinski, 2007). News on the demise of the nation-state have been
greatly exaggerated; as the recent situation in Greece has shown, the instinct of national (indi-
vidual) welfare has exceeded the instinct of a (manifested) European solidarity. Again, Joschka
Fischer somehow foretold such a behaviour of the citizens of the EU (and his words below pre-
dicted not only peoples response to the financial and economic crisis in Greece, but, more
importantly, the response of the EU institutions, as well): The nation-states are realities that
cannot simply be erased, and the more globalisation and Europeanization create superstructures
and anonymous actors remote from the citizens, the more the people will cling on to the nation-
states that give the comfort and security (www.ena.lu/speech_joschka_fischer_ultimate_objec-
tive_european_integration_berlin_12_2000-2-17984).
To sum up, there is little evidence to attest to the existence of a public sphere, in Haber-
mass understanding of the concept, in which European issues are addressed by a public
formed of citizens of the member states who either acknowledge the legitimacy of the initia-
tives taken by the EU or who hold EU officials accountable for their actions.
The Undefined European Identity, or What is it Like to Be a European?
The question of the European (collective) identity has been a problematic issue that many
scholars have tried to solve. Solutions and formulae to define the European identity have been
put forward. Nonetheless, there is no agreement yet on the form that the European identity
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should take. Furthermore, recent transformations within the EU (e.g. the successive Enlarge-
ment waves in 2004 and 2007, the debate over Turkeys accession or the pressure on the Euro-
zone triggered by the economic and financial crisis) have largely fuelled the considerable
industry of research on whether there is or there will be a European identity.
Recognition of the importance of the European identity is not new. It has been always
attached to the ongoing growth of the EU. As long ago as the 70, the high officials of the
then nine members of the EU met at the Copenhagen summit and issued a document entitled
Declaration on European Identity. Adefinition of the European identity as it was conceived
by the nine member countries would involve the following three aspects: 1) re-examining
the common heritage, the interests and the special obligations of the member states within
the EU, 2) taking into account the dynamic nature of the European unification and 3) deter-
mining the extent to which the (nine) member states collaborate in relation to the rest of the
world. Thus, according to the heads of state or government gathered in Copenhagen in 1973,
a definition of the European identity should be intimately tied to the coordination and
development of the member states (Wilson & Millar, 2007). This view supports to a certain
extent the idea that the European identity is pragmatically built. Europe and the EU
should be treated separately, despite the (too much) freedom applied to their interchangeabil-
ity. The two ideas can be understood in a myriad of ways, and both embody ideas that are
socially and discursively constructed. Furthermore, both ideas bear a multiplicity of mean-
ings and both are context sensitive. Lately, while not conterminous, Europe and the EU
have blended in peoples minds as a sense of what Europe is. To a certain extent, this is a
consequence of constant efforts of the EU to develop a collective (European) identity and
to advocate the expansion of the we-feeling beyond the boundaries of nation-states (Erik-
sen, 2009). In spite of this concern, peoples reaction to the EU and its benefits still pays
tribute to the pragmatic, personal needs. A shared idea of Europe, a sense of Europeness,
become attractive when it manages to solve peoples own problems: e.g. immigrants need
for a citizenship (or residence), farmers need for a regulated market, merchants need for
protective trade laws, etc.). Therefore, a pragmatic, need-based idea of European identity
seems to overcome a more sophisticated, value-based approach to what belonging to the EU
might mean. There is little doubt that, at least nowadays, people value highly the practical
benefits that the EU brings them, more so than the emotional and symbolic elements associ-
ated with it. I believe that, contrary to how people relate to their national identity, the banal
assimilation of everyday symbolism and categorizations (Schlesinger, 2007: 71) is much
less important for their identity as European citizens (flags, anthems, national/ Europes day,
distinction between EU-related news and home news, etc.).
Irrespective of the way in which it has been framed, the European identity or identities
(Wodak & Weiss, 2005), has been intrinsically connected to the emergence of a European
public sphere. Some even say the prospects of the European public sphere are rendered
rather bleak by the absence of a collective identity (Eriksen, 2009). This may sound bizarre
to someone who tries to examine the concept of a European public sphere from a haber-
masian perspective. As Habermas himself remarked in his work, the public sphere should be
a communication arena where actors reason about matters of general interest. There is no
room for emotions, collective identities or symbolic values to be displayed and acted upon in
such a place. While this may be the case for a national public sphere, this argument seems
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not to hold anymore when referring to the EU. Let us suppose that a genuine European pub-
lic sphere would greatly contribute to the reduction or even elimination of the democratic
deficit that the EU is insistently charged with. This is why a way must be found to cope with
the problem of the collective identity, as it lingers and represents a barrier to the develop-
ment of a general public (Eriksen, 2009: 124).
A Shared View of a Common (European) Good
Ideally, a functioning European public sphere should bring together private citizens of
the EU who publicly deliberate and decide about affairs of common interest. Matters of par-
ticular concern are set aside while the citizens forming the European public scrutinize the
matters of general interest. In Habermass view, discourses inspired by personal interest
abound in uncritical arguments, which, in most cases, make them profoundly flawed. The
interests of those who publicly discuss EU-related issues are discursively judged with
respect to their generality and universality (Eriksen, 2009).
Habermas hopes that a genuine public sphere will give rise to a rational agreement
between citizens and the state, which ultimately would reinforce the democratic society. He
describes a model of the public sphere where access is limited to citizens who are well-
equipped to contribute to the public communication and deliberation on matters of general
interest (at the same time, these citizens must be capable to determine the content of the
general interest in a certain period of time). This is a precaution that the German philoso-
pher takes in order to keep the public discourse from being distorted by disqualifying diver-
sity of interests and of identities. Thus, Habermas proposes an account of how actual social
inequality might be kept from disturbing the equilibrium of a sound public sphere, where
only enlightened and equal (Eriksen, 2009) citizens could be active; those individuals
fully formed in private who may communicate about public affairs (Calhoun, 2004).
Would this ideal image of the construction and the function of the public sphere hold for
the deliberative activity within the EU? My pessimistic feelings towards the European pub-
lic sphere have already been disclosed to the reader. I do not wish to reiterate them. The
doubts concerning the enthusiastic approaches to the European public sphere I hope to have
risen in the previous sections of the paper should be sufficient to let the reader know that I do
not embrace this eagerness. There are still a lot of aspects underpinning the functioning of a
European public sphere that prevent it from being an arena of qualified debate over major
European decisions. The difficulty of determining the category of European public or the
exclusive pragmatic terms which ground European identity formation contribute to slowing
the process of public deliberation on EU affairs.
4. Concluding Remarks
Regardless of the strength of the arguments concerning the lack of necessary conditions for
the emergence of a European public sphere presented in this essay, there is no doubt that the
topic will further generate a considerable amount of writing. There are not only scholars and
researchers in the field of communication, sociology or European studies who are interested in
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this subject, but more and more EU officials and high representatives of the European Com-
mission show growing enthusiasm for the idea of a communication arena for the public assess-
ment of the European affairs. During a conference on EU communication held in Brussels, a
high representative of the European Commission
3
has emphasised the idea that Europe should
be brought closer to the citizens, so that a greater local impact of the European issues should be
obtained, and that all these will help transform the EU into a lively democracy. One way to
achieve such goals is to focus on the creation of a functioning European public sphere, where
citizens can assemble and discuss EU-related public matters on the basis of a shared concep-
tion of the general interest.
Despite this ambition, this paper has attempted to show that, at least in theory, current pro-
posals for the development of such a public sphere within the EU lack a few of the necessary
crucial constitutive elements. Drawing my arguments from Habermass classical approach to
the public sphere, I hope to have demonstrated that, to this point, there is a long way still to be
covered until the required conditions for the functioning of a European public sphere are met.
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Lage de la conjonction.
Images de la mondialisation, images de lEurope
Grigore GEORGIU*
cole Nationale dtudes Politiques et Administratives,
Bucarest, Roumanie
Rsum : La mondialisation est dfinie souvent par un set dimages expressives qui nous aident com-
prendre dune manire intuitive la complexit de ses aspects. LEurope, dans sa nouvelle configuration
institutionnelle, est aperue elle mme travers un complexe dimages comme une mosaque dtats et
nations. Limage de la mondialisation voque une srie de termes appartenant la mme famille sman-
tique: liaisons, interdpendances, connexions, rseaux, interfrences, dialogue, communication. Tous ces
termes prsupposent lide de la conjonction.
LEurope sest engage dans un ample processus dintgration, qui se droule sous le signe de la con-
jonction. Pour mieux comprendre ce processus jai propos le concept de paradigme conjonctif. Jai
cherche des arguments pour cette ide et, dans ce sens, jai mis en question certains modles thoriques et
images labors par les penseurs europens et roumains sur le rapport entre europen et national.
Mots-cls : mondialisation, identits, images, lEurope, paradigme conjonctif
1. Introduction
Nous nous sommes habitus invoquer la mondialisation comme un systme de
rfrence pour expliquer et interprter divers processus et phnomnes caractristiques du
monde actuel. Le thme de cette confrence est aussi une illustration de cette tendance dont
je parle. On peut dire que la mondialisation influence, dans des proportions diffrentes,
toutes les sphres de lactivit humaine. Conformment plusieurs approches, la mondiali-
sation est mise, quelque fois juste titre, dautre fois tort, dans des relations de causalit
avec tous les processus qui changent notre vie. Mais par mondialisation (id. est: globalisa-
tion) on entend tant de choses et on opre avec des images diffrentes sur celle ci. Je vais en
rappeler quelques unes.
On dit souvent que la mondialisation a chang le monde. Cest bien tort pourtant de
simaginer quil sagit dun facteur unique, singulier, tout-puissant. La mondialisation est un
terme commun travers lequel on envisage un complexe de facteurs et conditions qui se sont
*
Contact: grigore.georgiu@comunicare.ro.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 191
accumuls dans une priode historique courte. Ces processus ont chang graduellement tous
les lments de notre vie et, par un effet de multiplication, ils nous ont impos des modes et
styles de vie nouveaux, en changeant nos reprsentations sur le monde.
Dans une reprsentation schmatique, je considre quil faut avoir en vue ce triangle des
forces qui agissent en synergie: la mondialisation, la rvolution dans la sphre des technolo-
gies dinformation et de communication (NTIC) et lamplification de la communication
interculturelle. Evidemment, il ne faut pas oublier les autres changements, tels que ceux
dordre gopolitique, si spectaculaire et imprvisible. Cest pourquoi, il faut voir la mondial-
isation dans une connexion troite avec tous ces processus, parce quils sont solidaires et
profondment interdpendants, dans le plan de la vie relle aussi. Dans ce texte je voudrais
approcher deux aspects qui concernent: 1) les images avec lesquelles nous vont oprer quand
nous nous rapportons la mondialisation et 2) les reprsentations avances par les
thoriciens pour la configuration future de lEurope. Un fait me semble symptomatique:
toutes les images sur la mondialisation et, implicitement, sur lEurope, restent sous le signe
de la conjonction, que nous rencontrons dans des formulations et hypostases linguistiques
diverses. Dans un sens plus gnral, on peut considrer la conjonction comme un signe du
temps et un trait dfinitoire du monde actuel.
LEurope a choisi comme slogan et signe distinctif le rapport entre unit et diversit.
Cest un rapport constitutif de la condition humaine. Il peut tre projet sur toute la surface
de lexistence humaine et prend des formes historiques diffrentes. Les disciplines sociales
et historiques ont assimil en profondeur lide de lunit en diversit de lhumaine. Lim-
portant cest la manire dont on dchiffre et on comprend la conjonction entre unit et diver-
sit. On trouve ici une clef pour diffrencier les paradigmes et modes de pense, y inclus les
attitudes qui regardent les rapports entre europen et national.
2. La mondialisation comme une imago mundi
La mondialisation est un concept ayant une vocation intgrateur et une fonction
stratgique pour les sciences sociales actuelles. Ce concept a envahi les analyses gopoli-
tiques et conomiques ddis au monde contemporain, il est devenu un terme utilis jusqu
la saturation dans les discours politiques et mdiatiques. Comment est-ce quon peut com-
prendre mieux le processus de mondialisation? Quelles analogies nous aident le conceptu-
aliser et reprsenter? Les approches thoriques partent dune certaine reprsentation du
monde actuel, o les facteurs de causalit et de conditionnalit sont pris en inventaire,
ensuite additionns et envelopps dans le concept de mondialisation, et les consquences
sont distribues ensuite sur la surface de la vie sociale et sur ses diffrents niveaux. Ce con-
cept porte plus sur le contexte et moins sur les contenus; il a en vue un nouveau type de rela-
tions entre les entits du monde (conomies, marchs, socits, tats, cultures, organisations,
groupes, individus). Les thoriciens utilisent une gamme vaste de synonymes provenant de
la mme zone smantique: interactions, connexions, liaisons, interdpendances, rseaux,
compression de lespace et du temps, simultanit, synchronisation, contexte unique.
Pour dcrire la complexit de ce monde, les thoriciens ressortent souvent des images
expressives pour synthtiser leurs ides, leur vision et leur perspective dapproche. Ces images
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Reconfigurations of the European Public Sphere 193
sont des mtaphores pistmologiques (selon Umberto Eco), des cartes mentales simplifies
qui retiennent seulement des repres et indicatifs relevant pour que nous puissions nous orien-
ter dans un territoire sociopolitique gomtrie variable, instable. Dans cette hypostase se trou-
ve aussi lide de mondialisation que nous utilisons souvent comme une imago mundi, comme
une macro-mtaphore pour suggrer les connexions multiples du monde, la texture des fils et
noueux, des liaisons et rseaux innombrables o nous menons notre vie. Lide de village
global, formule par Marshall McLuhan il y a une cinquantaine dannes, prend dans notre
esprit les valences dune telle image du monde. McLuhan a anticip la configuration nouvelle
du monde postmoderne ayant en vue les effets cumulatifs engendrs par les nouveaux moyens
de communication sur la vie sociale et sur lunivers culturel. Le village global est une image
plus adquate pour le monde actuel que pour le monde divis du point de vue idologique et
politique de la priode de la guerre froide, quand lauteur canadien crivait ses penses.
Limage du rseau est prsente aussi dans dautres mtaphores de la globalisation. Par
exemple, le neurologue isralien Jean Askenasy considre que la globalisation reprsente
ltape de la maturit de lhumanit, partir de lide quon peut faire des analogies entre
la croissance en complexit du cerveau humain, par la multiplication des synapses, et les
phases parcourues par lvolution de lhumanit. Selon lui, les performances du cerveau
humain sont directement proportionnelles avec le nombre des synapses, cest dire le degr
dinterconnexion des neurones (apud Munteanu, 2007). Les synapses sont des conjonc-
tions. Si les performances du cerveau dpendent de la capacit des neurones de communi-
quer entre eux, de mme les performances adaptives de lhomme devraient crotre en mme
temps avec lintensification de la communication interculturelle. Ainsi, dans un sens
mtaphorique, on peut regarder la globalisation qui a multipli les synapses entre socits
comme une image macroscopique du cerveau humain, dans sa complexit, image projete
sur lcran de lhistoire universelle.
Toute dfinition de la mondialisation implique lide de la conjonction. Elle voque
lide de champ gravitationnel ou dinteraction distance, comme en Butterfly Effect: si
un papillon bat ses ailes en Chine il y aura un orage New York. Dans un monde global,
chaque part dpend de ses liaisons multiples avec les autres parts. Cest un monde solidaire,
o un vnement local peut produire des modifications aux autres parts, et mme au rseau
entier. Ainsi, nous nous sommes habitus regarder la globalisation comme une sorte den-
veloppe du monde, une atmosphre qui entoure la plante et qui influence notre vie. Voila un
tel tableau du monde actuel:
Sur la plante sont jets des rseaux qui la serre comme sils voudraient la dfendre con-
tre la dsintgration. Lun porte la communication instantane, un autre linformation
sans limites, un autre envoie au systme financier bancaire et lconomie globale; un
rseau porte sur lcologie, un autre renvoie aux institutions politiques et de scurit, de la
problmatique commune, tous superposs sur lancien rseau des hommes de science et
celui millnaire de lidal universel. Nous appelons lenroulement de la plante en voiles et
filets mondialisation (Malia, 2001: 134).
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3. La mondialisation :
limage de lexterieur et limage de linterieur
Les images que nous utilisons pour nous reprsenter la mondialisation peuvent tre
encadres sur deux niveaux, en fonction du systme de rfrence dans lequel nous nous
plaons: lun intrieur et lautre extrieur. Dans le premier cas, le monde nous apparait
comme un tout entier, un contexte unique, form par la multiplication des synapses, par
interdpendances, rseaux, synchronismes, interconnexions. Cest un regard den haut, de
lavion, quand nous voyons le monde enroul en filets, fils et nuds, entour par la mme
atmosphre et soumis aux mmes champs gravitationnel. Les nouveaux moyens de commu-
nications ont construit des rseaux efficaces pour cette interaction sans prcdent entre Etats,
socits, nations, organisations et individus.
De cette position, de lobservateur situ au dehors, nous voyons que la mondialisation
conomique et les nouveaux mdia ont interconnect tous les coins du monde. Cette per-
spective, par exemple, appartient aussi Thomas Friedman (2008), pour lequel la rvolution
du domaine de NTIC et le systme mdiatique, vu comme un univers entier, ont aplatis le
monde et ont construit une infrastructure de communication (un hard commun, une plate-
forme on line), sur laquelle des individus, des groupes et dorganisations, des nations et dE-
tats peuvent interagir et communiquer de divers coins de la plante.
La deuxime image de la mondialisation cest celle de lintrieur, qui prsuppose une
radiographie analytique des effets que ces changements ont produit dans la structure interne
des socits, dans les relations sociales, la structure du quotidien, dans les modes de vie, dans
les systmes des valeurs et dattitudes, dans les faons de penses, dans les pratiques sym-
boliques et dans les diverses formes dexpression culturelle. Limage de lintrieur nous
montre un monde htrogne, non unitaire, non uniforme, diversifi, vari, aux discor-
dances, dsynchronismes, dcalages et ingalits conomique flagrantes. Ces aspects con-
cernant le mlange des mondes, les synthses tranges entre le globale et locale, entre le
moderne et le traditionnel, sont investigus avec passion et application par les thoriciens et
de nombreuses recherches applicatives.
Cest ici, dans limage de lintrieur quune srie daspects problmatiques sont visibles:
la dissolution du tissu social et danciennes formes de solidarit, la relativisation des fron-
tires entre la sphre politique et celle prive sous limpact du systme mdiatique (qui a
colonis la sphre publique), la crise des identits culturelles construites dans la priode
moderne, le processus de hybridation des cultures, la dterritorialisation du capital et la nou-
velle vague de migration de la force de travail, lrosion et la fluidisation des identits dans
le contexte de la mondialisation et le monde de lInternet.
En rsumant, la premire image met laccent sur lunit, la deuxime sur la diversit. La
premire image nous montre un monde unitaire, intgre, interconnect dans divers rseaux,
solidaire et orient par des processus de convergence rayon daction globale, qui induisent,
dans certaines couches de la socit, des phnomnes dhomognisation et uniformisation
transculturelle. La deuxime nous montre un monde htrogne, diversifie a lintrieur, mar-
qu de diffrences culturelles, politiques, sociales, conomiques, y inclus des conflits dor-
dre civilisationel et gopolitique, comme soutient Huntington et beaucoup dautres theo-
riciens et analystes.
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Ces images diffrentes coexistent dans notre tte tant actualises, alternativement ou
simultanment quand nous nous rapportons au monde actuel. Pour comprendre la complex-
it du processus de la mondialisation il faut combiner toujours ses deux images, combiner
lunit et la diversit, les convergences et les diffrences, lentier et les parties, le globale et
le locale. De nos jours, on tmoigne dune interaction sans prcdent entre individus et
socits, dune hybridation des modles culturels, des mlanges inattendus entre valeurs,
ides, traditions, attitudes et comportements. Peut tre que les sciences sociales vont impos-
er, au fil du temps, le concept de glocalisation, pour dfinir cette culture amalgame, qui
prfigure les synthses futures, pour le moment incompltes, entre global et local.
En opposition avec ce concept, George Ritzer a cre un terme nouveau, celui de groba-
lisation (en partant du verbe to grow, croitre, augmenter), qui se rfre aux ambitions
imprialistes des nations, corporations, organisations, etc., et leur dsirs, si non leur besoin
de simposer dans diverses zones gographiques (Ritzer, 2010 33). Lauteur prcise que le
nouveau terme est destin exprimer le fait que le nouveau contexte de la mondialisation
offre un milieu favorable pour que certains acteurs importants (Etats, corporations transna-
tionales, institutions bancaires, organisations non gouvernementales, etc.) largissent leur
sphre dinfluence et de domination, lintention dobtenir une hgmonie globale.
Dans cette vision, la mondialisation prsuppose deux processus opposs: a) glocalisa-
tion, une interfrence (hybridisation, crolisation) entre le globale et le locale ayant comme
rsultat une redfinition des identits et le maintient des diffrences; b) grobalisation, la ten-
dance de domination et dhgmonie globale de certaines entits par lexpansion transna-
tionale de certains codes et pratiques communs, de certaines instituions et modles dorga-
nisations similaires (sous aspect conomique, politique, ducationnel, etc.).
La grobalisation est associe aux tendances noimprialistes et nocolonialistes, la mac-
donaldisation et lamricanisation des modes de vie, aux processus de convergences et
homognisation culturelles sous la pression puissante de la culture de consommation et sur le
plan des politiques conomiques aux thses nolibralistes concernant lEtat minimal et la
capacit du march libre de sautoquilibrer. Un instrument efficace de cette homognisation
culturelle est lextension plantaire de certaines cathdrales de la consommation (des malls,
des restaurants fast-food, des casinos-htel, Disneyland, etc.), qui ont comme effet prvisible
luniformisation des attitudes et des pratiques de consommation, lattnuation des diffrences
culturelles, la dvalorisation et lannulation des identits locales. (Ritzer, 2010 : 33-39).
En rsumant, nous pouvons parler de certaines similitudes entre les perspectives
thoriques qui utilisent avec prdilection ce que nous avons appel limage de lextrieur
de la mondialisation et le concept de Ritzer sur la grobalisation. Limage de lextrieur nous
oriente vers le paradigme de la convergence culturelle, dans laquelle les phnomnes de syn-
chronisation, isomorphisme et homogenisation nous apparaissent comme relevantes. Dans
cette perspective, laccent tombe sur les ides dintgration et dunit, en invoquant des
valeurs, des ides et attitudes communes, soit disant universelles. Mais dune analyse plus
profonde, nous dcouvrons que ce paradigme, apparemment gnreux, est utilis comme
une forme de lgitimation des tendances de domination et hgmonie gopolitique.
Par contre, les thoriciens qui focalisent leur analyse sur limage de lintrieur de la
mondialisation oprent avec le paradigme de glocalisation, tant rceptifs aux diffrences
entre les socits et leurs diffrences lintrieur (de nature historique, thnique, religieuse,
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linguistique, etc) et la problmatique tellement sensible des identits culturelles. La grobali-
sation exprime la tendance vers luniformisation, mais la glocalisation est une nouvelle
forme dcoexistence des diffrences et des identits. Pour comprendre les effets de la mondi-
alisation il faut combiner les deux paradigmes.
4. La mondialisation : un bazar multiculturel
Les images diffrentes dont je parlais ont des correspondances bien documentes dans les
processus qui dfinissent les tendances contradictoires du monde contemporain, et en mme
temps, dans les thories consacres la mondialisation. Nous allons faire rfrence seulement
quelques analyses et interprtations qui problmatisent le thme de lidentit culturelle dans
le contexte du monde daujourdhui. La mondialisation est un phnomne si puissant que les
cultures ne peuvent pas se soustraire son immense champ gravitationnel. Sous la pression de
certaines forces multiples, la terre est maintenant entoure par le filet de certains rseaux
immenses travers lequel circulent en mme temps des signes, des informations et dimages,
dans toutes les directions. Les cultures, elles aussi, sont prises aujourdhui dans le net du
processus de mondialisation et dans le rseau de la communication gnralise, ainsi que les
conomies et les socits, qui reprsentent leur support existentiel. En consquence, la mon-
dialisation est comprise comme une transition globale dune poque caractrise par lau-
tonomie culturelle des socits une poque de la gnralisation des interrelations et com-
munications, o prvalent les processus interculturels (Leclerc, 2003: 10).
Mais, paradoxalement, dans le contexte apparemment gnreux de la mondialisation, le
thme de lidentit culturelle est devenu lun de trs problmatique pour les individus et pour
les communites. Dans le contexte des changements qui influencent les structures de pro-
fondeur de la civilisation, tous les pays et toutes les socits passent par une crise identitaire,
de mme que les crises lies lidentit nationale sont devenues un phnomne global
(Huntington, 2004: 16). La mondialisation est la source des tendances contradictoires, ten-
sions sociales et gopolitiques, parce que, dans son cadre, interagissent des socits et cul-
tures de facture diffrente, qui sont actives et co-prsentes sur la terre. Ce sont des socits
ayant des histoires, des systmes de valeurs et niveaux de dveloppements diffrents, donc,
des pouvoirs ingaux de sadapter et de rpondre aux nouveaux dfis globaux.
Le problme de lidentit est li dune manire ombilicale aux modalits de manifesta-
tion des diffrences culturelles dans le contexte de la mondialisation. Le dialogue intercul-
turel et la diversit culturelle sont aujourdhui les thmes les plus dbattus dans le primtre
des disciplines sociales et humaines, ainsi que dans le domaine des tudes culturelles,
thoriques ou appliques. Une culture ou des cultures? Cette question est dsormais au cen-
tre des enjeux contemporains de la construction de lespace-monde (Mattelart, 1999: 8). En
difiant un march unique des biens et des informations, la mondialisation postmoderne a
stimul non seulement la communication interculturelle, mais aussi elle a gnr dune
manire surprenante un courent assez fort de revitalisation des diffrences culturelles, a
ressuscit des forces apparemment endormies de lidentit et a produit, dans beaucoup de
situations, des crises identitaires et des conflits thniques. Dune manire paradoxale, la
mondialisation conomique a men vers la redcouverte de la diversit intrieur du monde,
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de nature culturelle. La renaissance de lintrt pour les identits culturelles dans les
dernires dcennies a t une surprise pour beaucoup de thoriciens.
Entre la crise conomique actuelle et la crise des identits culturelles il y a de nombreuses
corrlations souterraines. Toutes les deux sont engendres par les effets contradictoires de la
mondialisation. La crise conomique actuelle, qui a dtruit tant despoirs et dillusions, a
quand mme tempr lenthousiasme des thoriciens connus sous le nom de hyperglobal-
istes (Held et al., 2004) et a fourni des arguments supplmentaires pour ceux qui voient la
mondialisation comme un mythe et une construction idologique destine lgitimer les
nouvelles stratgies et pratiques de domination. Le fait est que le mythe de la socit de con-
sommation sest croul et aussi lide que la mondialisation va aboutir un monde uni-
taire, qui effacera les diffrences conomiques, sociales et culturelles. Les socits et les
Etats sont la recherche des solutions et des moyens spcifiques nationaux et locales pour
dpasser cette crise.
Le problme des identits culturelles dans le contexte de la mondialisation bnficie
danalyses, dinterprtations et dimages diffrentes, en fonction du systme de rfrence et
de la position thorique des auteurs. Une demarche complexe de ce problme, qui conjugue
les deux perspectives et les images de la mondialisation, dordre externe et interne, appar-
tient au rput sociologue Zygmunt Bauman, celui qui a consacr lide que le monde con-
temporain peut tre dfini par le concept de la modernit liquide. Dans un livre ou il fait
lanalyse du problme des identits individuelles et collectives, Bauman soutient que la
mondialisation a fondu aussi les structures fortes de lidentit. Dans le nouveau contexte
de la mondialisation et de la culture mdia, les individus vivent dans un bazar multicul-
turel (Bauman, 2004: 96), ou ils construisent et ils ngocient des identits multiples, pas-
sagers et nonconsistents. Le sentiment traditionnel de loyalt envers ltat-nation et envers
lidentit culturelle nationale subit une erosion et pert sa force dautrefois.
Selon Bauman, le phnomne gnrale auquel nous assistons est la liqufaction (la
dsintgration, leffondrement) des structures fortes de la modernit (famille, cole, class-
es sociales, organisations, institutions, lEtat-nation, identits culturelles, les distinctions
entre valeurs, concepts, domaines et niveaux de la ralit) et lapparition de nouvelles
alliances et alliages entre modes de vie, religions, idologies et modles de pense. Sous la
pression des processus spcifiques de la mondialisation nous assistons une transition vers
le monde kalidoscopique de la socit de consommation, vers un monde amalgame, ou les
individus, mancips par des contraintes et de responsabilits sociales, naviguent dans le-
space virtuel et extraterritoriale de lInternet, ou ils construisent des identits multiples, flu-
ides et fictives. Bauman dit que, en 1994, sur une rue de Berlin, il y avait une affiche qui
exprimait ce mlange des identits dans un monde globale et liquide: Votre Christ est juif.
Votre auto est japonaise. La pizza que vous mangez est italienne. Votre dmocratie: grecque.
Le caf: basilien. Les vacances: turques. Vos numros: arabes. Les lettres: latines. Tout ce
qui vous entoure est trange (Bauman, 2004: 27).
Dans ce bazar multiculturel, le sentiment de loyalt vers la communit nationale, telle-
ment fort autrefois, subit une erosion et les individus saffilient aux groupes nouveaux,
informels, transitoires, ventuellement aux communits virtuelles. Pour illustrer cette ide,
Bauman cite une tude rcente qui a investigu le changement des paradigmes identitaire
dans la socit polonaise. Dans la priode moderne, de construction de la nation polonaise, et
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mme dans la priode communiste, les enfants, quand ils taient demandes sur leur identit,
ils rpondaient dhabitude: Qui est tu? Un petit polonais. Quel est ton signe: Laigle blanc.
Aujourdhui, si tu tadresses un polonais, jeune ou mature, avec la mme question, la
rponse est diffrente: Qui est tu? Un bel homme, lge de 40, avec le sens de lhumeur.
Quel est ton signe? Gmeaux (2004: 27).
Les diffrences entre les rponses indiquent, parmi dautre, la distance entre la modernit
classique et la modernit liquide concernant les faons dans lesquelles les individus se
rapportent au problme didentit. Laffiche de Berlin et les rponses concernant lidentit
sont des expressions ou des effets de la mondialisation, mais elles sont deux phnomnes
troitement lies et elles signalent le collapse dont la hirarchie des identits a subit (Bau-
man, 2004: 28). Lidentit nationale avait auparavant un statut de prminence sur dautres
formes de lidentit, compares aux petites identits, de groupe ou individuelles. Aujour-
dhui, les hirarchies se sont inverses. Les identits individuelles (multiples, construites,
inventes, ngocies, fluides, passagres etc.) surclassent lidentit nationale. Cest un indi-
cateur des changements qui a affect le systme de valeurs des individus, les attitudes, les
modes de vie et leurs reprsentations sur le monde et le sens de la vie. Dans le monde actuel,
lidentit nest plus un attribut prdtermin, mais une construction culturelle, personnelle,
gomtrie variable. La conclusion de lauteur est dificatrice Lidentit nous est releve
comme tant quelque chose qui doit tre invente, plutt que quelque chose qui doit tre
dcouverte (Bauman, 2004: 15).
5. La culture media : dissolution et reconstruction des identites
La mondialisation et tous les processus entrains ont chang les systmes de rfrences
pour dfinir des identits collectives et individuelles. Il y a beaucoup de facteurs qui ont con-
tribu ce changement par une influence directe ou indirecte. Mais, le facteur majeur, qui est
prsent dans toutes les analyses, est le systme mdiatique, vu comme un univers tout entier.
Ayant en vue limpact globale de la rvolution du domaine NTIC, les thoriciens ont con-
struit, suite aux concepts de culture de masse et dindustries culturelle, le concept de culture
mdia, plus adequat dfinir dune manire synthtique la combinaison entre lunivers cul-
turel et le nouveau espace communicationnel. La culture mdia a fondu et a dconstruit les
anciens modles didentit en contribuant, en mme temps, leur reconstruction sur dautres
plans. Pour comprendre laspect problmatique de lidentit il faut tenir compte de limpor-
tance crasante acquise par les nouveaux moyens de communication et du statut spciale de
limage dans tous les registres de la vie humaine. Dans le monde de lcran globale
(Lipovetsky, Serroy, 2008: 8), cran qui est omniprsent dans notre vie (sur la rue, sur les
stades, dans le mtro, dans les aroports, les clubs, les institutions publiques, dans nos
maisons: tl, ordinateur, tlphone mobile etc.), lidentit se reconstruit continuellement et
elle est traduite dans ses images.
Les identits culturelles (dans leur structure) et la reprsentation que nous nous en faisons
sur elles se transforment sous limpact de la mondialisation et des nouveaux dispositifs mdia-
tiques, y compris lmergence des new media. Dans le monde postmoderne, les nations, avec
leurs identits culturelles, sont regardes comme des formations fluides, des communauts
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imagines (Anderson, 2001) qui se rinventent continuellement travers des mcanismes de
la communication. Dans ces conditions, le mythe dune identit essentialiste, antrieure et
indpendante est tomb devant un monde des images et expressions. Les thoriciens nous ont
averti il y a longtemps que nous sommes entrs dans une civilisation de limage, une poque
o les distinctions entre valeurs, concepts, domaines et niveaux de la ralit sont relativiss et
fondus dans le creuset de la pense faible (pensiero debole), caractristique pour le
monde postmoderne (Vattimo, 1993). Lidentit dune culture nationale dpend maintenant,
dune manire dcisive, de limage quelle a dans dautres espaces culturelles. Dans ce con-
texte, les cultures se voient obliges de redfinir leur identit dans les termes de lactualit,
travers louverture, le dialogue et la confrontation sur le march des biens symboliques et non
matriels. Dans cet espace interculturel et communicationnel ce qui compte, plus quautrefois,
cest limage dune culture, sa visibilit, sa notorit, sa rputation, les brands et la sphre de
diffusion de certaines crations et valeurs, mais aussi le degr dans lequel elles sont reconnues
sur le plan international. Lide dune identit de substrat, ayant des supports anthropologique
et historique, est considre comme une prsupposition sans fondement, une fiction des
philosophies spculatives sur lhistoire. Mais, les diffrences culturelles restent des ralits, pas
des fictions, elles se sont consolides dans lpoque moderne, mais maintenant, le dfi auquel
nous sommes soumis, est celui de trouver des modalits et de formes dorganisation laide
desquelles nous assurons leur coexistence dans un monde unitaire et divers en mme temps.
6. LEurope et la logique de la conjonction
La carte de lUnion Europenne nous montre un archipel trange. Dans un espace
gopolitique commun, mais trs restreint sous aspect gographique, plusieurs peuples, cul-
tures, langues et croyances religieuses dune grande diversit coexistent. Est ce quils for-
ment une unit? A quel niveau et de quel type? Les dirigeants de lUnion Europenne ont
ralise que le problme capitale de cette entit rside dans la devise choisie: unit dans la
diversit. LEurope se trouve la recherche dune nouvelle articulation historique entre unit
et diversit, entre les mcanismes intgrateurs et les ralits identitaires, variables et particu-
laires. En effet, lEurope, dans sa nouvelle formule institutionnelle, est un bon exemple pour
illustrer tant la signification du rapport unit/diversit, que les difficults pratiques et
inimaginables dun projet historique dune telle envergure. La construction dune identit
culturelle europenne, dun niveau supranational ou transnational, est laspect le plus prob-
lmatique du projet europen. La construction dun espace public europen et dun espace
culturel commun, qui pourrait solidariser en profondeur les citoyens des divers pays ne peut
pas tre que le rsultat dun processus systmatique et intense de communication intercul-
turelle, qui doit tre stimul et soutenu, des niveaux divers et par des stratgies diverses.
Lespace europen est devenu aujourdhui un milieu gopolitique dans lequel on expri-
mente un nouvel arrangement institutionnel entre les Etats nationaux et une nouvelle for-
mule de coexistence des diffrences culturelles. LEurope sest engage dans un ample
processus dintgration, qui se droule sous le signe de la conjonction. Je crois quil est
instructif de faire rfrence quelques images rcentes de lEurope qui ont t construites
sur cette logique de la conjonction.
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Une perspective intressante sur lEurope appartient Giovanni Sartori. Il considre que
lEurope se confronte au dilemme multiculturalisme / pluralisme. Le pluralisme est une
vision sur le monde qui apprcie positivement la diversit, mais qui nest pas une fabrique
des diversits, tandis que le multiculturalisme est surtout un projet politique destin
encourager et mme consolider ces diffrences (Sartori, 2007: 68-69). Le pluralisme
encourage les interactions et la communication entre cultures, tandis que le multicultural-
isme les accepte comme un tat de fait dsirable, mme lisolation des cultures, afin de les
protger, de garder leur spcificit. Cest bien clair que pour lEurope on ne peut pas appli-
quer le modle du melting pot amricain. Ainsi, le multiculturalisme ne peut plus tre vu
comme une continuation du pluralisme, mais plutt son renversement. Quoi quil soit
revendiqu du principe de la tolrance, le multiculturalisme voque plutt la logique de la
disjonction (les diffrences sont acceptes, lgitimes, mais elles sont aides de lextrieur),
tandis que le pluralisme entre dans la sphre du paradigme conjonctive.
Dans la mme logique de la conjonction dautres images de lEurope peuvent tre asso-
cies. Selon la reprsentation de Jeremy Rifkin, la vocation de lEurope et le rve qui lanime
sont de donner vie au rapport unit/diversit, une formule magique qui exprime lquilibre
dynamique entre la tendance dapprofondir lintgration et celle de protger ses diversits cul-
turelles. Le cas europen est exemplaire, paradigmatique, pour la tendance de rgionalisation
du monde et pour le rle dcisif que la communication interculturelle authentique joue dans
lmergence et la construction des units dordre post national. LEurope est devenu un vaste
terrain dessai et dexprimentation au niveau mondial, parce quelle a mis la diversit cul-
turelle devant lassimilation et la coopration entre Etats, socits et cultures diffrentes
devant lexercice unilatral du pouvoir. Il faut retenir la conclusion du penseur amricain:
lEurope est devenu la salle de classe du monde pour repenser lavenir (Rifkin, 2006: 153).
Rifkin apprcie dune manire superlative le paradigme conjonctive de lEurope, mais un
autre auteur amricain, promoteur des politiques noconservateurs, Robert Kagan, a une
opinion totalement diffrente. Il examine les orientations gopolitiques diffrentes de lEu-
rope et des Etats Unis et arrive les expliquer, en dernier lieu, par les diffrences culturelles
et historiques entre les deux continents. Ces diffrences sont devenues plus visibles aprs
lvnement de 9/11/2001 et dans la priode ultrieure, quand la lutte contre le terrorisme
sest dclenche. Alencontre du modle amricain, bas sur la force et la confrontation, les
europens ont choisi la coopration, le dialogue et la convergence. Robert Kagan fait la
dmarcation tranchante entre ces diffrences. Lauteur exprime, dune manire
mtaphorique, cette diffrence par une boutade: les amricains sont sur Mars tandis que les
europens sont sur Venus (Kagan, 2005 : 5). Cest une faon de dire que les Etats Unis mise
sur le paradigme disjonctif, et les europens sur celle conjonctive.
La nouvelle orientation gopolitique des Etats Unis, dans le mandat du Prsident Barak
Obama, semble tre une combinaison entre le pouvoir hard et le pouvoir soft (selon les ter-
mes de Joseph S. Nye), entre la logique de la disjonction et celle de la conjonction.
Pour comprendre les nouveaux changements auxquels nous assistons, les sciences sociales
ont besoin dun paradigme nouveau parce que les problmes culturels ont acquis une telle
importance que la pense sociale doit sorganiser autour deux (Touraine, 2005 : 9-11). Les
processus culturels nous offrent un code pour dchiffrer ceux de nature sociale et politique.
Cette ide est aussi valable pour comprendre le projet europen. Outre les intgrations
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conomiques, juridiques et politiques, le projet dune Europe unie se joue sur le terrain cul-
turel, au sens large. Lunification relle, de profondeur, de lEurope sera un rsultat cumulatif
des processus de communication interculturelle. Ces processus ont videmment des antc-
dents historiques, mais ils ont t acclrs et redimensionns par la mondialisation et les nou-
velles formes de communication.
Au cours des sicles, lEurope a t un espace propice pour la coexistence des diffrentes
cultures et aussi un milieu privilgi pour la communication interculturelle. LUnion
Europenne peut devenir une entit viable si elle russit difier, au cours des annes, un
espace culturel commun (plus exacte, un espace de linterculturalit), capable de consolider
le sentiment communautaire des citoyens des Etats membres. Dans un ouvrage crit il y a
dix ans (Georgiu, 2001) jai avanc lide que les changements survenus dans le monde
postmoderne, et surtout dans lespace europen, peuvent tre mieux compris laide dun
paradigme conjonctif, lencontre du paradigme disjonctif, qui tait spcifique la pense et
culture modernes. Certainement, ce paradigme nouveau a t prpar par une longue srie de
changements spirituels.
7. LEurope : une exception qui devient la regle
Quand on parle dun paradigme conjonctif, en opposition avec celui disjonctif, nous avons
en vue les matrices de pense pour interprter le rapport unit/diversit. LEurope parcourt un
experiment historique et nous offre une image qui anticipe la configuration du monde de
demain. Lhistoire de lEurope nous offre limage dune permanente alternance entre le para-
digme disjonctive et le paradigme conjonctive. Que nous nous rappelons les oppositions entre
la croyance et la raison, lglise et lEtat, des conflits religieux et politiques qui couvrent tant de
sicles dhistoire du continent, mais aussi des priodes dans lesquels les Etats europens se
sont solidaris contre les menaces externes, au nom des ides religieuses et ensuite des
principes politiques communs. A juste titre, Edgar Morin soutenait que lEurope devait tre
reconstruite comme units multiplex, parce que les structures communautaires taient un
cadre adquat pour garder les diffrences culturelles et aussi pour intensifier leur dialogue
fcond. Selon son opinion, le paradoxe de lEurope rside du fait que son unit surgit de la
coexistence conflictuelle des diffrences, alors que lunit de la culture europenne rside
dans la vitalit de ses antagonismes (Morin, 2004: 139). Ces antagonismes historiques se sont
teints, videmment, mais leurs traces sont restes inscrites profondment dans les cultures,
mentalits et attitudes, do elles surgissent la surface en formes quon ne peut pas ignorer.
Le paradigme conjonctif dont nous parlons essaie de mettre en corrlation et de rconcili-
er les deux dimensions contradictoires du monde actuel. Cest une formule qui nous permet
de comprendre la coexistence paradoxale de lunit et de la diversit dans la configuration
des cultures postmodernes. Paul Valry disait que lesprit europen, incarne dans des
hypostases nationales tellement varies, a son support dunit dans un ensemble de valeurs,
attitudes et dmarches qui ont des sources diverses, mais qui qui se sont fondues dans une
synthse, reprsente par la culture europenne moderne, avec son art exceptionnel, avec la
science qui a change nos reprsentations sur lunivers, toutes ses crations tant rayonnes
dune perspective humaniste et rational sur le monde. Dans cette synthse ont fusionn
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lhritage grco-romain et les traditions judo-chrtiennes, le patrimoine scientifique et
artistique des grecs, la matrice juridique et organisatrice de lhritage romain et le sceau spir-
ituel et morale de la chrtient. La force et la supriorit de lEurope sur le reste du monde
ont leur source dans son trouble crateur, dans la diversit fconde quelle a entoure, dans
les contrastes qui ont aliment son dynamisme sans limites dans lpoque moderne. LEu-
rope est devenue, par ses capacits et performances cratives, une bourse universelle des
ides scientifiques et des mouvements artistiques une usine intellectuelle sans prcdent,
fait qui a assure sa prminence sur le reste du monde.
Mais Valry et dautres penseurs ont compris que, de la position du centre du monde,
comme elle tait une fois, lEurope risque de perdre ses repres axiologiques et de tomber
proie son dsordre interne. Dans la priode dentre les deux guerres mondiales, Valry
apprciait que lEurope pse encore davantage que le reste du globe, mais il tait conscient
que les avantages comparatifs traditionnels de lEurope sont en cours de disparition (Valry,
1996: 270). Noublions pas que Valry met ce diagnostique dans la priode dentre les deux
guerres mondiales. Les lites qui donnent le ton dans le monde actuel, dans la recherche sci-
entifique et dans lavant-garde culturelle ne sont plus concentrs en Europe. Le vieux conti-
nent nest plus la bourse universelle des ides scientifiques et des mouvements artistiques,
elle nest plus une usine intellectuelle comptitive, tant surclasse dautres zones qui ont
surgi lhorizon. Dans cette perspective gopolitique aujourdhui on met le problme de la
runification politique et conomique et culturelle de lEurope, pour rsister dans la com-
ptition du dveloppement dclenche par les nouvelles forces de la civilisation. LUnion
Europenne constitue une rponse historique ces dfis.
Quand mme lEurope a une signification spciale dans lhistoire universelle. Edgar
Morin considre que lEurope sindividualise par sa vocation dialogique, par la faon dans
laquelle elle a russi de mettre en corrlation laspect et les dimensions opposes de la vie et
de lesprit. Cette ide entre en rsonance et des similitudes avec la dmarche de Constantin
Noica (1909-1987), un philosophe roumain qui considre que tous les paradigmes et modles
de pense connus peuvent tre mis, avec certaines nuances, dans un tableau gomtrique des
rapports entre lUn et le Multiple, entre unit et diversit. Ils se diffrencient en fonction des
prsuppositions ontologiques et cognitives, tacites ou explicites, mais qui ont des implications
aussi dans la sphre des engagements et prfrences axiologiques. Noica affirme que dans ce
rapport se runie la structure elle-mme de la culture et toutes ses variations possibles. Suiv-
ant le schma logique des textes de Platon, Noica analyse cinq possible rapports entre lUn et
le Multiple, chacun dfinissant un type possible de culture: 1) lUn et sa rptition; 2) lUn et
sa variation; 3) lUn dans le Multiple; 4) lUn et le Multiple; 5) lUn multiple (Noica, 1993 :
44). Dans toutes les cultures appariassent, aux intensits diffrentes, des aspects et des carac-
tristiques de ces cinq rapports. Le dernier rapport, spcifique la culture europenne, pr-
suppose une unit synthtique, dans laquelle ni lUn ne prdomine, ni le Multiple, mais
lUn est des le dbut le multiple en se distribuant sans se diviser (Noica, 1993 : 51). La cul-
ture europenne illustrerait ainsi le modle dune unit synthtique, en expansion, qui se
dfait en champs, en dautres units autonomes, en isotopes, lunit qui se diversifie et se mul-
tiplie soi mme, en produisant un monde de valeurs autonomes.
Cest ainsi que la culture europenne est devenue lune de lincarnation de la loi en cas
et toutes ses manifestations suivent ce principe de lunit dans la diversit. Cest le principe
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qui oriente aussi le paradigme conjonctif. Mais ce nest pas une conjonction extrieur, qui
unit deux entits a existence spare, mais dune conjonction interne, entre des ralits qui
ne peuvent pas tre conues quensemble. Lhumanisme, le rationalisme, le droit, les sci-
ences, les arts, les Etats-nations, la dmocratie, avec la sparation des pouvoirs en Etat, lau-
tonomie des valeurs, toutes les manifestations cratrices de la culture europenne illustrent
ce mcanisme de lunit dans la diversit, formule qui est devenues, pas du tout par hasard,
aussi le principe constitutif de lUnion Europenne.
Mai, lide dune unit multiple en soi mme est une exception des rgles fortes de la
logique classique, ainsi comme elles apparaissent dcrites dans la pense grecque, de Par-
mnide a Aristote. Noica a trouv une formule originale pour caractriser lesprit europen, en
le mettant sous le signe dun rapport spcifique entre la rgle et lexception. Les types his-
toriques de culture se diffrencient aussi par leurs attitudes envers le rapport entre la rgle et
lexception. En accord avec les cinq types de rapports entre lUn et le Multiple, Noica dter-
mine cinq types dexception: les unes qui infirme la rgle, les autres qui les confirme, les
autres qui llargissent, les autres qui seulement la proclame et, enfin, celles qui deviennent
elles mme la rgle (Noica, 1993 : 11). Dans sa forme moderne, qui apparait par une rupture
envers le monde de lantiquit, lEurope illustrerait le rapport: exception qui devient le rgle.
Que signifierait cette chose sur le plan historique, sociale et culturel? Des cultures antiques ou
non europennes, stagnantes et closes dans leur corps de normes et dides, ont t intolrantes
envers les liberts reprsentes par les exceptions. Dautres cultures, comme celle antique
grecque, ont lgitim les exceptions (la diffrence, la multiplicit) auprs du principe unitaire
de la rgle. Par contre, le monde europen, par son dynamisme crateur, invente continuelle-
ment des exceptions (ides, langages, formes dexpression et dorganisation sociale etc.) qui au
fur et mesure deviennent des rgles et des normes qui simposent sur celles antrieures.
Concernant le modle spcifique de la culture europenne a veut dire de procder par
des exceptions qui deviennent des rgles, rappelons nous quelques initiatives davantgarde
pour lhistoire universelle. Dans lespace europen la science a obtenu un statut dexcel-
lence, le politique sest dtach et sest autonomis de la religion, lEtat sest spar de
lglise, la scularisation est devenue norme dans lorganisation des institutions, dans ldu-
cation et la vie sociale. Par ce mcanisme de la cration, lart europen a invente et consacre
une richesse formidable de langages et formes dexpressivit, la science europenne a
dpass les apparences du rel et a formul des explications rationnelles, oprant avec un
monde des fictions mathmatiques, et la technique a cre un univers dobjets et dinstru-
ments par lesquels le milieu de vie est devenu non naturel, cest dire autre chose que le
milieu naturel dans lequel la vie de lhomme sest droul depuis de millnaires. Il y a des
exceptions qui sont devenues des rgles.
En partant de cette vision comparative, Noica fait un loge de la culture europenne, en
affirmant quelle est devenue la seule culture accomplie, en pouvant fonctionner comme
prototype pour dautres cultures, parce quelle a une vocation universelle, et son modle
sest globalis, chose dmontre par le fait que le globe entier est assis aujourdhui sous le
modle europen (Noica, 1993: 25). Mais, noublions pas que LEurope a t lespace
gopolitique dans lequel sont ns quelques exception aberrantes et quelle a t le thtre
dexpriences dsastreuses: deux guerres mondiales, deux types de rgimes totalitaires, avec
des effets monstrueux, lHolocauste et le Goulag. Enfin, lEurope est celle qui a invent la
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nation et lEtat-nation, des exceptions qui sont devenues des rgles pour le monde moderne.
Et encore une fois lEurope est sur le point de dpasser aujourdhui cette structure de rsis-
tance de lpoque moderne, inventant lexception nomme lUnion Europenne, comme
structure sui generis, qui na pas dantcdents historiques comme type dorganisation
supra-nationale ou mta-nationale. LUE est une invention historique, unique, qui se remar-
que par sa capacit de se construire lunit politique sans supprimer sa diversit culturelle.
Au fond, le projet de la construction europenne elle-mme, dmarr aprs la deuxime
guerre mondiale, peut tre mis sous le signe de la conjonction, en dsaccord avec les disjonc-
tions et les conflits intra-europennes de lpoque moderne. Le modle europen dintgra-
tion est orient par un vecteur supranationale, mais elle a une particularit: LUnion
Europenne est une organisation suprastatale, mais une qui ne dtruit pas les Etats nationaux
components, mais les contient et les conserve, en reconnaissant leur souverainet et leur
pouvoir de dcision dans certaines limites. Cest ici que se trouve son originalit historique.
Voila pourquoi lUE est une exception et pourquoi elle pourrait tre nomme plutt une
organisation postnationale et non pas supranationale.
Un autre aspect. Le processus de la mondialisation a commence, au fond, par la rgiona-
lisation. LEurope a construit la premire rgion conomique fonctionnelle, aprs 1950, la
premire exception qui est devenue rgle dans le milieu de la globalisation. LUnion
Europenne est la seule rgion conomique et politique rellement intgre, qui dispose
dinstitutions fonctionnelles (parlementaires, excutives et juridiques), dun marche
conomique unifi, dune monnaie commune, ainsi que des politiques convergentes, dans
divers domaines, aspects qui la singularise sur les autres rgions conomiques du monde.
Cest pourquoi lUE est la seule organisation postnationale qui puisse jouer le rle dun
acteur globale dans un monde domin encore par des Etats-nations.
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Marketing and Organization Management
in the Global World
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Marketing Strategies Development within Romanian
Companies in the Context of the Global Economic Crisis.
Case Study: The Automobile Market
Florina PNZARU*
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration,
Bucharest, Romania
Alexandra ZBUCHEA
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration,
Bucharest, Romania
Cristina GALALAE
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration,
Bucharest, Romania
Abstract: Under the influence of global financial crisis, national markets experienced significant con-
tractions, the demand decreased and economic mechanisms faced some of the greatest difficulties in the past
three decades. The European Union has been seriously affected by the impact of economic crisis, and the
effects seem to be continuously aggravating.
Amid significant structural deficits, Romania was also frontally reached by the effects of the global eco-
nomic crisis and the measures taken in order to revive national economy proved to be rather modest in their
scope and results. In the absence of coherent and adapted macroeconomic policies to the Romanian market,
traders have reassessed their actions at the level of both production and trade decisions, on the domestic
sale market and regarding the efficiency of export flows.
This paper aims to analyze the development of marketing strategies in the Romanian companies in the
context of the economic crisis (2008-2010) on the automobile industry, using public data and in-depth inter-
views with marketers from the industry.
Keywords: economic crisis, marketing management, strategic management, world economy, Romanian
automobile market
*
Contact: florina.pinzaru@comunicare.ro.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 209
1. Introduction
Marketing is now a mature discipline in Romania, with a very rapid development and
good practice examples often presented in the business media. Romanian customers are
increasingly demanding as they learn to compare, select, recognize and appreciate their own
expectations as consumers. Therefore, the role of customers, suppliers, institutions, non-
profit organizations etc. in the consumption process hasnt ceased to grow for several years
(Dwyer, Tanner, 2009). On this market we can find very strong 100% Romanian brands with
loyal customers, as well as locally integrated campaigns and approaches meant to support
sales of products hosted under the umbrella of international brands. However, economic cri-
sis effects have determined rapid changes in marketing activities on the Romanian market, in
response to substantial reduction in consumption manifested in most industries.
Management activities are typically based on medium-term planning, usually for three
years. However, in the context of economic turmoil, even chaos, the traditional three-year
strategic plan is outdated and bears no more value (Kotler and Caslione 2009: 26), fact which
has an impact on all organizational sections. After a period of rapid economic development, the
years of 2008-2009 brought in the spotlight the need to rethink marketing activities in Roma-
nia, considering the context of economic crisis and taking into account several variables such
as decreasing demand, stronger competition, changes in purchasing behavior and in consumer
behavior, restrictive regulations and management mentality still subject to academic debate in
business literature. After a period of unprecedented growth, the automobile industry is one of
the most affected markets by economic crisis, also in Romania, fact which raises serious ques-
tions about the possible need for restructuring marketing approaches in this sector.
While the production of cars has become a large scale enterprise which demands enor-
mous capital outlays, customers demand and behavior is rather specific for each national
market (Dankbaar, 1993: 183). The auto crisis, mainly influenced by the crash of the credit
markets, generated the need of different marketing strategies implemented by auto dealers
(Zeese, 2008). In the following chapters we will emphasize the mechanism of economic cri-
sis and its effects on Romanian markets, especially on the automobile industry. In addition,
we will present the results of an empirical research regarding marketers perception about the
crisis and post-crisis marketing boost.
2. The Economic Crisis Contagion Mechanism
The financial crisis, globally visible ever since fall of 2008, although predictable, has sur-
prised most markets and economic players, and thus some industries started facing severe
liquidity problems and a significant drop in demand. Most economists believe that for 2009
we can speak, without a doubt, about a genuine structural crisis, preceded only by the 1997
Asian crisis and by the collapse of web companies shares in 2001, and that we can expect the
roughest economic developments encountered ever since the 30s. Originated in USA,
where the existence of a financial crisis was visible ever since 2007-2008 (Cechetti, 2008),
the phenomena we call today crisis translates in the rest of the world into major pressures
on the banking sector and into restricting production due to falling demand especially in
industries where it depends on credit, such as those of durable goods.
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The most common explanation of the international financial crisis of 2008-2009 is over-
indebtedness of American households, propagated worldwide by financial speculation, fact
which triggered the so-called butterfly effect that determined the fall of capital markets
and real estate markets in a chain reaction. In fact, not only in USAbut also in other capital-
ist countries, consumption was boosted by credit and not by increasing the effective purchas-
ing power. This was possible partly due to the massive relocation of production in countries
with cheap labor and high productivity. Thus, we have witnessed stagnation in average
wages on a global level and therefore in responsible credit demand.
On a microeconomic level, the generic route for the contagion mechanism of the crisis is
the following: falling stock markets determined liquidity search on behalf of the entrepreneurs.
Already in a confidence crisis, banks refuse loan approvals. This leads to dropping investments
and increasing concerns on profitability, fact which determines difficulties on the workforce
level (employment decline and possibly increasing unemployment) and consequently spreads
a general state of panic in the market. At the macroeconomic level, the crisis is visible through
unemployment rate, low incomes and ultimately by decreasing consumption.
Thus, restoring the route of contagion of the crisis leads us to the conclusion that in order
to get out of the crisis we need to stimulate sustainable consumption and strive to meet the
needs of the customers, without falling into the trap of excessive lending. In this direction we
have the macroeconomic policies, on one hand, which as we saw before are not without their
limits. However, on the other hand is the entrepreneurs replies which reside in their manage-
ment and marketing strategies.
The economic crisis has impacted heavily on many industries, but some traders chose to
continue to invest in promotion, in order to reinforce the company brand and to position it in
the minds of the customers as favorable as possible, in order to prepare for post-crisis sales.
Industries most affected by the economic crisis are those whose sales usually depend direct-
ly on lending, such as automobiles, furniture, real estate etc. Romanian market was no
exception to this rule, and one of the areas most affected was the automobiles.
3. Crisis Marketing in Romania: The First Effects
In economically difficult times, managers first action is to reduce company expenses,
especially on communication and advertising. Therefore, as a direct consequence of econom-
ic crisis, advertising spending dropped in Romania, by 40% in 2009 (APIA, 2009). However,
even if the principle of efficient distribution of communication budgets cant be questioned
whether we are in economic good times or not, sometimes this is not the key to profit or to cut
the losses in times of crisis. Sometimes, reallocation of budgets is sufficient in order to rede-
fine the promotional mix components, depending on the target and background.
In Romania, only a few months after the financial crisis became visible, consumption levels
fell in most industries. Romanians made fewer purchases in 2009 even if they belong among
those directly hit by the effects of economic collapse or not. This consumer behavior is explained
on the one hand by limited access to credit, and secondly, by the panic generated by the media.
Therefore, overcoming crisis times depends not only on microeconomic level actions, but
especially on macroeconomic policies. However, we cant deny the fact that the actions of each
company can be set so that this period of crisis passes with minimal losses or even with
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prospects on profit opportunities. But what is quite clear is that in times of economic crisis, the
share of various promotional elements changes in the communication mix, according to new
media habits of targeted publics or to available budgets, given the context of dropping sales.
For example, because people spend more time at home during the crisis, preferring to save
the budget once spent on holidays, the cinema and restaurants, it is expected that TV advertis-
ing will still hold a prominent place among preferred communication channels by companies
during the economic crisis. In the first quarter of 2009, television has maintained first place in
media budgets, with a 90.56% share of total gross expenditure (Zbuchea, Pinzaru, Galalae,
2009: 374). Another area heavily hit by reducing budgets during the economic crisis is BTLs
(non-conventional promotion activities, Beyond-the-line). Narrow framework events, organ-
ized right in the points of sales of companies are often seen to replace attendance at tradeshow
exhibitions or national class caravans. Printed media is yet another channel which showed dra-
matic decreases in 2009 (Zbuchea, Pinzaru, Galalae, 2009: 375), while alternative media will
grow significantly. Moreover, it is expected that indoor advertising segment, which currently
owns 1.1% of total investment in advertising, will evolve on an upward trend due to compa-
nies desire to move closer to more and more customers (Zbuchea, Pinzaru, Galalae, 2009).
Increasing investment in communication channels shows traders orientation to alterna-
tive channels and to a new way to promote products and services focused on creating lasting
relationships with customers. Creativity, ingenuity and well defined targeting are the main
instruments by which organizational actors try to cope with changes in customers purchasing
and consumption behavior and to reduce overall communications budgets.
4. The Impact of Economic Crisis on Marketing Policies in
Romanian Automobile Industry
The pressure to keep distribution costs low while conveying a clear brand message has
been the main challenge for auto dealers for the last decade. (Parment, 2009). After a unique
and unexpected increase in the Romanian economic history (Dogaru, 2007), the car market
has experienced in 2009 a dramatic decrease which continues, albeit at a slower pace in 2010
as well. The main outcome of the economic crisis experienced by automobile industry mar-
keters in Romania, aside from the obvious decline in sales (both in turnover and the number
of units) was the change in consumer profile. If only two or three years back customers were
very sensitive to design and branding, in 2010 they became rather fond of comparing
prices (Alecu, 2009). This consumer behavior oriented solely on the price argument proves
to be very difficult to deal with especially for trade and post-sales teams of producer compa-
nies, importers and dealers, especially giving the fact that the amortization for the show-
rooms, mostly built in 2003-2006, is far from being covered (Alecu, 2009). Therefore, the
situation implies a various sum of important factors that constraint the business policy in this
industry. Romanian car market, from a sales perspective, is actually at the same level in early
2010 as in 2003, making the development or even survival of dealers very difficult, since
many of them must cover ongoing bank loans taken for business development before the
onset of economic crisis.
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In Europe, the number of new cars sold fell in September 2008 by 8 percent compared to
the previous year, to approximately 1.3 million vehicles. Customers are delaying their pur-
chase decisions and face difficulties financing a new car, according to the European Automo-
bile Manufacturers Association (Rippert, 2008).
Figure 1. Evolution of new car sales in Romania (Alecu, 2010).
Until the emergence of the economic crisis, most marketing budgets in the auto industry
were directed towards launching and supporting new models of cars. Thus, these last few
years, marked by an unprecedented increase in market share, were governed by huge adver-
tising budgets (Miric, 2009). For example, in 2007, Renault-Nissan Romania was the
importer who has invested most in advertising its models, almost EUR 37.9 million gross
(Miric, 2009). The second most important budget in 2007 was owned Auto Italia (official
importer of the brands Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Ssang Yong, Maserati), whose gross invest-
ment in advertising totaled 33.4 million euros. Dacia was ranked third, with a gross invest-
ment of 23.9 million euros (Miric, 2009). Comparatively, in 2009, the number of advertis-
ing inserts in campaigns supporting automobile brands halved compared to 2008, reaching
60.744 commercials and inserts and a total investment of 92 million gross (rate card rates
without discount) compared to 180 million in 2008 (Miric, 2009).
Since 2009, the auto companies marketing mix, increased in importance the post-sale
element, by developing nation-wide communication campaigns, organized by importers and
producers in an increasingly more aggressive tone. Comparatively, in 2007 2008, such
actions were seen more seldom, being set up locally by car dealers. This happened due to
credit freeze, which almost blocked car sales: suddenly, companies were forced to find new
sources of monthly cash income and incentive opportunities for their network members (the
dealers). This source proved to be post-sale services.
The economic crisis started affecting the markets since the end of 2008 and the first sign of
the impact on marketing strategies for the brands on the market was as unexpected as
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possible. Thus, the most important car fair in Romania (and in Central and Eastern Europe),
SIAB (Bucharest International Auto Show), held its last edition in 2007, the 2009 edition was
cancelled by the Association of Automobile Manufacturers and Importers (APIA) due to the
economic crisis impact.
The delicate situation the automobile industry is in, both nationally and internationally,
together with massive inflows of used vehicles, led the Association to this decision (APIA,
2009). However, for 2011 the fair is included in the official calendar of the International Auto-
mobile Manufacturers Organization. It is interesting to note that the cancellation of SIAB is
not just an independent decision, but a true icon for the decline of the automobile market since
the end of 2008 after several years of prosperity. Comparatively, in the 2007 edition, 23 com-
panies attended the event and exposed 40 car brands, 10 tuning companies with 50 brands,
and 12 motorcycle and ATV companies which exposed 35 brands (APIA, 2009).
5. Auto Marketing, Where to? The Marketers Perception
Romanias business press has constantly reported the evolution in sales figures of auto-
mobile manufacturers and importers related to the context of economic crisis, since it is an
issue of great importance for many consumers. In most cases, the main points that emerged
from the statements of quoted marketers were restricted budgets, brand communication
efforts and the need to continue to launch new services in order to increase the loyalty of
existing customers.
Romanian car market has been for a decade, in a typical situation for emerging
economies, governed by consecutive increases in sales and a reduced short-term need to
secure existing customers. The economic crisis led to the necessity to rethink marketing poli-
cies in this direction.
In order to outline the main future directions of automobile marketing in Romania we
present further findings that have emerged from a qualitative enquiry that the authors of the
article have conducted during April-May 2010.
The research consisted in eight in-depth interviews with marketing responsible special-
ists from five automobiles companies on the Romanian market (five marketing specialists,
one commercial responsible, and two marketing managers). Six of our subjects are working
for auto dealer companies and other two are affiliated to import companies.
The interview guide is made of twenty open questions which covered the following main
aspects:
The impact of economic crisis on marketing budgets;
Changes due to economic crisis on the marketing communication mix;
Changes due to economic crisis on the broadcasted messages in communication cam-
paigns;
Changes due to economic crisis on the products and services portfolio offered to con-
sumers;
New practices included in any specific marketing policies.
We used several methods for qualitative date collection such as identifying alternative
explanations (identifying best fit) and review by inquiry participants in order to understand
marketers perception upon marketing strategies.
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The interviews revealed that from early 2009, the perception of economic crisis was quite
different from one importer to another, but in most cases the first decision was to wait and to
freeze or reduce budgets. But the fall of 2009 was marked by an abundance of promotional
activities in all companies whose representatives were interviewed. For the most part, these
actions were designed to boost sales as their level unexpectedly dropped.
In the automobile industry marketing campaigns in times of crisis have been built on the
same algorithm for almost all of the brands releasing new products. Television remained,
along with outdoor media, the communication channel of choice for companies, but there is
also an increase in interest for CRM initiatives, in developing campaigns using the Internet
and at least one of the companies whose representatives were interviewed also created spe-
cial events with the brands Fan Club.
Although the primary message related to the specific context was in all cases, time-lim-
ited special offer, emotional tone was also preserved. In most cases, one could notice the
use of the same TV commercials used for brand communication except for the last few
frames where the local offer was included (the case of respondents representing import com-
panies and subsidiaries).
All brands have continued their generic brand communication campaigns in a systematic
manner, regardless of seasonal sales and the impact of economic crisis.
The economic crisis led to a very interesting situation, highlighted by five of the eight
people interviewed and summarized as follows:
Decrease in the number of buyers due to lower purchasing power, credit freeze and ori-
entation of a segment of consumers towards the second-hand market;
Manifestation of a certain degree of inertia in the purchase process as a consequence to
adopting a cautious purchase behavior;
Higher negotiation power for customers in showrooms due to their decreasing numbers;
Worried dealers due to lower cash flow, correlated with the background of existing
debts to banks, as a result of investments made to open showrooms in 2003-2006.
In this context, the year of 2009 came with the unexpected appearance of price sensitive
and price demanding consumers. The brands response was simple and very straightforward
starting with the summer of 2009: discount offers. This trend backfired by sacrificing certain
categories of comfort and safety features and thus, the cars presented in the special offers
were not equipped as the ones proposed in the discount offers highlighted during the boom
of 2007. Therefore, the interviews conducted revealed the increase in number of discounted
offers on the products and services in the portfolio of importers, and dealers as well (one
free periodical technical inspection upon the purchase of tires, free item or a discounted
option upon the purchase of certain services etc.)..
6 out of 8 interviewed marketers highlighted, additionally, the increasing need to promote
post-sale services, as part of providing the necessary cash requirements for dealers, as well
as a trend meant to respond to the threat of the aftermarket. Technical service activities con-
tribute at least by 20% to the turnover of car dealers and bring usually about 80% of their
profits. In the context of economic crisis, when new cars sales fall abruptly, service acti-
vities may become one of the dealers survival sources, able to make up for a minimum of
40% of revenues.
Typically, the post-sale activity mechanism in the automobile industry is closely related to
service, which, as revealed in the conducted interviews, was not placed in the highlights of
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216 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
communication campaigns prior to the emergence of the economic crisis. All of the importing
and manufacturing companies sell their vehicles and related spare parts (originals) in their
own showrooms and through a fairly homogeneous network of dealers. In 2009, more than
ever, importers and manufacturers have started and developed a joint action to promote spe-
cial offers from service stations, trying to boost both turnover of dealers in specific service
activities as well as their own turnover (and hence, the dealers), by selling spare parts of cer-
tified origin. The deepening economic crisis and increasing sales of used cars was supposed to
have a general positive impact on turnover development of service stations, as well as on that
of the authorized dealers. But that growth didnt happen nor did it generate a similar trend in
sales rates for authentic spare parts, out of which importers and manufacturers profit.
The dealership agreements stipulate that licensees are required to buy and use only cer-
tain quantities of original spare parts, enabling them to call upon the aftermarket for purchas-
ing the remaining necessary volumes, at less expensive rates but manufactured at compara-
ble quality standards. Therefore, development of promotions for certified origin spare parts
became a widely spread communication and sales activity on the Romanian automobile mar-
ket in 2009 and 2010, bringing forward the challenge of finding new ways to enhance this
area. From the conducted interviews it was revealed that, in general, post-sale promotion in
the automobile industry is a rather short-term practice, since it depends on existing stocks,
specific consumer behavior related to seasons and copying competition activities.
According to collected data during the interviews, regardless of the objectives aimed by
spare parts promotions and service units activities, total annual budgets allocated to post-sale
communications were stretched in 2009 between 200,000 and 400,000 euro / network, and the
promotional mixes focused mainly on point of sale activities (leaflets and posters distributed in
service stations), direct marketing activities (newsletters to lists of e-mails, letters sent to exist-
ing customer lists, and SMS) and on outdoor prints displayed in areas where the service units
are located. It should be noted that there is rarely a clear synchronization between communica-
tion plans for new cars and the promotion of post-sale services (only in 4 out of 8 cases), either
form the main theme perspective or from the broadcasting message or the time period synchro-
nization perspective. However, special events in the lives of prominent brands or companies
make an exception to this rule. Such was the case of the 90
th
anniversary of Citroen.
In the opinion of the interviewed marketing specialists, the future of automobile market-
ing in Romania is governed by efficiently spent budgets, which means, strengthening brands,
proactive attitude in launching short-term special services campaigns, directing a larger
share of communication budgets to the Internet activities (6 out of 8 respondents reinforced
that statement), cutting unnecessary costs and increase in promotion of post-sale services or
even including the auto repair service as a separate product in the importing companies port-
folio (one in eight respondents). In addition, the need to preserve television and outdoor
advertising as priority channels for communication is once more confirmed (8 of 8 respon-
dents), but not without pressing on the need to use a more refined customers segmentation,
based on psychographic together with socio-demographic criteria ( 1 of 8 respondents).
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 216
6. Conclusions
As Kotler and Caslione state (2009: 175) Great marketers not only recover from crises,
they build their internal capacity to expect the unexpected. They always reinvent business
models and marketing strategies for chaotic times, so they can rapidly adapt as market cir-
cumstances change.
Our exploratory research on the Romanian automobile market confirms the need for rein-
vention of local profile marketing. If certain elements revealed in the interviews were pre-
dictable, such as effective marketing budgets administration and the growing importance of
Internet in the communication mix, other issues strive to demonstrate the need to at least par-
tially reconfigure the marketing policies. Thus, during the crisis and post-economic crisis
times, securing the customers loyalty must be an objective just as important as attracting
new customers, not only in statements but also in actions. However, if retention practices
allow further achieving of even more business goals such as ensuring cash flow, they ought
to be developed on a professional level and budgeted accordingly.
In marketing theory, after-sales services promotion is one of the most used techniques for
ensuring long term customer retention. Moreover, in the traditional sense of the marketing
mix, the primary activities of specific post-sale, regardless of industry, i.e. service and war-
ranty are elements included in the product policy (Dragon, 2003: 334). Thus, service is seen
as a complementary package of features offered by the basic product or assembly of goods
for their full valuation for consumption or use (ibid.), and it can be technical or commer-
cial. Warranty policies, as extended producer responsibility for the product, represent a
defined period of time beyond the time of sales and it is a tool for increasing the competitive-
ness of traders, and for helping in retaining customers and in increasing the companies rep-
utation (Dragon, 2003: 336).
The present economic crisis has shown, however, clearly on a practical level that some
product markets, such as the automobile after-sales service must be understood not only in the
classic sense of the theory, but as a means to insure the availability of cash funds needed to run
the companies concerned. While the warranty policy itself remains as an option that increases
customer loyalty and that highlights additional positive arguments at the time of initial sale,
service and spare parts are, by themselves, a whole new business, that implies more than just
the basic customer loyalty. In fact, when sales rates collapse as they did in the Romanian car
markets case, by 53% between January and November 2009 (Gubandru, 2009), the turnover
of companies in the field begins to depend increasingly on the ability to sell new products to
existing customers using post-sale service activities. Therefore, the loyalty issue arises in this
context, on a very peculiar way, as a result of doubling the stakes thinking beyond the medi-
um term and long term plans for retention of brand consumer portfolio, they should be attract-
ed to service stations in order to ensure a comfortable level of business income from the paid
after-sales service activities that extend beyond the warranty itself.
The most important lesson that automobile companies learned from the economic crisis
hold in regard the need for strategic planning of marketing communication in general and post-
sale activities in particular, and especially the careful management of the latter. It is highly
probable that the first step in this direction will be the detailed segmentation, in order to devel-
op the future of personalized offers that will secure customer loyalty in a sustainable manner.
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For marketing theory, the main lesson provided by the economic crisis in the automobile
market is that the aftermarket is neither a further continuation of the product, nor just any
other tool for securing customer loyalty, but a business in itself, to be regarded as such in
order to ensure the revenue it has the potential to provide.
Finally, the economic crisis precipitated the maturation of a market that has seen expo-
nential growth for a few years. Hence, it is time for solid accumulation and strategically
planned action, but without disregarding the flexibility demonstrated so far.
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Explorative Pilot Study Regarding the Relationship between the
Emotional Labor and Burnout in Direct Sales Representatives
Elena-Mdlina IORGA*
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration,
Bucharest, Romania
Dan Florin STNESCU
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration,
Bucharest, Romania
Abstract: The internationalization of human resources management enforced the tendency of putting
the human back into the human resources management. This is why special attention has been paid lately to
the emotional component of the job, especially concerning people work jobs, such as health care, social
services work, teaching or sales. On the other hand, affective outcomes have been linked with burnout. Due
to these issues, the current study seeks to investigate the extents to which emotional labor results in burnout
for employees who work in direct sales.
The study was conducted using a survey method of 24 direct sales employees (2 males and 22 females). The
results confirmed the fact that expressing organizationally desired emotions while interacting with customers
is emotionally taxing. Significant correlations were found not only concerning the overall scores for emotional
labor and burnout, but also between the respective subscales. The variety of emotions displayed at work posi-
tively influences the frequency of the personal accomplishment felt by the sales representatives. Likewise, the
more one paints on affective displays the more emotionally exhausted he/she feels. These findings represent
a basis for new antecedents on the implications of emotional labor in the Romanian workplace.
Keywords: emotional labor, burnout, people work
1. Introduction
Emotions in work settings represented a recurrent issue in the 1930s, but from this point for-
ward the interest towards the emotional dynamics in work and organizations diminished.
Despite that, Rafaeli, Semmer and Tschan (n.d.) note that there were two exceptions from the
main rationale-cognitive approach of organizational behavior: the study of job satisfaction,
which was seen as an affective reaction and the research on stress at work, which was primarily
related to negative emotions (Lazarus & Cohen-Charash, 2001). The end of the 20
th
century
*
Contact: iorgaem@yahoo.com.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 221
was marked by such a surge in the academic interest in emotions in the workplace, that Barsade,
Brief & Spataro proclaimed the affective revolution (Rafaeli et al., n.d.).
One of the pillars of this revolution was the concept of emotional labor, which was first
conceptualized by the American sociologist Arlie Hochschild (1979, 2003). Once launched
in the academic market it became a privileged issue. Researchers seemed to try and deter-
mine whether emotional labor was to open new directions in understanding organizational
behavior or it was just another buzz word (International Journal of Nursing Studies, vol.
44, 2007). Therefore, beginning with The Managed Hearth (Hochschild, 1983) a wide range
of studies were conducted in order to describe the concept of emotional labor and its out-
comes, among which the most frequently approached were burnout or job satisfaction (Ash-
forth & Humphrey, 1993; Morris & Feldman, 1996; Grandey, 2000, 2003; Brotheridge &
Grandey, 2002; Brotheridge & Lee, 2003; Pugliesi, 1999 etc).
Emotional labor was initially studied in the service context, which was seen as the pro-
totypical emotional labor work (Brotheridge & Grandey, 2002). Adopting Goffmans dra-
maturgical perspective, Hochschild considered service encounters as a performance directed
by the organization (Grandey, 2003). This performance implies impression management in
order to achieve organizational goals, such as client satisfaction and return business. Since
the interpersonal aspect of the job is taken into consideration (the customer-client relation-
ship) and as emotions are an important part of communication, the management of feeling
to create a publicly observable facial and bodily display urges (Hochschild, 2003: 7). The
main difference between emotion work the term proposed by Hochschild in a first stage of
her study (1979) and emotional labor is the fact that the later has exchange value, since it is
sold for a wage, while the former is used in private life and therefore has use value.
Another important concept related to emotional labor is that of display rules, which refer
to standards for appropriate expression of emotions on the job (Ekman, 1973). These can be
seen as part of the wider concept of feeling rules, which are social guidelines that specify the
extent, the direction and the duration of a feeling in a specific situation due to social conven-
tion (Hochschild, 1979). Furthermore, Hochschild proposed two main ways of managing
emotions in the workplace in order to meet the specified display rules: surface acting (regu-
lating the emotional expressions) and deep acting (modifying inner feelings) (Hochschild,
2003). These processes are effortful and, when organizations get to control something as per-
sonal as employees emotions, the commoditization of emotions intervenes and it can lead to
unpleasant consequences (Hochschild, 1979).
As one can see from the discussion above, Hochschilds conceptualization of emotional
labor mainly refers to the management of feelings. Ashforth and Humphrey (1993), in
exchange, are more concerned about the expressions. They define emotional labor as the act
of displaying appropriate emotions with the goal to engage in a form of impression manage-
ment for the organization (Ashforth & Humphrey, 1993: 89). Hence, the focus moves on
the observable behavior. Another contribution of the two authors to the study of emotional
labor is that of introducing the concept of identity (both social and personal) as a moderating
variable in managing emotions in the workplace (Ashforth & Humphrey, 1993).
Morris and Feldman (1996) moved even further and approached the concept of emotion-
al labor taking into account the characteristics of the job. From an interactional point of view,
they described emotional labor as the effort, the planning and control needed to express
222 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
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organizationally desired emotions during interpersonal transactions (Morris & Feldman,
1996: 987). Emotional labor was seen as consisting of four dimensions: the frequency of
interactions, attentiveness (intensity of emotions and duration of interaction), variety of
emotions required representing the organizational expectations for employees in their
interactions with clients, and emotional dissonance (an internal state of tension due to the
demand of performing emotional labor regardless of what the employee truly feels).
Considering all three theories on emotional labor presented Grandey (2000) notes that,
despite the differences in defining the process these theories have a common theme: the fact
that individuals can regulate their emotional expressions at work. On this basis, Grandey
(2000) formulated an integrated model of emotional labor, as the process of regulating both
feelings and expressions in order to meet the organizational goals. In doing so, she started
from Grosss model of emotion regulation (1998b).
Since in most theories on emotion, the term is usually associated with a physiological
arousal and cognitive appraisal of the situation, Gross (1998b) identifies two strategies of
emotion regulation: antecedent-focused emotion regulation and response-focused emotion
regulation. The first strategy implies that individuals can regulate the antecedents of emo-
tion, such as the situation or the appraisal. But, as in service jobs there are no options such as
choosing or modifying the situation, Grandey suggests that changing the focus of personal
thoughts and changing external appraisals of the situation (attention deployment and cogni-
tive change, in Grosss terms) are antecedent-focused emotion regulation types that are sim-
ilar to Hochschilds deep acting. In the same manner, response-focused emotion regulation,
understood as modifying expression either by faking or by enhancing nonverbal signs of
emotion, corresponds to Hochschilds surface acting.
Grandey (2000) also emphasizes that the perception itself of the organizational expecta-
tions regarding certain emotion displays will lead to a higher degree of management of emo-
tions by employee. And there are three distinct types of emotional work requirements, as
shown by Jones & Best (1995) and Wharton & Erickson (1993): integrative emotional work
requirements (it is the case of front-line workers who have to service with a smile); differ-
entiating emotional work requirements (bill collectors or law enforcement officers, for
example, have to display negative emotions); masking emotional work requirements (con-
trolling emotions such as in the case of judges or therapists).
From the very beginning, there was a clear distinction between genuinely felt emotions
and surface acting and deep acting as emotional labor strategies. Hochschild (2003: 36) sug-
gested that feelings do not erupt spontaneously or automatically in either deep acting or sur-
face acting. In both cases the actor has learned to intervene either in creating the inner shape
of a feeling or in shaping the outward appearance of one. That is why, later on, Rafaeli and
Sutton (1987) characterized the two processes as faking mechanisms. There is though a
difference in terms of faith between deep acting (seen as faking in good faith, since the
intention of the actor is to seem authentic) and surface acting (described as faking in bad
faith, since what motivates the actor to conform to display rules is not helping the cus-
tomers or the organization, but rather the personal goal of keeping the job). Furthermore, the
expression of naturally felt emotions as a distinct strategy for displaying emotions at work
was acknowledged in a study (Diefendorff, Croyle & Gosserand, 2005).
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Regardless of the strategy used, emotional labor means managing both ones own and
others emotions. That is why Humphrey et al. (2008) coined the phrase leading with emo-
tional labor, moving the analysis at the managerial level. He concluded that leaders fre-
quently perform emotional labor as part of their effort to influence their followers moods
and emotions (Humphrey et al., 2008: 165).
The implications of leaders performing emotional labor are multiple, as shown by
Humphrey et al. (2008). Unlike service workers, who usually express a narrow range of emo-
tions in a repetitive way, leaders need to display a wide range of emotions and in doing so, they
must use judgement when it comes to expressing the appropriate emotion at a particular time.
And this aspect is crucial in times of crisis or when dealing with negative workplace events, as
leaders have to maintain the confidence, the hope and optimism of their subordinates.
Given the importance of a positive affective group climate, one of the best ways to influ-
ence team members moods in this direction is through emotional contagion (catching or
sharing the moods of those around) (Humphrey et al., 2008). Furthermore, the stronger the
relationship between employees and their supervisors, the higher the employee involvement
will be, as proved by Wen-Bao Lin (2008). Emotional labor itself was shown to have a sig-
nificantly effect on the involvement of employees (Wen-Bao Lin, 2008).
But emotional contagion was found efficient in the case of service encounters, as well
(Pugh, 2001). Performing service with a smile determines the customers to catch the pos-
itive moods displayed by emotional laborers and be satisfied with the services provided. In
another study, customer orientation was found to moderate the display rule emotional labor
relationship, by increasing goog faith acting (Allen et al., 2010).
Up to this point one can see that emotional labor cannot be discussed as a dichotomous
variable (in terms of presence/absence), but it has to be considered in its multiple dimen-
sions. This influences, further on the study of the consequences of emotional labor, since
specific facets may have distinct impacts on workers (Pugliesi, 1999). Considering the indi-
vidual variable, there are people who self-select occupations that require particular types of
emotional labor (Shuler & Sypher, 2000).
In analyzing the possible outcomes of emotional labor, we shall infer, together with
Tolich (1993) that emotional labor can be both alienating and liberating. Hence, regulating
emotions in work settings in order to meet specific organizational display rules can have
either negative or positive consequences for employees.
The major tendency in research was to determine the extent to which emotional labor is
taxing in people work. A comparison between the emotions generally experienced in the
workplace and those experienced in private life revealed that people tend to feel more often
negative emotions at work than at home (Rafaeli et al., n.d.). Consistent with these findings,
emotional labor was mainly related to negative attitudinal, psychological and behavioral out-
comes for employees. That is why special attention has been paid to the relationship between
emotional labor and burnout, as a specific form of job stress.
The association of the two variables was first suggested by Hochschild (2003). Further
on, Hochschilds view that organizational control of emotional displays is inherently stress-
ful has received mixed support in both qualitative and quantitative studies (Morris & Feld-
man, 1997; Pugliesi, 1999; Erickson & Wharton, 1997; Kruml & Geddes, 2000; Brotheridge
& Grandey, 2002; Grandey, Fisk & Steiner, 2005). Kruml and Geddes (2000) showed that
224 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
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individuals experience stress when they fake emotion, rather than genuinely expressing what
they feel, since there appears the so-called emotional dissonance process. Morris and Feld-
man (1996) similarly found that emotional labor and emotional exhaustion correlate posi-
tively among debt collectors, military recruiters and nurses. In another study, Pugliesi (1999)
showed that emotional labor was significantly and positively related to job stress and
increased psychological distress.
Other researchers used moderating variables such as job resources (de Jonge, le Blanc,
Peeters & Noordam 2008), personal control (Grandey, Fisk & Steiner, 2005) or gender and
emotional intelligence (Johnson, 2004) in exploring the relationship between emotional labor
and burnout. So, burnout (in terms of its core dimension emotional exhaustion) was shown to
be a response to emotionally demanding tasks; the results acknowledged a stronger relation-
ship when particular job resources such as emotional support were absent (de Jonge, le Blanc,
Peeters & Noordam 2008). On the other hand, Grandey, Fisk & Steiner (2005) supported in
their study the hypothesis of the influence of job autonomy (as a form of personal control) on
the relationship of emotion regulation with emotional exhaustion: the positive relationship of
response-focused emotion regulation with burnout is weaker for employees with high job
autonomy than for those with low job autonomy. Johnson (2004) reported that females are
more likely to experience negative consequences when engaging in surface acting. In the same
time, employees with high scores in emotional intelligence experienced positive outcomes as
emotional labor increased, whereas those with low scores in emotional intelligence experi-
enced negative outcomes while trying to express organizationally desired emotions.
As Ashkanasy, Hartel & Daus (2002) point out, these kinds of results should be taken into
account considering the individual characteristics of employees, where some may be better
equipped or skilled when it comes to performing emotional labor effectively and without
adverse personal consequences. And this observation leads to the question whether manag-
ing the heart in the workplace must be necessarily stressful or not.
For example, in recent developments, age was demonstrated to have both direct and indi-
rect effects on the emotional labor strategies used in different service contexts (Dahling &
Perez, 2010). These findings revealed that the older the worker the higher the tendency to
maximize positive and minimize negative emotional experiences.
Although the approach of positive emotional labor outcomes was underexplored, there
were some studies that acknowledged emotional labor as a social dimension which connects
employees and makes their work more enjoyable (Schuler & Sypher, 2000). Even Hoch-
schild (2003) admitted that deep acting, as an emotional labor strategy, may have potential
benefits for employee outcomes, but warned of the commoditization of employees feelings
by the organizations.
As the interest in the current study was to explore the relationship between emotional
labor and burnout in direct sales representatives, the conceptualization of the later term urges.
Job burnout was seen as a psychological syndrome in response to chronic interpersonal stres-
sors on the job (Maslach, Schaufeli & Leiter, 2001: 399). The research on this syndrome is
rooted in caring and service occupations, since the core of these kinds of jobs are the relation-
ship between provider and recipient (Maslach et al., 2001). Therefore, due to this interperson-
al context of the job, burnout was studied in terms of an individuals transactions in the work-
place rather than as an individual stress response. Aspecific service occupation is that of bank
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tellers. They are considered the front line in the banking business, as they promote the
financial products of the institution they work for. Thus they deal directly with customers and
have to service with a smile, regardless of their true feelings, which may lead them to expe-
riencing burnout.
But how can the experienced burnout be measured? It was described as a tri-dimensional
response, consisting in emotional exhaustion (the individual dimension), depersonalization
or cynicism (the interpersonal dimension) and reduced efficacy or accomplishment (the self-
evaluation dimension) (Maslach & Jackson, 1981). In the initial research and scale develop-
ment, involvement was proposed as a fourth factor, but subsequently it became optional.
The factors leading to burnout were widely categorized as situational and individual. Job
characteristics both quantitative (such as workload or time pressure) and qualitative (such
as role conflict or role ambiguity) and organizational characteristics (such as organizational
values) represent typical situational factors that affect employees well-being. On the other
hand, demographic aspects (age, gender, and education), personality traits or job attitudes
are individual factors that relate to burnout (Maslach et al., 2001).
Since the current study was conducted in the Romanian service work context, it is important
to note that comparative studies emphasize a difference in terms of intensity of experienced
burnout between European and North American emotional laborers (Maslach et al., 2001).
Important findings regarding the extent to which emotional labor can set employees in peo-
ple work jobs on fire and make them burn out were reported by Brotheridge and Grandey
(2002). Focusing on the quality of experiences in service encounters, the authors established that
surface acting or faking emotional expressions at work was related to feeling exhausted and
detached, whereas deeper emotion work was related positively to personal accomplishment.
When it comes to the intensity of the provider-recipient interactions, it seems that
employees who had less emotionally charged interactions with clients reported less emotion-
al exhaustion than did those whose interactions were more intense (Maslach, 1978). In
another study, the variables of duration, frequency and intensity of interactions were not con-
firmed as predictors for employee burnout (Cordes, Dougherty & Blum, 1997).
The trigger for the current research was the increasing interest in emotional labor as it
emerged as core concept in recent organizational behavior studies. Since the concept is still in its
pioneer state in the Romanian context, it was considered appropriate to approach it in the case of
direct sales representatives prototypical emotional laborers. And, as the concept was long
conceptualized, it was also approached with focus on its outcomes, namely on burnout.
2. Methodology
The objective of the present research was to establish whether there is a relationship between
emotional labor and burnout in the case of Romanian direct sales representatives (bank tellers).
The main hypothesis of the study was that emotional labor is positively related to
burnout. This major hypothesis was divided into three others, regarding the factors used in
describing the analyzed organizational processes. Thus, surface acting was expected to posi-
tively correlate with emotional exhaustion and depersonalization, whereas deep acting was
expected to be positively related to personal accomplishment.
226 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
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In order to reach the proposed objective the following standardized instruments were
used: the ELS Brotheridge & Lee Emotional Labor Scale (Brotheridge & Lee, 1998) and
the MBI Maslach Burnout Inventory (Maslach & Jackson, 1981).
The Brotheridge & Lee Emotional Labor Scale (Brotheridge & Lee, 1998) consists in six
subscales, which determine distinct dimensions of emotional labor. The duration of customer
interaction is assessed with a single free response question, while the other five dimensions
are measured on a five-point Likert response scale, where 1 = never and 5 = always. The
respondents are asked to think of an average day at work and rate using the foregoing scale:
the frequency (three items), intensity (two items) and variety (three items) of emotional
expression, as well as the extent to which they perform deep acting (three items) and surface
acting (three items). The authors (Brotheridge & Lee, 2002) report good combined coeffi-
cient alpha for both role characteristics (frequency, intensity and variety) subscales (alpha =
0.71), and deep acting and surface acting subscales (alpha = 0.89, alpha =.86).
The Maslach Burnout Inventory (Maslach & Jackson, 1981) is grouped in four subscales
(emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, personal accomplishment and involvement the
later is optional), which are measured on a seven-point Likert scale in terms of intensity (1 =
very mild, barely noticeable, 7 = very strong, major) and frequency (1 = never, 7 = every
day). The Emotional Exhaustion subscale contains nine items, which describe feelings of
being emotionally overextended and exhausted by the work. The five items in the Deperson-
alization subscale refer to unfeeling and impersonal response towards the recipients of ones
care or service. High scores on these two subscales indicate high degrees of experienced
burnout. The Personal Accomplishment subscale consists of eight items, which show feel-
ings of competence and successful achievement in people work. This subscale is negative-
ly related to experienced burnout (the less one feels personal accomplishment, the more
he/she experiences burnout). The last subscale Involvement with people, did not obtain
high scores in the factorial analysis. Anyway, as it moderately correlated with Emotional
exhaustion it was retained as an optional factor of the MBI.
As was mentioned earlier, bank tellers represent a specific emotional labor as well as
burnout occupation. That is why the two instruments described above were administered on
a sample consisting of 24 bank tellers, of which 22 were females and 2 were males. As for
the age of the participants, it had a wide distribution: 22 to 42 years old, M = 25.42 years,
S.D. = 4.43.
3. Results
The current study examined the relationship between the emotional labor and burnout in
the case of Romanian bank tellers. Firstly, the means and standard deviations for the overall
scales were calculated. The results are reported in Table 1. Secondly, the operations were
repeated for the subscales of the two aspects of employee and organizational life investigat-
ed. The results are reported in Table 2 and 3. Thirdly, the effective relationship between emo-
tional labor and burnout was assessed by determining the bivariate correlations between
them Table 4.
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Table 1. Mean and standard deviation for emotional labor and burnout.
The mean value for emotional labor (M = 3.04) shows that bank tellers are sometimes in the
situation of regulating their feelings when interacting with customers. The low score for the
standard deviation (SD = .44) supports this tendency. Similarly, the mean value for burnout (M
= 3.57) suggests that having to act, regardless of whether in good faith or in bad faith,
leads to experiencing burnout monthly, almost a few times a month in the case of bank tellers.
Taking a closer look to the subscales of the two processes it can be seen that, in terms of
means, the values are not homogeneous (Table 2). Thus, the items that compose the frequen-
cy subscale in the ELS (example: how often do you adopt certain emotions as part of your
job) were reported to be often experienced (M= 4.01) in the work settings taken into account.
The items in the remaining composite scales (intensity, variety, deep acting, and surface act-
ing) are on average only sometimes performed by bank tellers. It is likely that bank tellers
mainly perceive the need to adopt and express specific emotions as part of their job due to
the constant interactions with customers. As for the moderated mean values for the other fac-
tors used in conceptualizing emotional labor, a possible explanation could be the fact that
bank tellers may express genuine felt emotions, which is another emotion regulation strate-
gy that can be used in people work as shown by Diefendorff et al. (2005) and that cannot
be measured through the ELS.
Table 2. Mean and standard deviation for the ELS.
The same tendency can be noticed in the means distribution for the other investigated
process. Personal accomplishment seems to be the most frequently and intensely experienced
burnout subscale (M
f
= 5.20; M
i
= 4.90). Therefore, bank tellers feel competent and success-
ful in what they do a few times a week and they feel it strongly. On the other hand, Emotion-
al exhaustion and Involvement are experienced monthly and in a mild manner. The lowest
means in terms of both frequency and intensity were reported for depersonalization (M
f
=
2.68; M
i
= 2.72). And this shows that bank tellers rarely, but moderately (in terms of intensi-
ty) adopt a detached attitude in approaching their recipients. In other words, bank tellers usu-
ally show respect and really engage themselves in their relationships with customers.
228 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
Emotional labor scales Mean Standard deviation
Frequency 4. 01 .54
Intensity 2.67 .83
Variety 2.94 .93
Deep acting 2.72 .93
Surface acting 2.88 .72
Mean Standard deviation
Emotional labor 3.04 .44
Burnout 3.57 .55
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 228
Table 3. Mean and standard deviation for the MBI scales.
Although the findings presented up to now are valuable, the most important part of the
research consists of determining the correlations between emotional labor and burnout. As it
can be noticed from the correlations matrix (Table 4), emotional labor and burnout positive-
ly correlate in the case of Romanian bank tellers (r = .414, p < 0.05). Therefore, the fact that
these kinds of direct sales representatives have to modify their feelings or the expressions of
their feelings in order to meet specific display rules (showing positive emotions in interac-
tions with customers) leads them to experience burnout.
The main hypothesis of the current research was thus confirmed by the results. Concern-
ing the first secondary hypothesis, which implied that surface acting positively correlates with
emotional exhaustion, it was also acknowledged by the results reported in Table 4 (r = .477, p
< 0.05), the results being consistent with those from other studies (Brotheridge & Grandey,
2002). This means that, the more bank tellers try to show positive emotions at work, the more
overextended and exhausted they feel. And that is because painting on a smile when not
really feeling like smiling can be quite emotionally taxing (especially in terms of intensity).
Table 4. Bivariate correlations of emotional labor and burnout.
* Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level
** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level
Marketing and Organization Management in the Global World 229
Exh int Accomp freq Depersint Involv freq Involv int Burnout
Intensity
Pearson Correl. -.052 .354 -.058 .396 .340 .188
Sig. .809 .090 .788 .056 .104 .379
Variety
Pearson Correl. .270
.535
** -.096
.598
**
.427
*
.460
*
Sig. .202 .007 .654 .002 .038 .024
Deep acting
Pearson Correl. .105 .278
-.436
* .096 .002 -.110
Sig. .626 .188 .033 .656 .992 .607
Surface acting
Pearson Correl.
.477
* -.235 .285 .134 .092 .314
Sig. .019 .269 .176 .532 .670 .135
Emotional labor
Pearson Correl. .340
.454
* -.140
.568
**
.412
*
.414
*
Sig. .105 .026 .514 .004 .046 .045
Burnout scales Mean Standard deviation
Emotional exhaustion frequency 3.42 1.14
Emotional exhaustion intensity 3.60 .99
Personal accomplishment frequency 5.20 .77
Personal accomplishment intensity 4.90 .77
Depersonalization frequency 2.68 1.32
Depersonalization intensity 2.72 1.37
Involvement frequency 2.97 1.05
Involvement intensity 3.05 .92
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 229
230 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
As for the next secondary hypothesis, regarding the relationship between surface acting
and depersonalization, it was invalidated by the findings (r = .285, p > 0.05). Instead, deper-
sonalization was negatively correlated to deep acting (r = -.436, p < 0.05). Thus, the more a
bank teller tries to change not the outwardly emotional display, but the feeling itself, the less
he/she will treat customers like objects, showing a detached attitude. Albeit this correlation
was not acknowledged in other studies, this comes as the reverse of the relationship implied
between surface acting and depersonalization. Trying to actually feel what one should feel as
part of the job role diminishes the tendency of unfeeling (detaching oneself not only from
his/her own feelings, but also from others feelings) (Maslach & Jackson, 1981). In fact, as
shown by Grandey (2003:. 93), it is more likely that payoffs of deep acting, such as reduced
emotional dissonance or positive feedback from customers may restore the employees emo-
tional resources.
The dimension of personal accomplishment did not correlate with deep acting, as expect-
ed according to the last secondary hypothesis (r = .300, p > 0.05). This is even more interest-
ing, as personal accomplishment was scored as the most frequently and intensely experi-
enced burnout subscale (it was scored positively) and the correlation has already been
demonstrated by Brotheridge and Grandey (2002).
In an exploratory analysis, other interesting findings were found. For instance, the variety
subscale from the ELS seems to have an important role when it comes to feeling successful
at the job the two subscales positively correlate (r = .535, p < 0.01). Therefore, the more
one has to display many different kinds of emotions (item 6), the more competent he/she
feels. The variety of emotions is also related to both the frequency and intensity of involve-
ment (r =. 598, p < 0.01; r = 427, p < 0.05). This means that the wider the range of emotions
required by the job, the more attention the bank teller pays to his/her customers needs.
Eventually, displaying many different emotions also increases the level of burnout experi-
enced by bank tellers (r = .460, p < 0.05), as going from one register to another can lead to
emotional strains.
Another finding that was not stated beforehand refers to the relationship between the
emotional labor and two subscales from the MBI. Firstly, emotional laborers experience
more often the feeling of personal accomplishment (r = .454, p < 0.05). Bank tellers, in this
case, feel more competent when they have to regulate their emotions according to job
demands. Secondly, using surface acting or deep acting in order to service with a smile
increases the perceived involvement of bank tellers at both levels (frequency and intensity: r
= .568, p < 0.01; r = .412, p < 0.05). And that is because trying to modify either the display
or the inner feeling makes the provider empathize with his recipient.
The results presented are considerable evidence that emotional labor can be stressful in
the case of bank tellers, since expressing socially appropriate emotions as a form of role
demand undermines employees well being. Direct sales representatives enact the organiza-
tions desired image towards external customers. But this enactment is subject to norms
concerning the content, intensity, diversity and consistency of displayed emotions. Further-
more, these norms constitute literally emotion work imperatives, which, if not followed out,
can lead to emotional strains, such as burnout.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 230
3. Conclusion
The current study has implications for the research on the emerging role of emotions in the
workplace. Not only do the findings acknowledge the existence of emotion regulation strate-
gies in the Romanian work settings, but they also explore the impact of emotional labor on
service agents. Of course, that the present results should be discussed in terms of strengths
and limitations of the study. As a first limitation, we note that the present research is an explo-
rative pilot study. Hence, the results cannot be seen as generally valid in the Romanian work-
place, as they express the relationship between the two organizational aspects in a specific
form of people work, that of direct sales representatives. Another limitation is that the sam-
ple used in the conducted survey is quite reduced. Furthermore, though our results show that
emotional laborers experience negative affective outcomes future research should examine
the extent to which emotional job demands can lead to positive outcomes. And that is because
the results regarding the subscales of emotional labor that correlate with the personal accom-
plishment dimension from the MBI support this antecedent. Maybe a deeper investigation of
the sample (e.g. position, hierarchical status) would reveal further useful data.
This research also provides preliminary support for using emotion regulation as an inde-
pendent variable in explaining other aspects of organizational life, such as work performance or
job satisfaction. Future work should replicate these findings in the case of organizational roles
beyond service roles, since as already stated by Ashforth & Humphrey (1993: 109) it is difficult
to imagine an organizational role to which display rules would not apply at various points.
As for the practical implications of the current findings, it is important for organizations
to acknowledge the role of emotional labor in the workplace, since understanding the social
relations in work settings allows service based companies to develop and implement policies
that meet the needs of both internal and external customers. That is because emotional labor
was proven a key determinant of quality of service and of organizational performance (Hsieh
and Guy, 2008). On the other hand, special attention should be paid to the psychological
effects that portraying emotions has on the actor.
To conclude, there are still many questions to be answered regarding the story behind
service with a smile (Johnson, 2004), but the current study represents a milestone in explor-
ing the phenomenon in the Romanian context.
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Lay Representations of Occupational Stress in the
Romanian Culture
Daniela VERCELLINO*
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration,
D&D/Testcentral, Romania
Drago ILIESCU
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration,
D&D/Testcentral, Romania
Abstract: Accordingly to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work work-related stress is
one of the biggest health and safety challenges that we face in Europe. Stress is the second most frequently
reported work-related health problem (Takala, 2009). However, the individuals beliefs and meaning about
stress affect their perception and of course their reactions toward this phenomenon. In this paper, we
address the issue of what people really mean and understand when they say they are stressed, by identifying
the lay representations of work related stress. In order to investigate this, we utilized a structured interview
with 220 individuals from a range of occupations and organizational levels. The meaning of occupational
stress and the way it should be addressed was examined using a qualitative approach. We analyzed the
interviews accordingly to Smith and Kendalls methodology, using 2 pairs of experts; first we identified the
core representations and than a second pair of experts reallocated the examples to the labeled categories.
Results indicate that there is little consensus regarding these representations of occupational stress. The
interpretation of the concept varies in a large range of personal, environmental and organizational factors,
which were highlighted by the participants.
Keywords: occupational stress, lay representations, qualitative analysis
1. Introduction
Stress, particularly work-related stress, has aroused growing interest across Europe in
recent years (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2002). The workplace
has changed dramatically due to globalization of the economy, use of new information and
communication technology, growing diversity in the workplace (e.g. more women, older and
higher educated people, as well as increased migration, particularly between the EU member
*
Contact daniela.vercelino@comunicare.ro.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 235
states), and an increased mental workload (Kompier, 2002; Landsbergis, 2003; National
Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 2002).
It is not easy to properly define what stress is, although it is quite a common experience
for everyone. Stress is a part of everyday life and not necessarily a negative phenomenon,
being based on a physiological stimulus usually connected with human-environment interac-
tions (Costa, 1995).
Nowadays, stress is defined in different ways by researchers in various fields of studies
(psychological, medical, biomedical, management, and social sciences). The term stress may
have different meanings for each individual, and even scientists have developed widely
varying definitions.
Studies have shown that stress is not confined to any specific occupation or geographical
area. Concomitantly, occupational environment, organizational structure and policies, as
well as role and task demands have been identified as determining factor for the levels of
stress (Dharmangadan, 1988). Thus, researchers assert the need to acknowledge and deal
with these issues more accurately at a situational level (DiMartino, Hoel and Cooper, 2003;
Giga, Faragher and Cooper 2002).
Occupational stress is becoming increasingly globalized and affects all countries, all pro-
fessions and all categories of workers, as well as families and the society in general.
Despite the volume of literature that is available about work stress, few definite conclu-
sions can be drawn because of: (1) the elusive nature of work stress as a concept; (2)
methodological issues in the identification of contributing factors; and (3) inadequate evalu-
ation of management strategies (Kendall, Murphy, ONeill & Bursnall, 2000)
There have been many attempts by researchers in a number of publications, to accurately
define occupational stress (European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, 2000) but yet
there seem to be no generally accepted definition. This, however, does not reduce the impor-
tance of recognizing and managing occupational stress in the workplace. Rees and Redfern
(2000) have suggested that due to the lack of clarity related to the construct and the substan-
tial definition of occupational stress, it could easily occur that employers and employees are
misguided by their own perceptions of the nature and causes of occupational stress, when
involved in stress-related issues. As a result, intervention strategies to stress-related prob-
lems could be misdirected.
Therefore, there are considerable difficulties in measuring stress, as well as its various
manifstations in the occupational arena. Interpretation of various data sources on occupa-
tional stress relies on understanding a studys methodology and the problems inherent with
this type of phenomenon.
2. Lay Theories
The theories people use in their everyday life have been termed with names such as lay,
implicit, naive, intuitive, common sense, or background beliefs, because people are not nec-
essarily aware of their theories or the impact of those theories on their social understanding
(Hong, Levy & Chiu, 2001).
Research on lay theories has been dominated by a functionalist assumption that people are
intuitive scientists (Kruglanski, 1990). Motivated primarily by epistemic goals, perceivers
236 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
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Marketing and Organization Management in the Global World 237
have presumably developed naive theories to understand, predict, and control their environ-
ment. Thus, in the dominating intuitive scientist metaphor, lay theories, like scientific theo-
ries, are products of an inductive-hypothetical-deductive process (Hong, Levy & Chiu, 2001).
Like scientific theories, lay theories serve the epistemic function of sense making sense.
Levy, Plaks, Hong, Chiu, and Dweck (1999, as cited in Hong, Levy & Chiu, 2001) submit
that a lay theory provides meaning systems that impose psychologically meaningful con-
straints on the infinite variety of interpretations available for a particular stimulus or event
(Hong, Levy & Chiu , 1999: 156).
3. Lay Theories of Occupational Stress
Occupational stress is widely invoked by both professionals and lay persons as an expla-
nation of illness. However, examination of the stress literature reveals that stress is a multi-
faceted concept which many argue is yet to be adequately defined. While professionals gen-
erally agree that stress arises because of a lack of balance between the worker and the work
environment (Cox, 1993) argument exists over whether stress is an individual or a workplace
problem (Baker, 1985). As a result, a range of explicit scientific theories have emerged to
describe and explain antecedents, consequences and the relationships between them.
The concept of stress, however, is not confined to academic discourse. It is also well
established in the public discourse on health and psychological well-being. Lay and scientif-
ic theories of stress share many similarities and it is argued that these theories are to some
extent mutually reinforcing (Furnham, 1997, as cited in Lewig & Dollard, 2001; Pollock,
1988). Pollock (1988: 381) observes that `the emergence of stress and its diffusion through
society ... seems to directly parallel its discovery as a theoretical concept. He argues that
stress is a manufactured concept which has become a social fact, the elaboration of which
has had a pronounced and direct effect on lay beliefs and behavior. This proposed symbiot-
ic relationship between everyday beliefs and scientific theory can have important conse-
quences for workers. First, lay theories play a prominent role in the etiology and reporting of
stress. Theories about the causes and consequences of stress can determine a persons expec-
tations of what causes stress in themselves and others (Furnham, 1997, as cited in Lewig &
Dollard, 2001). More importantly, failure to recognize stress and/or reticence to report stress
can have serious personal implications.
Public understanding of health issues is influenced by the social and political interests of
those who gather the information and by the media which disseminates it. This has implica-
tions for lay peoples beliefs about work stress and has potentially serious personal implica-
tions in terms of recognizing, reacting to, and reporting stress in the workplace (Furnham,
1997, as cited in Lewig & Dollard, 2001). The somewhat ambiguous nature of work stress
renders it vulnerable to political, social and economic manipulation. This study explores
how the issue of work stress is represented in the mind of Romanians.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 237
4. Method
Participants
Lay representations of work stress were obtained from semi-structured personal inter-
views with 220 working adults; 65% of the participants were female and 35% were male,
with ages between 19 and 56 (m=32.46, SD=?5.14). Only 15% of the participants were in
management positions, the rest being employed in non-managerial work. Participants were
recruited by students attending the master degree program in organizational behavior, as a
task of there final exam for a course taken on occupational stress and workplace wellbeing.
The sample was uncontrolled as per demographic and geographic variables, most of the par-
ticipants being employed in Bucharest.
Measures
The questions utilized in this study were taken from the study realized by Kinman &
Jones (2005). The questions initiating discussion on each topic, as suggested by the above
mentioned authors, were as follows:
1. What do you think the term occupational stress means?
2. Some people think there is more work stress around nowadays? To what extent do you
agree with this view?
3. Are there any particular jobs or working conditions that you think are more stressful
than others? If so, what are they, and why do you think they more stressful?
4. Are there any particular types of people that you think would be more likely to suffer
from stress? If so, what types of people are they, and why do you think they are more
stressed than others?
5. If somebody was experiencing stress at work, what would be the signs?
6. A number of things can be done to help people manage stress at work. If people are
stressed at work what do you think can be done about it?
Procedure
The questions were piloted with a small sample to ascertain that they were understand-
able and elicited a free response. Participants were assured of confidentiality and anonymity.
The interviews with most participants (88%) where taken one to one. The interview takers
were instructed to offer explanations if the questions where not clear enough for the partici-
pants. Most of the explanations offers during the interview regarded the term occupational
stress, due to the fact that most of the people were not familiar with the expression. Inter-
view lastetd between 20 minutes and 45 minutes. After registration of the interniew using
moder technology, we translated the interviews in order to analyse its. The other part of the
interviews (12%) where taken by sending the participants the questions. We applied this
methodology only with participants with whom we assumed that the questions will not pres-
ents much difficulty interpreting its; paricipants that were questioned in such manners were
psychologist (employed within human resources departments), or other professionals com-
ing from the human resouces field.
238 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
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Marketing and Organization Management in the Global World 239
Analysis
Not being able to access the methodology used by Kinman & Jones (2005) within their
research (they used a specific program for qualitative research, the NuD*IST data analysis
software), we applied the methodology suggested by Smith and Kendell (1963, as cited in
Pitariu, 2006). The methodology described by Smith and Kendall (1963, as cited in Pitariu,
2006) uses a couple of experts who group the information obtained through a qualitative
measure in chunks of information. In this case we worked with 2 pairs of psychologists 2
of them grouped the information obtained through the interview in categories and the other 2
psychologist received the interviews and the categories, their task being that of placing each
piece of the interview (each response to each question) back into a category; when an ambi-
guity arose, they were asked to label a new category or to declare the item (response) as
ambiguous / impossible to categorize. Generally this procedure assumes that experts are
selected to contribute, based on their expertise in the focal area. Smith and Kendall (1963, as
cited in Pitariu, 2006) maintain that these procedures allow for an instrument to be devel-
oped in the language of the area that is being investigated, therefore increasing its face valid-
ity. Acriterion of 80% successful retranslation was used for retaining items. That is, an item
was retained only if at least 80% of the ratings indicated that the item represented a particu-
lar dimension. Based on this measurement, only 138 interviews were selected to be analyzed
in order to develop the representation of occupational stress in Romania.
Results
All participants to the survey were generally surprised by the idea that such a research is
going on in Romania. The basis of the idea was the reading of the European Commission
report on stress (2005), a survey which is run by the European Commission every five years.
This year will be the first year in which Romania will take part to this survey and will be part
of the report, due to the fact that now Romania is a full member of the EU.
In alignment with this idea and having as a start point the research conducted by Kinman
& Jones (2005) we addressed the issue of how well the concept of stress, and especially
occupational stress, is known in Romania, and most important what is it that people really
mean when they say they are stressed out.
Results of the survey will be presented in such a way as to underline the issues addressed.
1. What do you think the term occupational stress means?
Most of the participants who took part in this survey were quite surprised of hearing a
questions addressing occupational stress, for many of them the term being almost unknown.
So, we had to explain the term and we used the following expression the stress that you
experience within a work setting. When picturing the question in such terms, participants
felt more secure in giving an answer.
Table 1 presents the results (in percentages) regarding the conceptual answers offered by
people to this first questions.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 239
Table 1. What do you think the term occupational stress means?
Analyzing the above mentioned answers, which were given by the participants, we can
underline that, as in the case of theoretical scientific theories where no final agreement was
reached regarding the definition of stress the lay definitions of stress also vary very much.
Stress is seen as a response to environmental factors -the incapacity of the organism to
adjust to the requirements (A.N., 35 years) but is also seen as a response to the limited
resources of the individual I felt that I am resourcefulness, that my body does not have the
energy to go on (C.T., 29 years) and is also seen as a stimulus that could generate illness,
by some of the participants when talking about negative conditions within the workplace,
about monotony of the tasks.
2. Some people think there is more work stress around nowadays. To what extent do you
agree with this view?
A considerable majority of the sample (N=121) alleged that stress at work has reached
epidemic proportions in recent years. The most common explations of the participants used
to explain this changing nature of stress relies on the economic crisis that increased insecuri-
ty in the workplace, the possibility to lose ones job (30.97%). Another reason offered, which
is correlated with the first presented, is that very few jobs are available on the labour market
(10.86%). Participants also pointed to the fact that life expectancy has decreased due to the
fact that worries induce a large spectrum of illness and poor life conditions (20.28%). This
could be related to the fact that people are experiencing higher demand than before the crisis
situatioan and low control (which leads to the impossibility to leave their working life
within a secure enviroment) and this might lead to a great deal of psychological strain
(Schnall, Dobson & Rosskam, 2009).
What would be interesting to draw attention to is that even if we are talking about very
few participants (even in the total sample), there are some who pointed out that even though
the variety of stress factors increased we have to take into consideration that the natural first
240 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
Conceptual answers Percentage
All the strains that one is experiencing within a work setting 34.78%
A high volume of work 2.17%
An illness accumulated over time 1.44%
A high level of tension and worries that are experienced within the work setting 6.52%
The work-family conflict 10.14%
Peoples perception over an important event that took place at work and that had negative results 5.78%
The tension generated by the activities that a person is performing every day monotony 5.79%
Social interactions which are negative for the individual and are repetitive 2.89%
Limited resources 10.14%
The limited resources of the person 10.14%
The reaction to deadlines time pressure 9.41%
Did not provide an answer .72%
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 240
reaction of a human being is to adjust so that our cognitive systems have developed more
accurate strategies to react in a positive manner to these new conditions (6.5%). An interest-
ing remark which must be addressed here is that some participants pointed out that being
stressed is similar to being fashionable (T.G., 42 years).
3. Are there any particular jobs or working conditions that you think are more stressful
than others? If so, what are they, and why do you think they are more stressful?
Talking about the most stressful jobs, peoples first reaction was to point out that every
type of job has some particular stressor (10.86%). Some participants pointed out that work-
ing within the public sector is more stressful (13.04%), meanwhile only 2.17% pointed out
that working within the private sector means dealing with more job stress.
Table 2 illustrates the occupations that were considered by the participants as most stress-
ful, as well as the explanations that some participants offered.
Table 2. Most stressful occupations.
4. Are there any particular types of people who you think would be more likely to suffer
from stress? If so, what types of people are they, and why do you think they are more
stressed than others?
Results show that peoples perceptions on the typology of those persons wjo are most
affected by stressor talk about those people who have a high emotivity; therefore the expla-
nation of why di we experience stress is mostly based on personal characteristics rather than
on job characteristics or other stressors.
As shown in Table 3, most of the participants considered that individual characteristics
have a priming effect on experiencing stress.
Marketing and Organization Management in the Global World 241
Occupations Percentage
The medical personnel because they have peoples life in their hands 17.39%
The firemen 9.42%
The miners 2.17%
The banking sector they work with money, clients, many numbers 13.76%
The managerial level they are making many decisions and have bigger responsibilities 23.18%
The IT field 4.34%
The construction workers they work outside much of the time, despite adverse meteorological conditions 5.07%
The air traffic controllers 9.42%
The teachers / professors 10.14%
People working with clients / Sales representatives 3.62%
The drivers 5.07%
The policemen 2.17%
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 241
Table 3. Typology of people experiencing stress.
As we can easily see from the above categories, most of the respondents ascribe the rea-
son for experiencing stress to personal characteristics. Interesting to remark is the fact that
women are considered by a large number of participants as the most affected category Gen-
erally speaking, I consider that women are more affected than men; women have to worry
about the job but also about their families (G.T., 37 years). Even though the answer could
be categorized as discriminative because it pictures the fact that women are the principal
actor in the family life, the results are consistent with cultural studies that shows that Roma-
nia has a strong masculinity (Hofstede et al., 1996).
5. If somebody was experiencing stress at work, what would be the signs?
Interviewees maintained that work stress affected employees in various ways. Statements
to this question were allocated into four categories: psychological, behavioural, physical and
cognitive. As can be seen in Table 4, the psychological consequences of stress, most notably
anxiety, were most commonly emphasised. The negative impact of work stress on physical
health but also on job performance was also commonly highlighted by interviewees.
242 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
Individual characteristics Percentage
People who generally show high levels of emotivity; generally women 27.53%
People with a high level of emotional instability 12.31%
People who are overburdened too many tasks to carry on 5.07%
People who do not have onfidence in their own abilities 11.59%
People who are not communicative 12.31%
People with no resilience and who are irascible 7.24
Perfectionist people individuals who are constantly seeking perfection and control 15.94%
People who also have problems at home 10.14%
Decision makers 9.42%
People experiencing job incompatibility 6.52%
People wjo are constantly interacting with clients 6.52 %
Lonely people 2.89%
Tired people; individuals affected by sleep disorder 2.17%
Young people who need to get a job and do not have a balance in their private life 2.17%
Participants thinking that such typologies do not exist 3.62%
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 242
Table 4. Reaction to stress.
As seen from above, stress was thought to result in physical illness in general and tired-
ness, aches and pains, and digestive problems in particular. More serious physical health
problems such as heart attacks and hypertension were not mentioned. One possible explana-
tion could be that the phenomenon is not related in peoples mind with such negative impact,
due to the fact that nowadays occupational stress is not considered by the Romanian legisla-
tion a professional illness.
Workplace stress was also thought to impact on the employees cognitive functioning,
leading to a reduction in performance and difficulties in concentrating and prioritising activ-
ities within their work settings.
6. A number of things can be done to help people manage stress at work. If people are
stressed at work what do you think can be done about it?
Even though organizations rarely address the difficult problem of stress management,
participants to the study explained easily how stress can be reduced, in their view. It is
important to note that the responsibility of stress management is shared in the mind of the
people; they think that there are things which can be done by the organizations, but also
actions which can be taken by the individuals.
Table 5 shows the most relevant stress management techniques proposed by the partici-
pants.
Marketing and Organization Management in the Global World 243
Reactions Percentage
Tension / anxiety / worry 59.41%
Tiredness 15.21%
Poor physical health (ulcer, gastritis, loss of appetite, dizziness) 14.49%
Lack of concentration 21.01%
Poor performance 34.77%
Depression / unhappiness 19.56%
Less sociable 13.76%
Panic difficulty prioritising 8.69%
Physical reactions trembling 11.59%
Reduced committment 6.52%
Increased consumption of substances alcohol, caffeine and nicotine 2.89%
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 243
Table 5. Stress management techniques.
Discussion
As noted by Kinman & Jones (2005) the representations of occupational stress found in
the present study are not naive beliefs about cause and effect, but sophisticated and multifac-
eted (2005: 115), even though they do not picture the whole phenomenon.
In dissonance with Lewig and Dollard (2001), who examined newspaper coverage of the
phenomenon and found out that work stress was perceived to be positive and functional as
well as a negative feature of the workplace, our study suggests that most of the participants
perceived the phenomenon as a negative one.
On the long term, experiencing stress at work was generally believed to erode the indi-
viduals physical and/or psychological integrity. This reflects the prevailing view amongst
researchers that chronic work stressors are likely to result in poor health.
Perceptions of a strong causal link between work stress and poor health were commonly
expressed. Interviewees were more likely to associate the concept with minor psychosomat-
ic complaints such as headaches and fatigue, than with more serious conditions such as
hypertension and coronary heart disease.
The most general conclusion which can be drawn upon this research is that stress is a
complex phenomenon not only for the scientist but also for the people experiencing it.
Researchers often have posited a strong relationship among perceived stress, an individ-
uals coping resources and coping mechanism, and the etiology of stress-related maladaptive
health responses (Lazarus, 1999). How an individual handles stress plays an important role
in determining the health outcomes of the individuals encounter with stress (Shirom, 2003).
In respect with current findings, lay theories of stress may therefore play a crucial role in the
individuals expectancy to cope with the situation.
Our aim is to address the importance of such an approach within the study of stress, because
one starting point for the development of stress interventions is to gain an understanding of
244 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
Stress Management techniques Percentage
Recreational activities 10.86%
Taking time to rest 5.79%
Socializations meeting people whom you like 13.04
Therapy or other form of specialized help 13.03
Positive thinking 10.14%
Efficient time management prioritization 17.39%
A good communication at work promoted by HR techniques 18.84%
Good professional relationship with direct managers 12.31%
Vacations disconnecting from all stress sources from work 25.36%
Self-management 11.59%
Practicing sport 7.24%
Healthy way of life starting with healthy food 5.07%
Improving working conditions 5.07%
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 244
how individuals think about and understand the phenomenon and its causes. This is based on
the idea that individuals are similar to experts (i.e., that they have good knowledge about the
phenomenon via personal experience).
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Knowledge Creation Determinants in
Organizational Environments
Ivona ORZEA*
Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania
Constantin BRTIANU
Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania
Abstract: The capability to create and apply new knowledge is considered as one of the main sources of
the competitive advantage of any company. Knowledge creation has produced an enormous interest in
knowledge management field of research, lots of theoretical models, and abundant literature that tries to test
and measure knowledge creation processes. In a knowledge creation process the managers must not consid-
er only the types of knowledge that intervene in the process, but also the country, regional and industry
characteristics and employee subjective factors that all become determinants of the process. Through gath-
ering data from organizational environments using specific surveys, the purpose of the paper is to provide
an empirical evidence about the factors influencing knowledge creation processes both from the point of
view of the organization and of the individual. The results evidence that the process of knowledge creation
is a contextual and dynamic process that requires a constructionist approach for a proper analysis, imple-
mentation and evaluation.
Keywords: knowledge, knowledge creation, knowledge dynamics models, organizational culture
1. Introduction
The importance of knowledge as a substantial source of competitive advantage is well
established in management studies. According to the knowledge-based view (Yang, Fang,
Linc, 2010) a companys competitive advantage is deeply rooted in its own knowledge and
those that it can obtain. Organizations can accomplish things that individuals cannot, this is
why organizational knowledge represents a companys ability to take action that can distin-
guish it from competitors and afford competitive advantage (Leonard-Barton, 1992). There-
fore, to explain the dynamic processes of knowledge creation and the strategies to create
knowledge become important issues to understand and to clarify organizational behavior.
*
Contact: ivona.orzea@gmail.com.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 247
The process of organizational knowledge creation has raised intense attention in the last
decade, thus creating numerous perspectives on the concept. The concept of knowledge cre-
ation is described by a composition of descriptors: the ability to originate novel and useful
idea (Marakas, 1999), chaotic, unstructured and unsystematic (Davenport et al., 1998),
when a company acquires and adopts knowledge from others, it modifies knowledge to
make it suitable (Bhatt, 2000). In this perspectives knowledge creation is not a mappable
process but a multisource phenomenon, which it is believed to lead to idea generation.
Maybe the most popular definition of the concept is that of Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995),
who define the process of knowledge creation as the capability of a company as a whole to
create new knowledge, disseminate it throughout the organization and embody it in prod-
ucts, services, and systems. Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) describe a cognitive approach to
knowledge creation that is realized through schemata, mental models and beliefs, a percep-
tion which re?ects our image of reality and our vision of the future and what ought to be.
Thus, according to the authors (Nonaka, Takeuchi, 1995) knowledge creation is achieved
through metaphors, pictures and experiences. The theory is rooted in the philosophy of
rationalism and empiricism, implying the truth is out there approach (McAdam, 2004).
In order to analyze the process of knowledge creation it is necessary to use a categoriza-
tion of knowledge. On one side there is the epistemological dimension of knowledge intro-
duced by Polanyi (1983). The dimension distinguishes between tacit knowledge and explicit
knowledge, where tacit knowledge is highly subjective and deeply rooted in personal experi-
ences, and explicit knowledge is objective and easily articulated in formal language. On the
other hand there is the ontological dimension of knowledge that distinguishes individual from
collective knowledge. Some scholars, among them Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995) consider that
only individuals are able to create knowledge, and the organization has the role of application.
Although the static view of knowledge is important in explaining how existing knowl-
edge can be created, exploited, the dynamic perspective on knowledge (Nonaka, Takeuchi,
1995) emphasizes how new knowledge leads to the generation of novel organizational out-
comes. Thus, if knowledge and the processes of knowledge creation are so important deter-
minants of organizational performance, then the strategies that lead to the increase of know-
ledge creation processes are likely to be key area of strategic choice for the organization.
2. Knowledge Creation Models
According to Nonaka (1994), knowledge embraces a continual dialogue between explic-
it and tacit knowledge which drives the creation of new concepts and ideas that are formed in
the minds of individuals (Yang, Fang, Linc, 2010). At the organizational level Nonaka and
Takeuchi (1995) specify four knowledge creation modes as the processes of interplay
between tacit and explicit knowledge that lead to the creation of new organizational knowl-
edge: socialization (tacit to tacit), externalization (tacit to explicit), combination (explicit to
explicit), and internalization (explicit to tacit). Through the socialization mode new tacit
knowledge is yielded. According to the authors (Nonaka, Takeuchi, 1995) this is realized
through informal interaction, through spending time together, making joint hands on experi-
ences, working in the same environment, informal social meetings between members of an
248 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
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organization. Externalization on the other hand is converting tacit knowledge into explicit
knowledge through formal interactions. The combination mode involves transforming
explicit knowledge into explicit knowledge through colleting, editing, sorting, synthesizing
existing explicit knowledge and disseminating it into new knowledge. Through absorption,
embodiment explicit knowledge is transformed into tacit knowledge. This mode is known as
internalization. The most common ways of internalizing explicit knowledge are day-to-day
work, experimenting, trial-and-error activities, tests. The four conversion modes shape the
knowledge-spiral of the knowledge-creating company.
Zollo and Winter (2002) develop a similar approach to Nonakas model, based on four
knowledge transformation processes (variation, selection, replication, and retention). The
interaction between these processes is named evolution cycle, in which feedback and exter-
nal stimuli to the knowledge creating entity are introduced as triggers for knowledge creation.
Although Nonakas model of conversion has been described as one of the most influen-
tial model in the knowledge strategy literature, it has numerous drawbacks. Nahapiet and
Ghoshal (1998, cited in Yang, Fang, Linc, 2010) argue that within Nonakas model all
knowledge processes have a tacit dimension rather than using different terms for those forms
of knowledge conversion involving tacit or explicit knowledge. Moreover, while the model
specifies four distinct knowledge creation modes, in reality they are reiterative and overlap-
ping (Bratianu, 2010). Schulze and Hoegl (2008) proved through empirical research that out
of the four modes only two are positively related to the generation of new ideas. According
to the authors (Schulze, Hoegl, 2008) socialization is positively related to the generation of
new ideas. Informal and face to face interactions of individuals, especially with different
backgrounds are ideal grounds for novel ideas generation. Informal discussion, dialog, trust
and informal networking are key-preconditions for socialization. Socialization is believed to
give rise to novel ideas in two ways: by stimulating sparks and by taking them further. On
the other hand, externalization has been proven to be negatively related to knowledge cre-
ation, mostly because of the employees tendency to stick to a winning formula. Habit
tends to inure to inconvenience. Collecting, editing, sorting and synthesizing explicit knowl-
edge gives rise to systematized knowledge, product specifications, manuals, which allow
people to shake reality into a new pattern. The sole synthesis of familiar technologies in a
new way is not sufficient. For the generation of truly novel product ideas, organizations must
actively create knowledge about alternative components, not only knowledge of new combi-
nations of existing, thus combination is believed to be negatively related to knowledge cre-
ation, whereas, internalization, the absorption of existing knowledge to create new tacit
knowledge, supports the generation of novel ideas. Internalization entails trial-and-error
simulations to gain a deep rooted comprehension of the logic or the functioning of an initial
spark, experimenting utilizes existing knowledge in order for new ideas to emerge.
In order to provide a complete description of every process ok knowledge creation and
transfer Martin de Castro, Saez, Novas Lopez, Galindo Dorado (2007) propose an improve-
ment in the Nonakas model of knowledge creation. The authors (Martin de Castro, Saez,
Novas Lopez, Galindo Dorado, 2007) propose placing the epistemological and ontological
dimensions of knowledge, creating the EO-SECI model. The main characteristics of the
model are the consideration of the SECI knowledge creation cycle at al ontological levels
Marketing and Organization Management in the Global World 249
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250 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
within the organization, the treatment of knowledge leaps from one level to another, consent-
ing knowledge to pass from one level to another within crossing intermediate ontological le-
vels and conceding a two-way path to processes which link different levels. Within this model
an internal cycle of knowledge conversion takes place at each ontological level, which leads
to the idea of an organization where leach level becomes an entity with learning and know-
ledge creating capabilities (Martin de Castro, Saez, Novas Lopez, Galindo Dorado, 2007).
Having as a starting point the knowledge creation models developed throughout the time,
the main purpose of this article is to determine by means of quantitative non-experimental
research the main factors, determinants, that companies within Romanian business environ-
ment employ in order to boost the knowledge creation process.
3. Research Methology
In order to reach our goal to determine the factors employed to boost knowledge creation
processes, we developed a survey for the concepts to be analyzed. The survey was designed
to assess the degree of importance of several factors (organizational culture, motivation, per-
formance systems, mistake tolerance, socialization activities, re-use of information, innova-
tion encouragement etc.) presumed to affect the process of knowledge creation according to
each respondents opinion and perception. In order to assess the accuracy of the measure-
ment the factors were extracted solely from the literature, based on the strategies of the pre-
viously proposed models (Nonaka, Takeuchi, 1995; Martin de Castro, Saez, Novas Lopez,
Galindo Dorado, 2007; Schulze, Hoegl, 2008; Yang, Fang, Linc, 2010; Zollo, Winter, 2002;
McAdam, 2004; Martin de Castro, Saez, Novas Lopez, 2008).
To establish the profile of each respondent the first part of the survey was dedicated to
identifying the respondents details (age, educational level, position within the company, and
years of experience on the job). The factors presumed to affect the knowledge creation
process were assessed by obtaining the respondents level of agreement with the existence of
the indicators in their work environment. For that reason a Likert scale was used, ranging
from 1-totally disagree to 5-totally agree.
The data was gathered from companies acting within the Romanian business environment,
during the period May June 2010. For an accurate and objective answer 330 surveys were
distributed both to public and private companies. Out of the total number of surveys distrib-
uted, 204 were validated and used for analysis, resulting in a response rate of 61.8 percent. The
results were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17.
4. Results Analysis
The method used to reach the goal was factor analysis. This technique allows the identi-
fication of factors from analyzed data. Both Bartlett and KMO tests suggest the appropriate-
ness of this analysis method (table 1).
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 250
Table 1. KMO and Bartletts Test.
Once applied the factor analysis with main component extraction through varimax
orthogonal rotation, we obtained six factors that represent 59.6 percent of the information
contained in the original data. Applying an oblimin rotation also shows the same results.
Table 2. Total variance explained.
The analysis revealed that the first factor holds a 34% of the total variance. This factor
gathers eleven questions of the survey. Among the statements included are: the employees
are encouraged to express freely their ideas; the company actively encourages innovative
ideas; the managers are open to employees suggestions; the company respects experiences,
ideas and opinions diversity; the best suggestions coming from the employees are applied
throughout the company; the employees are given autonomy to act according to their posi-
tion within the company; creativity is appreciated and rewarded within the company; know-
ledge creation is a criterion in the overall performance appraisal. After the analysis of the
statements contained in this factor we named it openness towards and encouragement of
innovative and creative ideas.
The second factor explains almost 7% of the total variance and it comprises statements
mostly related to socialization activities among employees and the encouragement of team-
work and involvement in the decision process: employees often engage in informal activities,
focused on free-time and social activities outside the work place; informal meetings like cof-
fees, luncheons, and other social activities are highly encouraged throughout the company;
Marketing and Organization Management in the Global World 251
Component Initial Eigenvalues
Total % of Variance Cumulative %
1 8.535 34.139 34.139
2 1.730 6.918 41.057
3 1.328 5.311 46.368
4 1.275 5.099 51.467
5 1.037 4.146 55.613
6 1.002 4.007 59.620
7 .907 3.630 63.250
8 .841 3.364 66.614
9 .807 3.229 69.843
10 .805 3.219 73.062
Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy .898
Bartletts Test of Sphericity
Approx. Chi-Square 1969.200
df 300
Sig. .000
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252 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
mentoring and master-apprentice relationships are common practices within the company; the
company promotes the creation of workgroups, communities of practice and personal net-
works among employees; the company promotes workgroups to visit other units or areas to be
visited by other individuals or groups. The studies (Martin de Castro, Saez, Novas Lopez,
Galindo Dorado, 2007; Martin de Castro, Saez, Novas Lopez, 2008) reveal that the close and
personal relations provided by mentoring practices, help reach a high level of cultural homo-
geneity within the company and this makes appropriate from this factor to be considered as
important determinant of socialization, which leads us to name the second factor socializa-
tion activities inside and outside the workplace
With 5.3% of total variance explained the third factor contains nine statements from the sur-
vey: the company employs information gathered by its employees to develop reports, memos,
and goal plans etc.; the information contained in files, databases, intranet is classified but it can
be accessed. Analyzing the components of this third factor we can conclude that an important
element in the knowledge process is the re-use and combination of existing knowledge.
The fourth factor of the analysis comprises mostly statements related to the organization-
al culture of the company: the corporate vision, mission and values are shared by employees;
the corporate vision, mission and values as well as the organizational history are well known
by every employee, which lead us to name the factor identification with the organizational
values, objectives.
The two remaining factors, factor five and factor six, contain items that do not constitute
a coherent totality from a conceptual point of view, and as such, are not easily interpretable.
Some of the statements that load on these two factors appear to overlap in meaning with
other factors. For example, statements (e.g. the employees are given autonomy to act accord-
ing to their position within the company) in factor six appear reflected in factor one too.
Given that the present factor structure appears to be represented by four dimensions we
decided to rerun factor analysis, stipulating the extraction of only four factors.
The second factor analysis revealed the desired four factors. The first factor contains
twelve statements that clearly reflect the openness towards innovation and the encourage-
ment of creativity among employees. Second factors statements reflect the encouragement
of teamwork and informal activities. The third factor contains eight statements closely relat-
ed to the re-use, combination of existing knowledge to develop new knowledge, while the
fourth factor reveals the importance of employees identification with the corporate values,
vision. The rotated factor structure shows a number of cross-loaded statements that were
deleted prior to interpretation. Deletion of cross-loaded statements serves to clarify the fac-
tors and makes their interpretation easier. The present four-factor model represents the com-
bination of the six original factors, and appears to reflect more accurately the underlying fac-
tor structure of the 25-statement knowledge creation inventory.
The reliability of a measuring instrument is defined as its ability to consistently measure
the phenomenon it is designed to measure, thus the importance of measuring the consistency
of the factors determined. The internal consistency of the factors should be tested to ensure
the reliability of the factors. Cronbachs Alpha is higher than 0.81 for all of the four factors,
which indicates high overall internal consistency among the items representing the factors.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 252
Marketing and Organization Management in the Global World 253
5. Discussion and Conclusions
The results of the analysis outline important differences among the processes of knowl-
edge creation proposed by the models developed at theoretical level (Nonaka, Takeuchi,
1995; Martin de Castro, Saez, Novas Lopez, Galindo Dorado, 2007; Schulze, Hoegl, 2008;
Zollo, Winter, 2002) and those that can be found in the practice of the companies acting
within the Romanian business environment. The processes of knowledge creation within
companies do not follow the scheme of a certain knowledge creation model. The results
reveal that the companies use four general categories of factors related to the knowledge cre-
ation processes: openness towards and encouragement of innovative and creative ideas,
socialization activities inside and outside the workplace, re-use and combination of existing
knowledge, identification with the organizational values, objectives. As depicted from figure
1 the four factors identified can be combined to outline the determinants of the process of
knowledge creation in businesses environments: organizational culture, vision and mission
and the combination of existing knowledge.
Acompany cannot order people to be creative. All it can do is attempt to create an envi-
ronment, atmosphere of freedom and safety in which innovation and creativity can develop,
to create an organizational culture with the emphasis on knowledge creation. Astrong orga-
nizational culture, which acts on individual intelligence and core values, and generates the
spirit of excellence, contributes especially in building up an intellectual capital with a great
potential for innovation and creativity (Bratianu, Vasilache, Jianu, 2007). This can be done
by constantly reinforcing the importance of creating new knowledge, not just in meetings but
also include knowledge creation as performance criteria and reward employees that reach
the targets regarding knowledge creation. Customized award programs can be developed in
order to recognize creativity and the creation of new knowledge within the company.
Figure 1. Knowledge creation determinants.
Encouragement of innovative
and creative ideas.
Socialization activities inside
and outside the workplace.
Identification with organizational
values, objectives.
Re-use and combination of
existing knowledge.
Organizational
culture
Vission and
mission
Knowledge
combination
Knowledge
creation
Factors Determinants
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254 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
Another important element in building a strong organizational culture is the element of
trust among employees. Informal meetings both within the workplace but also outside the
working environment lead to building trust among employees and consequently to the cre-
ation of new knowledge. When individuals address in an informal environment a common
challenge, each skilled person frames both the problem and its solution by applying the men-
tal schemata and patterns he or she understands best. The result is a cacophony of perspec-
tives, whereas these varying perspectives foster creative abrasion (Schulze, Hoegl, 2008).
Convergence is needed and happens by discussion and dialogue of employees where
thoughts are exchanged informally, building on trust and informal networking as key-pre-
conditions (Leonard, Sensiper, 1998).
For a company to be successful in creating new knowledge it needs a vision, a clear
establishment of where it is going and how is it going to get to the desired position. There-
fore determinants in the process of knowledge creation are the vision and the mission of the
company. On a par with organizational culture, the mission and the vision also act on the
emotional intelligence and the core values of the employees and can help to increase the cre-
ation of knowledge within the company. Top managers who have absorbed the companys
traditions and stories should constantly re-tell those stories to reinforce the values and
atmosphere that encourages the creation of new knowledge.
Although the theoretical perspective on knowledge creation model regards the re-use of
existing knowledge as being negatively correlated to knowledge creation processes the
analysis of the data reveals it as being one of the determinants of knowledge creation
processes within the Romanian business environment. Sorting, editing or combining explic-
it knowledge allows people to shake reality into a new pattern (Schulze, Hoegl, 2008) which
can lead to incremental innovation.
The main contribution of this article is the drawing of the determinants of the process of
knowledge creation. The process of knowledge creation employed by companies from the
Romanian business environment does not follow the general scheme of a certain knowledge
creation model. The managers must look for the factors that condition the creation of knowl-
edge within the company. Of course, there is no unique way of creating knowledge but the
processes can always be determined by the same factors. The analysis undergone within this
article reveals the determinants of the knowledge creation process within the Romanian
business environment: the organizational culture, the vision and the mission of the company
and the combination of existing knowledge. Thus, the process of knowledge creation is a
contextual and dynamic one that requires a social constructionist approach (McAdam, 2004)
for its proper analysis, implementation and evaluation.
To further develop this study it is possible to identify new potential research areas that
could have an impact on knowledge creation processes. It would be interesting to analyze the
influence that other factors, such as organizational structure, leadership, technology, ba con-
text, have on knowledge creation within an organization. Since each organizational factor is
strongly inter-connected with the others, the establishment, implementation and evaluation
of a knowledge creation strategy can be determined by a global approach.
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Marketing and Organization Management in the Global World 255
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Images and Nations. The Role of Cultural Institutes
Dorina GUU
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration,
Bucharest, Romania
Alina DOLEA*
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration,
Bucharest, Romania
Abstract: The paper approaches the theme of creating the image of a nation in the context of a global-
ized society defined as a network society with a focus on culture. The importance of culture is discussed from
an interdisciplinary perspective that includes intercultural communication, international public relations,
branding and public diplomacy in order to identify the convergent points and underline the differences
between different perspectives. The concept of cultural diplomacy is further analyzed and comparative
practices in Romania and USA are presented, in order to reveal the challenges faced today by the cultural
diplomacy in action. The study opens the discussion on the role of cultural institutes in this context and ana-
lyzes them as integrated in the cultural diplomacy strategy of the USA and Romania The paper focuses also
on a possible role cultural institutes could play as initiators of cultural transformation of the national soci-
ety. They should be first internally oriented and only then interested in communicating externally.
Keywords: cultural diplomacy, nations, cultural institutes
1. Introduction
The paper discusses the role that cultural institutes should have in a global context which
redefines their status as social actors. The shift from the realism paradigm to the neoliberal
paradigm that introduces the idea of organizations as actors competition on a global market
leads to a reconfiguration of status in organizations, cultural institutes included. Traditional-
ly, they are mainly perceived as part of diplomacy, even if diplomacy itself is undergoing a
process of change from traditional to public diplomacy. However, a new field focused on
*
Contact: alina.dolea@comunicare.ro.
Beneficiary of the project Doctoral scholarships for the development of the knowledge-based society,
co-funded by the European Union through the European Social Fund, Sectorial Operational Programme
Human Resources Development 2007-2013.
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 257
cultural diplomacy has emerged; therefore cultural institutes should assume a wider role than
being only cultural diplomacy representatives.
In the global network society where visibility is essential and the competition is at cultur-
al as it is political and economical, cultural institutes should have a different approach and a
new strategy of development. If until now the main purpose of the cultural institute was
communicating the national culture of each ones country, today, as a result of global
changes, their role is rather focused on putting into contact diverse national cultural markets.
Their internal strategy of cultural institutes aims to discover and help creating national va-
lues with global significance. When it comes about their external strategy, there should be a
shift in their communication processes from the one-way communication model to the two-
ways symmetrical communication model, thus allowing a real cultural exchange to take
place. Cultural institutes could become more than just simple actors competing against each
other, and contribute actively to the creation of a global culture of dialogue and inclusion.
That would imply doing less cultural diplomacy and more cultural relations.
The paper explores the idea of promoting countrys images though cultural exchanges
and activities. While most current studies and papers focuses mainly on how the image of a
nation is created and communicated either internally or externally, this study is concentrated
on the importance of cultural diplomacy and cultural institutes in this process. Although the
relevance of culture increased lately due to the acceleration of the phenomena of globaliza-
tion and communication technologies development, as shown before, this aspect was little
and only indirectly explored so far in the international literature dedicated to country and
nation image building and this is actually the first approach of the topic in Romania. Thus,
the authors insist on clarifying several concepts and theories that link culture to nations
images from a multidisciplinary perspective.
2. Images of Nations The Importance of Culture
The phenomenon of globalization and development of the communication technologies
is generally acknowledged today, although there is a continuous debate with regards to its
effects on the present society, its future and the way organizations, nations understand to
adapt to these changes. The process of globalization is driven by major economical and tech-
nological transformations that generate interdependency between phenomena and is mani-
fested wide-world. As Paul Dobrescu noted, due to the general evolutions in terms of tech-
nology, economy, politics and media, it affects everyone (2003: 364). At the same time, it is
important to understand the phenomenon in its complexity, although the focus in literature is
rather on the economical and then on the political aspects of globalization. In this respect,
Anthony Giddens rejected the stereotypical approaches to globalization as an economic
process and stated that this is a mistake, because globalization is at the same time political,
technological and cultural, as it is economical (2000:22). The cultural aspect of globalization
was discussed with certain cautiousness due to its sensitive implications and constant tension
between global and local, and between global, western values and national cultural identi-
ties, often perceived as opposite. This aspect will be further developed in the discussion of
several aspects related to intercultural communication.
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The paper emphasis the concept of globalization and its linkage to the network society. It
was first elaborated by Jan A.G.M. Van Dijk in 1991 in his book The Network Society (trans-
lated in English in 1999) who defines it as a general type of (modern) society increasingly
organized by media networks gradually replacing and supplementing social networks of face
to face communication: the modern society is characterized by a combination of simultane-
ous scale extensions and scale reductions in all aspects of society and that networks of infor-
mation and communication are the necessary means and media of this combination (1999).
Closer to our approach is the theory of the network society formulated by Manuel Castells
which takes into account the complex phenomenon of globalization, acknowledges the
power of media as key networks and primary source of messages and images that reach
peoples minds and praises the dialogue between cultures: a network society is a society
whose social structure is made of networks powered by microelectronics-based information
and communication technologies (2004: 3); the culture of the global network society is a
culture of protocols of communication enabling communication between different cultures
on the basis, not necessarily of shared values, but of sharing the value of communication.
Thus, the new culture is not made of content, but of process. It is a culture of communication
for the sake of communication. It is an open-ended network of cultural meanings that can not
only coexist, but also interact and modify each other on the basis of this exchange (2004:
39-40). Moreover, Castells believes that all cultures have their relevance as nodes of a net-
worked system of cultural dialogue; thus there is no opposition between hypermodernity and
tradition, but complementarity and reciprocal learning. The result is a process in which a
diverse world is shared and thus ends the ancestral fear of the other.
In the context of the global network society, an increased need of nations to create or
maintain a favorable image and to promote it worldwide has a broader meaning. Nations
have to communicate in order to gain visibility and to become nodes in this network, other-
wise they remain outside the network and loose the opportunity to be integrated in the glob-
al communication process between cultures.
The creation of an image for a nation is subject of reflection and debate in several
approaches and perspectives from intercultural communication and international public rela-
tions, to branding and public diplomacy. They all have in common the focus on the notion of
culture and underline its importance when it comes to communicating ones nation beyond
its borders and addressing foreign publics. Nevertheless, the perspectives vary from the gen-
eral conceptualization and theory of culture with regards to the national cultures between
global and local (intercultural communication) to a practical dimension of culture seen as a
challenge for practitioners due to the contact with new different languages, customs, tradi-
tions and values (international public relations). Culture becomes a symbolic resource of a
nation when it comes to branding the nation and also to public diplomacy which includes it
in the concept of soft power. Each perspective is briefly discussed below in order to have a
complete picture and identify the convergent and different points of view on the topic and
establish a basis for our further analysis.
The concept of culture in intercultural communication used in this study is focused on how
culture is manifested in a society and its consequences to individuals, groups and nations when
cultures engage in dialogue. We consider the theory of Geert Hofstede to be the most relevant
for the purpose of our paper as he presented the multilayered consistency of culture, established
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a model of cultural dimensions that can be applied to every culture and which is of significant
relevance for explaining cultural differences. Besides that, he also validated the model and
offered an interpretation on the causes of these differences which he places mainly in history.
Hofstede goes even further and points out some solutions for managing these cultural differ-
ences, imposing the concept of software of the mind related to the different ways in which peo-
ple think, feel and act everywhere. His central hypothesis is that each individual has a model of
thinking, feeling and acting which was first learnt in the family during childhood and developed
continuously in school, at the work place and in the community which represent the software of
the mind (1996: 20). It contains the fundamental values that are natural or previously acquired,
thus explaining why people are not aware of them. When it comes to the contact with a different
culture, the author points out that one can learn the superficial manifestations of the new culture
(heroes, rituals, symbols), but it is less probable that one will truly feel and understand its pro-
found values. Nations too have dominant software of the mind which explains the cultural differ-
ences between them (1996: 268). The main differences consist in the fundamental values of each
culture and are related to: power, inequalities between individual and group, social roles for
women and men, the cope with uncertainty in life and the preoccupation for past or present or
future. From this idea, Hofstede further elaborated his model of the dimensions of national cul-
tures: power distance, individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, long term orientation
(p.30). The author concludes that it is important for our common survival to have a raised con-
science on the limits of our software of the mind as related to the others and explains his key
message that such a conscience can be developed and while we cannot expect to be all the same,
we can at least aspire to become more cosmopolite and open minded in our way of thinking
(1996: 268).
The paper intends to continue Hosftedes approach by stating a first perspective that such
a conscience could be created should the values of the national culture are known and recog-
nized beyond the geographical area in which they were created. This process can occur when
the national values are communicated wide-world and are valuable, significant and mean-
ingful to other cultures as well. Despite their intrinsic quality, values have to be adapted to
the modern context so that every culture integrates in the global network society which facil-
itates the global cultural exchange. The second perspective discusses the importance of cul-
ture in international public relations which cannot and should not be separated from the
international cultural relations. As long as the public relations activities are initiated and
developed in another country, they are not only international, but also intercultural. In sever-
al countries nowadays even practicing public relations at national level imply intercultural
aspects due to the variety of employees and clients (Gutu, 2007:11; Dolea, Tarus, 2009: 21).
Carl Botan was the first to discuss the importance of cultural aspects in international public
relations and conclude that actually, international public relations are intercultural public
relations (Botan 1992: 31, apud Wilcox: 380). Other 2 authors, Carl Banks and Hugh Cul-
bertson, also highlighted this idea and considered it essential to the understanding and prac-
tice of the domain. The global village became a reality and therefore the public relations
practitioners must have solid notions on the political, social, economical and especially cul-
tural and media system of the country in which they activate. It is necessary to go beyond the
formal education and make efforts to understand the culture of the country in which they
work in order to create the relevant messages, send them using the right communication
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channel and the adequate image vectors. More than this apparent technical role, the interna-
tional public relations practitioners are creators of content and meanings with impact on
society, and not simple translators of messages, thus their role is a key one.
These aspects related to cultural difference in international context have been integrated
in the theoretical models of public relations. In their study on global public relations, Sri-
ramesh and Veri present the evolution of this approach starting from the Excellence proj-
ect developed by James Grunig in 1992 and continuing with the conclusions of Veri,
Grunig and Grunig who identified in 1996 nine generic principles that could be used to set
up global public relations practices. They also stated that five variables should be taken into
consideration by public relations practitioners when designing public relations strategies
specific to a given country: political ideology, economic system (including the level of
development of the countrys economy), degree of activism, culture and media system. Sri-
ramesh and Veri mentioned also another study of Culbertson and Jeffers (1992) that high-
lighted what they called social, political and economic contexts (SPE) at the same time that
the Excellence Study was underway, but they did not explore these contexts internationally.
Making a synthesis of these approaches, Sriramesh and Veri conceptualized a three-factor
framework for international public relations made up by infrastructure of a country (which
includes the political and economic system and the activism), media and culture (2003: 2).
Paraphrasing Patricia Curtin and Ken Gaither, it can be thus concluded that in the global
network society, international public relations are about negotiating culture, identity and
power (2007). Relating public relations practices to environmental variables and analyzing
the impact that they have on practice helps increase the ability to predict which strategies and
techniques are better suited to a particular organizational environment and this is an essential
demand for the future development of the domain.
The third perspective on culture is related to nation branding, term used for the first time in
1996 by Simon Anholt to point out that the reputation of a geographic space/country/city started
having the same importance for their future development as the reputation of products and com-
panies. He was the one to develop a nation brands index which is made up by the sum of per-
ceptions on a country and its citizens according to 6 dimensions: exports, governance, culture
and heritage, people, tourism, investment and immigration (Dolea, Tarus, 2009: 35). In dis-
cussing the management of a country image, Anholt introduces the concept of competitive iden-
tity to describe the synthesis of brand management with public diplomacy and with trade,
investment, tourism and export promotion and underlines it is a model for enhanced national
competitiveness in a global world (2007: 3). In his view of competitive identity, culture is a
truly unique feature of a country and plays an essential role in enriching a countrys reputation,
in driving public perception towards a fuller and more durable understanding of the country and
its values. In developing this idea, Anholts perspective converges with the one of Hosftede and
intercultural communication when stressing that the challenges for all countries is to find ways
of continually presenting and re-presenting their past cultural achievements alongside their
modern equivalents in ways that are relevant, fresh and appealing to younger audiences (2007:
98). Anholt offers also the reason why culture is important in building competitive identity for
countries: consumers arent that suspicious of it as they are of commercial messages (2007:
100). While brands have their commercial imperatives, the communication of culture is actually
agenda-free. Summing up these ideas, it can be said that culture helps brands, including nation
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brands, in creating long term value and attaching to the competitive advantage of the product
something more meaningful that leads to loyalty and trust.
The last perspective is focused on public diplomacy as a specialized segment of internation-
al public relations whose main characteristics is to go beyond the relations between govern-
ments and address directly to the citizen (Miculescu, 2006: 60). According to Simon Anholt,
the notion was first mentioned in the early 1960s by the United States Information Agency in
relation to the management of the states reputation (2006: 12). It is important to notice that the
aspects of inter-cultural communication were included already at that time in the definition of
public diplomacy. Now, public diplomacy is a communication process initiated by govern-
ment for foreign publics in an attempt to create goodwill and understanding for the ideas and
national ideals, its institutions and culture, but also for the policies and national interests
(Gilboa, 2008: 59 apud Dolea, Tarus, 2009: 25). The same point of view is expressed by Joseph
Nye who stresses that government mobilizes certain resources in order to communicate to
publics in foreign countries and to attract those using media, the export of cultural products and
cultural exchanges (2008: 96). The result consists in generating a soft power for the country,
but only when the culture of a country, its values and policies are attractive. This soft power is
defined as the ability to influence others in obtaining the wanted results through attraction and
adhesion and not through force or payments and rests primarily on three resources: its culture
(in places where it is attractive to others), its political values (when it lives up to them at home
and abroad), and its foreign policies (when they are seen as legitimate and having moral
authority) (2008: 97). The notion of soft power is essential to our approach of creating the
image of a nation with emphasize on culture as it includes the symbolic goods and values of a
nation that have to be promoted and re-contextualized.
The comparison made by Joseph S. Nye between the past wars fought with weapons and
armies and the nowadays wars based on information and technology is thus very relevant for
the role of culture as discussed so far: Traditionally, victory went to the country whose
armies won. But in a global Information Age, victory also depends upon whose story wins.
In addition to hard military power, we need skill at winning hearts and minds with soft power
the ability to attract others with our values and culture. (LATimes, July, 21, 2004)
Contextualizing this approach to the purpose of the paper, the question of how this story
about culture is created before it gets out and wins the hearts and minds in communicating
the nation to the world is related closely with the question about the role of cultural institutes
in this endeavor.
3. The Concept of Cultural Diplomacy
The concept of cultural diplomacy emerges naturally from the perspectives presented
above as a specialized form of public diplomacy that focuses only on cultural aspects and
values. Although cultural activities existed in practice long before they were united under
this name, the institution of both a concept and a field of study for cultural diplomacy is clear
evidence for the increasing role that culture plays today. More than that, the need to be
addressed specifically and not altogether with the other aspects of public diplomacy
becomes more than obvious.
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Ambassador Cynthia P. Schneider defines cultural diplomacy as a prime example of soft
power, the exchange of ideas, information, art and other aspects of culture among nations
and their peoples to foster mutual understanding and argued that since it consists of nations
sharing forms of their creative expression, it is inherently enjoyable, and can therefore be
one of the most effective tools in any diplomatic toolbox (in Melissen, 2005: 147-148). She
also points out that cultural diplomacy is often easily dismissed by governents as too soft and
peripheral to the real issues of policy.
A convergent point of view on this aspect of cultural diplomacy is also expressed by
Simon Anholt who speaks about the concern of governments that culture doesnt sell or pro-
vide an return of investment like turism or exports, so it becomes relegated to the status of
a non for profit activity, a kind of charitable or philantropic obligation (2007: 97). Anholt
stresses the impact of cultures manifestations that people usually come in contact with
because they add colour, details and utimately shape perception and therefore the advantage
of integrating culture in a coherent strategy should not be neglected.
In a different approach, a study focused on Central and Eastern European public diploma-
cy and made by Gyrgy Szondi identifies cultural diplomacy as one of the pillars of foreign
policy and distinguishes it clearly from cultural relations. On one hand, cultural diplomacy is
related to governments efforts to present a favorable image so that diplomatic operations,
as a whole, are facilitated, the role of culture being that of an instrument of achieving for-
eign policy goals and thus is politicized. On the other hand, cultural relations are the one to
promote literature, films, TV, and radio programs, arts, science, music and languages abroad
with the goal of making foreign publics familiar with a nation, its people, culture, and lan-
guage, and to create a favorable opinion about the country through its culture (in Snow, Tay-
lor, 2008: 302). Sharing creative expressions identified by Cynthia P. Schneider as part of
cultural diplomacy appears according to Gyrgy Szondi to be rather specific to cultural rela-
tions. His distinction between the two terms goes even further, because he conceptualizes
them as using different communication models with implications on the results. Thus, cultur-
al diplomacy is seen as a one-way communication process, while cultural relations, which
aim to achieve understanding and cooperation between national societies for their mutual
benefits (Mitchell apud Szondi) fit to a bidirectional communication process. Therefore
cultural relations should be used when there is a need to change negative or false stereotypes
as they have deeper impact and carry more credibility.
We will conclude the discussion about cultural diplomacy with John Browns considera-
tions on arts diplomacy which he defines as the use of high art (music, literature, and paint-
ing) as an instrument of diplomacy. In his view, arts diplomacy can offer a response to the
desires of information of overseas publics, a context for the national culture and unique and
memorable aesthetique experiences which create powerful impressions and make people
abroad associate the country with these special moments He also distinguishes between arts
diplomacy and other aspects of cultural diplomacy: While it may not have a message, as
information programs do, or educational goals, as exchanges do, arts diplomacy helps
present a country as a complex and multidimensional one that cannot be reduced to slogans
or simplifications. It proves that a country is human (in Snow, Taylor, 2008: 59). The per-
spective of John Brown is the one of a practitioner who has witnessed U.S. cultural diploma-
cy in action and therefore when he calls arts diplomacy the neglected aspect of cultural
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diplomacy, it refers to the case of the United States of America. Nevertheless his views on
the benefits of arts diplomacy complete our approach and are valuable for the discussion of
the case studies in the next part of our study.
4. Cultural Diplomacy in Action. Romania versus USA
The analysis of comparative practices in several countries starts with the United States of
America as reference due to its long tradition in public and cultural diplomacy and continues
with several countries in Europe in order to have a first perspective that could be developed
and further improved. The main purpose is to explore how countries promote their cultures
and what role cultural institutes have in this process, as presented in the literature dedicated
to cultural diplomacy.
The first efforts to communicate America to the international public opinion were made
with the establishment of the Committee for Public Information (also known as the Creel
Committee) in 1917. Cynthia P. Schneider argues that in the USAthere has been a consensus
about the importance of promoting understanding of the United States to other countries, but
not on how to accomplish that goal because there was a question of separating or integrating
the functions of diplomacy, information, cultural expression, and exchanges that started back
in 1917 and continued to the present. Another example in this respect is the feedback after cre-
ating the United States Information Agency (USIA), in 1953 when questions arose about the
wisdom of separating cultural programs designed to promote understanding of the United
States and its the policies from the State Department, where the policies were promulgated
(Melissen, 2005: 155). Her approach on cultural diplomacy is made taking into account two
major moments in the history of the United States, the Cold War and the 9/11 which influ-
enced the way American culture was promoted wide world. She analyzes the factors that
facilitated the success of cultural diplomacy during the Cold War and discusses how things
changed after the fall of the Soviet Union both strategically and institutionally.
During the Cold War, the U.S. public diplomacy consisted in launching a Book Pro-
gram, promoting music, particularly jazz and rocknroll, exhibitions of modern art and
films. These various modes of creative expression formed part of an overall portrayal of the
United States as a country of individual freedoms, opportunity and tolerance. Schneider
insists on the book diplomacy program that was funded at up to one million dollars per
year and argues that it is unacceptable that the source of founds was the CIA, the amount
invested demonstrates a commitment to cultural diplomacy that is absent today (Melissen,
2005: 156). After the end of Cold War, cultural and public diplomacy programs suffered
increasing cutback and even the USIA was dissolved and its functions and people absorbed
into the State Department. This tendency continued and in 2000 the total budget for all pub-
lic and cultural diplomacy activities amounted to approximately one-third of one per cent of
the Pentagon budget (Melissen, 2005: 149).
After 9/11, the return of cultural diplomacy was expected to increase understanding
between America and the Arab/Muslim world, all the more as there was a precedent success.
Although there were taken some actions, there was not a coherent strategy and not to such
extent as the one developed during the Cold War. The former president of Ogilvy & Mather
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and J. Walter Thompson was designated Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public
Affairs to manage the situation and sell a positive image of the US to the Arab world. She
initiated an integrated marketing campaign which included leaflets, booklets and several
promotional materials such as the TV show Shared Values that targeted the Muslims and the
Arab world. New stations on radio Radio Sawa and TV Alhurra were launched in the
Middle East. These initiatives had more or less good results and the estimation of their
impact is subject to continuous controversies (Gutu, 2007: 37-38).
Schneider considers that successful cultural initiatives launched in recent years by the U.S.
are the Culture Connect program, the Ambassadors Fund, and American Corners which are
located primarily in the former Soviet Union, inside local libraries and cultural institutions,
and offer access to the internet, videos, CDs and books about the US. In her view, valuable
resources that should further be encouraged are also popular culture, arts and cultural
exchanges. She concludes that the changes in US public and cultural diplomacy, both in terms
of strategy and policy, are resulted from a profound misunderstanding of diplomacy in the
post-Cold War world: In a world made smaller by globalization, and one in which non-gov-
ernmental actors and organizations (NGOs) exert increasingly greater influence, public opin-
ion matters more, not less. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the opening up of the
communist bloc, the need to communicate democratic values and ideas with people at all lev-
els of society was greater than ever (Gutu, 2007: 156). The solution proposed consists in
launching a forceful, energetic policy of cultural diplomacy under the leadership of the White
House and the State Department and in partnerships with the private sector. At the same time,
she underlines that soft power requires hard dollars (Gutu, 2007: 163) in reference to the
need of proper funding which is essential for any initiative of this sort.
European approaches of cultural diplomacy place cultural institutes in the center of the
countrys strategy. Gyrgy Szondi analyzed the cultural diplomacy activities of several Central
and Eastern European countries and identified the cultural institutes as the leading institutions
of cultural promotions for Hungary, Poland, Estonia, and Latvia respectively (Snow, Taylor,
2008: 302). He underlines that the cultural institutes are closely linked and dependent on fund-
ing from the governments or ministries of culture, unlike the Western European counterparts,
such as the British Council or the Goethe Institute, which have more independence and are not
associated with the governments. Another argument in favor of his theory is also the fact that
CEE cultural institutions are located in strategic countries due to lack of funding.
In Romania, there are several institutions that promote nowadays the Romanian culture: the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as part of their diplomatic activities, the Ministry of Culture
focused on programs and activities addressed to the internal Romanian public and the Roman-
ian Cultural Institute whose main purpose is to communicate the Romanian culture abroad.
The Romanian Cultural Institute was created in 2003 as a public institution of nation
interest under the authority of the Romanian President, with distinct budget and several cul-
tural institutes abroad. Before 2003 there was the Romanian Institute for Cultural Relations
with Foreign Countries created in 1962, and the Romanian Association created in 1972. Both
institutions were dissolved after the 1989 Revolution when the Romanian Cultural Founda-
tion was created. However, it had no real cultural and budgetary autonomy and it did not
have the authority to create cultural centers or institutes abroad. It is only after the establish-
ment of the Romanian Cultural Institute that Romania has started creating its network of cul-
tural institutes abroad.
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As compared to other countries, the situation of the Romanian Cultural Institute is unique
as it is under the patronage of the Romanian president, which has in fact no effect on its
budget or programs. More than that, the activities of the institutes abroad have a double sub-
ordination: from the administrative point of view, including administrative budgets for func-
tioning and salaries, they depend on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while the budgets for
cultural strategy, activities and programs are totally dependent on the center (the Romanian
Cultural Institute). In 2005, the Institute underwent a major institutional transformation and
although the law that stipulated this double subordination could not be changed, the new
management of the institute elaborated strict protocols with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
to clarify these aspects and separate the competences. Its purpose it that of promoting the
current Romanian culture and acts as mediator between the Romanian culture and the for-
eign cultural markets. It functions on project based programs which are public, transparent
and evaluated not by the institute, but by independent experts committees. 2005 marked
actually not only a shift in management but in the entire strategy of the institute which was
changing its status: it started the transition from cultural diplomacy to cultural relations. On
the other hand, it is obvious that the preoccupation for the infrastructural and administrative
details is in line with the youth of the cultural institutes network. It is only after establishing
the grounds that an institution can work and achieve its purpose and goal.
At the end of 2008 Romanian 17 cultural institutes were functioning abroad, each of them
having a distinct budget and a strategy in line with the general strategy of the Romanian Cul-
tural Institute. The main areas of the Romanian Cultural Institutes activity are the programs
for translating Romanian authors abroad (71 titles in 17 languages from 2005 to 2008), par-
ticipating at national and international book fairs and festivals, organizing the European Film
Festival, offering founding for young artists, organizing conferences, exhibits and concerts.
The Institute also involved in creating an informal network of collaboration with the foreign
cultural institutes present in Bucharest and organized monthly meetings and consultations.
Moreover, the Romanian Cultural Institute entered the EUNIC (European Union of the
National Institutes for Culture) and a result of its activities, the director was chosen to
become vice-president (2008 and 2009) and president in 2010.
The Romanian Cultural Institute is still depending on the budget of the government,
but has established a mechanism of spending this budget that allows it to implement the
planned programs. On the other hand, it has acquired a liberty of action and realizing its own
strategy through the protocols signed with the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that
stipulate its independence in conceiving the content of the cultural programs, the ministry
offering only the administrative support. Still, all the programs in the strategy are dependent
on the amount of the budget the president of the Institute manages to attract each year from
the Ministry of Finances and approved by the Senate. So, on the long term it is a question of
how persuasive and perseverant the president of the Institute is.
As a result, discussing these perspectives is a base for further reflection and research on
how countries promote their culture today as related to how they used to in the past, the rea-
sons their strategy changed in time and how they manage this change. Cultural institutes are
seen as instruments in a wider equation of country and culture promotion and it is a question
of whether they should continue to be just instruments in a context that is so rapidly chan-
ging and placing the dialogue of cultures in a key position. These perspectives underline the
266 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
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necessity of organizations, institutions and nations to gain visibility and position themselves
in the new international technological and informational context. They have new media of
communication though which they can send information everywhere on the globe. However,
this is just the technical support that the technological revolution brings, what matters is the
content that every node in the network (be it organization, institution and nation) can create
and its capacity of re-creating and re-contextualizing to create new meanings. This will make
possible a global culture of dialogue and inclusion, but only if the content is accessible and
recognizable because we cannot re-contextualize what we do not understand. Thus, there is
a need to a strategic, long-term approach of the contents that organizations, institutions and
nations want to place in circulation in the great global network.
There is a cultural competition between nations and what makes the difference between
them is not the strategy itself, but the values, the creations of each of them. This is the reason
why every nation has to promote itself, to integrate in the network. Nations have to generate
new values that reflect the local specificity, but which are in line with the modern times. There
are local values, but with global significance. In order to achieve this global significance it is
important to have values with universal dimension. Nations have to focus less on the strategy
of promoting the culture abroad and more on generating these new sets of values and cre-
ations. No matter what role they will have in the future, a common conclusion of the studies
presented is the necessity of funding, working in close collaboration with other structure with
responsibilities in this area and, ultimately, that of being integrated in a coherent and long-
term strategy.
5. Conclusions
The purpose of this paper was to discuss the importance of culture in the complex process
of creating the image of a nation due to the challenges faced today by every nation in the
global network society. The paper focused on an interdisciplinary perspective that included
intercultural communication, international public relations, branding and public diplomacy
in order to identify the convergence and divergence points of several theories on culture. The
new emerging concept of cultural diplomacy was thus analyzed to set the grounds for the
comparative case studies which have revealed the challenges faced today by cultural diplo-
macy and addressed the research questions on how nations could or should promote their
cultures and also on the role cultural institutes should have in this process.
The debate on culture and cultural diplomacy is set today on the importance of its inclu-
sion in a wider strategy of country promotion, on the necessity to institute a cultural policy at
national level which should be more oriented towards cultural relations and less towards for-
eign policy and on building long-term relationship with other nations through a constant pre-
occupation for engaging in a two-way symmetrical communication process.
The study opens the discussion on the role of cultural institutes in this context and ana-
lyzes them as integrated in the cultural diplomacy strategy of the USAand Romania. The nov-
elty of cultural diplomacy as independent field of study and the approach on cultural institutes
constituted a challenge in itself for our paper due to the few resources available, as compared
to the other fields also discussed. Nevertheless, case studies on practices in several parts of the
Marketing and Organization Management in the Global World 267
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globe have increased lately and make possible a future wider approach. Future research
should focus more on other European countries as well, in order to have a complete European
perspective on the issue and then developed to include other continents so that a global per-
spective to be obtained. The role of media in promoting culture in general and the way cultur-
al institutes manage their relations with media in order to disseminate their key messages is
also an area that is worth investigating.
In this context, the role of cultural institutes should be of initiators of cultural transforma-
tion of the national society. They should be first internally oriented and only then interested
in communicating externally. Their mission should be to discover new talents and initiate
new programs so that new creative ideas emerge. They should be the catalyst and the engine
of the cultural transformation in the society. It is only after creating the good story that one
should launch in the battle for winning the hearts and minds, at another dimension and with
other coordinates than before. Then cultural institutes should engage in promoting this new
story but through a new two way, symmetrical communication process which takes into
account also the other stories on the cultural market, in order to send a credible message of
change and modernization in response to the challenges of this global network society.
References
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Regions, Palgrave Macmillan.
2. Brown, J. (2008). Arts diplomacy. The neglected aspect of cultural diplomacy, in Snow, Nancy,
Taylor, Philip M. (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy, 57-59, Routledge.
3. Castells, M. (2004). Informationalism, networks, and the network society: a theoretical blueprint, in
Castells, Manuel (ed.), The Network Society-A Cross-cultural Perspective, 3-45, Edward Elgar Publishing Inc.
4. Curtin, P., Gaither, K. (2008). Relaii publice internaionale. Negocierea culturii, a identitii i a put-
erii, Bucureti: Curtea Veche Publishing.
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6. Dolea, A., Tarus, A. (2009). Branding Romania. Cum (ne) promovam imaginea de tara, Bucuresti:
Curtea Veche Publishing.
7. Giddens, A. (2000). Runaway World. How Globalization Is Reshaping Our Lives, New York: Rout-
ledge.
8. Gutu, D. (2007). Relaii publice n mediu internaional, Bucure?ti: Comunicare.ro.
9. Hofstede, G. (1996). Managementul structurilor multiculturale, Bucure?ti: Editura Economica.
11. Institutul Cultural Roman (Romanian Cultural Institute). (2008). Raport de activitate 2005-2008
(Activity report 2005-2008).
12. Miculescu, S. M. (2006). Relaii publice din perspectiv internaional, Iai: Polirom.
13. Nye, J. S. (2008). Public Diplomacy and Soft Power, Annals of the American Academy of Politi-
cal and Social Science, 94, 94-109.
14. Nye, J. S. (2004). Today, Its a Question of Whose Story Wins, Government reform could help sell
our values to the world, LA Times, http://articles.latimes.com/2004/jul/21/opinion/oe-nye21.
15. Schneider, C. (2005). Culture Communicates: US Diplomacy That Works, in Melissen, J. (ed.),
The New Public Diplomacy. Soft Power in International Relations, 147-168, Palgrave Maccmillian.
16. Sriramesh, K., Vercic, D. (2009). The Global Public Relations Handbook Revised Edition: Theory,
Research, and Practice, Routledge.
17. Szondi, G. (2008). Central and Eastern European Public Diplomacy, in Snow, Nancy, Taylor,
Philip M. (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy, 292-313, Routledge.
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18. Van Dijk, J. (1999). Book outline. The Network Society. Social aspects of new media, Sage Publica-
tions,http://www.gw.utwente.nl/vandijk/research/network_society/network_society_plaatje/a_book_out-
line_outline_of_the.doc/.
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The Severity of Academic Dishonesty:
A Comparison of Faculty Perception and Student
Self-Reporting Perspective
Dan Florin STNESCU*
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration,
Bucharest, Romania
Eva Alexandra PIROC
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration,
Bucharest, Romania
Adina IACOB
National School of Political Studies and Public Administration,
Bucharest, Romania
Abstract: The widespread access to web based (and not only) informational sources and the convenient
mechanism it provides (online books, articles database, paper mills etc.), such as easy access, easy down-
loads, and easy copy and paste functions have made many types of unethical behaviors easier, particularly
those involving students in academic settings. Among the issues in ethics within the academic environment
are fraudulence, plagiarism, falsification, delinquency, unauthorized help etc. Given these issues, the study
seeks to investigate the extent to which students at a public university in Bucharest engage in such unethical
behavior and to compare self reporting perspective with their teachers perspective.
This study was conducted using a survey method of 252 students (17 males and 235 females) from grad-
uate and post-graduate level, and of 28 teachers (10 males and 18 females). The envisaged results should
provide significant contributions in allowing educational institutions in developing relevant policies and
guidelines on matters pertaining to academic conduct.
Keywords: academic ethics, cheating, unethical behavior
1. Introduction
There is little doubt that academic dishonesty has been a persistent problem in higher
education for quite some time (Harding, Passow, Carpenter & Finelli, 2003). According to
*
Contact: dan.stanescu@comunicare.ro.
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the literature (Baird, 1980; Davis, Grover, Becker & McGregor, 1992), it appears that aca-
demic dishonesty is epidemic across most universities, and the majority of students have
engaged in it in some degrees at some point in their academic careers.
Although academic dishonesty has been a concern in higher education for about seven
decades (Blankensip & Whitley, 2000; Davis, Grover, Becker, & McGregor, 1992), a con-
certed research effort has been made only for the last three decades (Davis et al., 1992: 16)
with more than 100 published studies Whitley (1998).
Those studies indicates that cheating occurs at all educational levels, starting from ele-
mentary school children, in middle and high school (Anderman, Griessinger, & Westerfield,
1998; Murdock, Hale, & Weber, 2001), and as late as college (Newstead, Franklyn-Stokes,
& Armstead, 1996) and even graduate school.
On the average, it was estimated that 70% of students engage at least once during their col-
lege enrollment in some form of academically dishonest behavior (Whitley, 1998). In a survey
of marketing students, it was found that 49% admitted to some form of cheating (Tom & Borin,
1998). In another anonymous survey of students at a major public university, the findings
showed that over two-thirds reported cheating at least once (Hollinger & Lanza-Kaduce, 1996).
Other research has shown that academic dishonesty is pervasive on most of the college
campuses, with the majority of students having engaged in it at some point during their col-
lege career. Depending on the type of survey used, reported percentages of undergraduate
and graduate students who admit to having cheated has ranged from 9% to as high as 90%
(Davis, Grover, Becker, & McGregor, 1992; McCabe & Trevio, 1996). In some environ-
ments, cheating has become so common that students may not even view their behavior as
dishonest (Cizek, 2003).
During the time, many justifications have been given for cheating behavior such as pres-
sure to succeed, stress, too heavy work load, ineffective preventive measures by instructors,
and peer pressure (Davis et al., 1992; McCabe et al, 2001; Wajda-Johnston, Handal, Brawer,
& Fabricatore, 2001). From this motivational perspective, there have been report many dif-
ferent reasons for engaging in academic cheating (Murdock, Hale, & Weber, 2001). Some
students cheat because they are highly focused on extrinsic outcomes such as grades; others
cheat because they are concerned with maintaining a certain image to themselves or to their
peers; still others cheat because they lack the requisite self-efficacy to engage in complex
tasks or because of the types of attributions they have developed.
In spite of the seriousness of the problem, there is evidence that professors underestimate
and ignore the prevalence of academic dishonesty (on American campuses) (Keith-Spiegel
et al., 1998; McCabe et al., 2001; Wajda-Johnston et al., 2001). Also, many faculty simply
look the other way when they see cheating occur in their courses, which may passively
encourage cheating (McCabe et al., 2001: 226).
Evans and Craig (1990) found that people dont always agree on what constitutes aca-
demic cheating, and, as such, developing a definition is thorny. Symaco and Marcelo (2003)
considered cheating as a violation of rules and regulations, a phenomenon most people
abhor yet profess to have committed at one time or another (2003: 327). Cizek (2003) pro-
vides a less limiting definition. He states that cheating behaviors fall into three categories:
(1) giving, taking, or receiving information, (2), using any prohibited materials, and (3)
capitalizing on the weaknesses of persons, procedures, or processes to gain an advantage
on academic work (p. 42).
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From the review of the literature (Caruana, Ramaseshan & Ewing, 2000; Coston & Jenks,
1998; Stern & Havlicek, 1986; Roig & DeTommaso, 1995), there can be distinguished many
different forms of academic dishonesty. Pavela (1978), showed that there are four general
areas that comprise academic dishonesty: cheating by using unauthorized materials on any
academic activity, such as assignments, tests etc.; fabrication of information, references, or
results; plagiarism; and helping other students engaged in academic dishonesty (i.e. facilitat-
ing), such as allowing other student to copy their work, memorizing questions on a quiz etc.
Student academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, lying, cheating on exams,
copying or using other peoples work without permission, altering or forging documents,
buying papers, plagiarism, altering research results, providing false excuses for missed tests
and assignments, making up sources, and so on (Arent, 1991; Packer, 1990).
William L. Kibler (1993) defined academic dishonesty as forms of cheating and plagia-
rism that involve students giving or receiving unauthorized assistance in an academic exer-
cise or receiving credit for work that is not their own. According to Burke (Ercegovac &
Richardson, 2004), cheating is intentionally using or attempting to use unauthorized mate-
rials, information, or study aids in any academic exercise. He defines fabrication as inten-
tional and unauthorized falsification or invention of any information or citation in an aca-
demic exercise. Facilitating academic dishonesty is defined as intentionally or knowingly
helping or attempting to help another to commit an act of academic dishonesty, and plagia-
rism is defined as intentionally or knowingly representing the word of another as ones own
in any academic exercise.
McCabe et al. (2001) documented the amount of cheating behaviors in different contexts.
Aserious test cheater is defined as someone who admits to one or more instances of copying
from another student on a test or exam, using unauthorized crib or cheat notes on a test or
exam, or helping someone else cheat on a test or exam (McCabe et al., 2001: 223). Serious
cheating on written work includes plagiarism, fabricating or falsifying a bibliography, turn-
ing in work done by someone else, and copying a few sentences of material without footnot-
ing them (2001: 223).
Hetherington and Feldman (1964) attempted to isolate four different types of cheating
methods: individualistic-planned, individualistic-opportunistic, social-active, and social-
passive. Individual-opportunistic cheating was labeled as changing answers when self-grad-
ing an exam or using materials left out during an oral exam when the professor left the room.
Independent-planned cheating was identified as using crib notes during an exam or bringing
in already completed essays into an exam rather than actually writing them during the allot-
ted exam period. Finally, social-active cheating was classified as copying from others, and
social-passive cheating was allowing others to copy.
2. Method
In researching academic dishonesty, surveys were the most common method used (Whit-
ley, 1998). As with any study on deviant behavior which uses a self-report questionnaire
approach, underreporting due to social desirability is a concern (Edwards, 1957). Despite
this possible source of error, there is evidence that in many situations self reports of dishon-
est behaviors can be accurate (Himmelfarb & Lickteig, 1982).
Marketing and Organization Management in the Global World 273
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This study was conducted using a survey method of 252 students at a public university in
Bucharest (age M= 21.23, SD=3.45; 17 males and 235 females) from graduate and post-
graduate level. The prevalence of female participants is an artifact which can be explained
by the nature of the faculty specialization itself, being well known that communication and
public relations, psychology and human resources are usually gender biased occupations. A
non-random, convenience sampling design involving a wide array of students was used. The
most obvious criticism about convenience sampling is sampling bias and that the sample is
not representative of the entire population. Since the sample is not representative of the pop-
ulation, the results of the study cannot speak for the entire population.
Students were asked to participate in the study by voluntarily completing the survey. The
Academic Dishonesty Questionnaire consisted of 39 items adapted from Pavela (1978) and
Cizek (2003) descriptors. Out of those, 23 measure dishonest behavior clustered in five
scales: cheating / fraudulence, fabrication / falsification, facilitating dishonest behavior /
unauthorized help, plagiarism and misconduct; 10 items are dealing with possible motiva-
tions, one is related to past behavior, one with the role of religion and 4 are factual items
(gender, college level etc.). The questionnaire was distributed by one of the authors of this
paper who briefly discussed the nature of the research. The demographic characteristics of
the respondents are presented in Table 1.
Table 1. Demographic characteristic of the students (N=252).
The Professors Questionnaire was used to survey professors opinions related to aca-
demic honesty. All questions were similar to questions asked of students, including the pos-
sible motivations associated. After several reminders we have managed (see Table 2) to
receive answers from 28 teachers (10 males and 18 females).
Table 2. Demographic characteristic of the teachers (N=28).
3. Results
Based upon the frequency of self-reported cheating behaviors listed in Table 3 some con-
clusions can be drawn. First, only a minority of students admit or report to engaging in fa-
brication (M=1.38; I have falsified or fabricated a few research data). On the other hand, the
274 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
Gender Total
Male 10
Female 18
Total 28
Gender/ College Level First year Second year Third year Postgraduate Total
Male 4 7 1 5 17
Female 76 68 25 66 235
Total 80 75 26 71 252
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 274
highest score was reported for facilitating/unauthorized help (M=1.87; I have wrote or pro-
vided a paper for another student), followed by plagiarism (M=1.77; I have paraphrased
issues that I had been reading here and there, without mentioning in my paper that they
belong to other authors) and cheating (M=1.73; I have used unpermitted crib notes or cheat
sheets to help me complete my test or exam).
Sixty-three percent of students admitted that they have facilitated in one way or another
academic dishonesty, 58% plagiarism and 53% involvement in cheating behaviors.
Table 3. Mean scores distribution by type of behavior.
Regarding the comparison between the self reporting perspective and teachers perspec-
tive on overall level of academic dishonesty, additional interesting findings were revealed.
According to the results reported in previous studies, we expected professors in the present
study to underestimate the prevalence of academic dishonesty on their university. Further
analysis revealed significant difference between self reporting perspective and teachers per-
spective on four out of five dishonest behaviors, namely cheating, fabrication, plagiarism
and misconduct. Contrary to what is generally believed, professors estimated the prevalence
of academic dishonesty on their university to be higher than their students admitted of
engaging in some type of academic dishonesty.
Table 4. Independent samples test prevalence.
But, what are the causes of academic dishonesty? One simple answer might be that dishon-
esty arises from bad faith in the part of the student. The data analysis provide some interesting
Marketing and Organization Management in the Global World 275
Levenes Test for
Equality of Variances
t-test for Equality of Means
F Sig. t df Sig. (2-tailed)
cheating
.147 .702 7.213 278 .000
7.044 32.913 .000
fabrication
7.141 .008 2.521 278 .012
2.080 30.817 .046
plagiarism
.147 .702 7.213 278 .000
7.044 32.913 .000
misconduct
2.620 .107 6.218 278 .000
5.206 30.964 .000
cheating fabrication facilitating plagiarism misconduct
Students
Mean 1.73 1.38 1.87 1.77 1.39
S.D. .451 .449 .412 .532 .344
Teachers
Mean 2.54 1.61 1.91 2.54 1.83
S.D. .548 .571 .463 .548 .430
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276 Globalization and Changing Patterns in the Public Sphere
justifications for such type of behaviors starting from helping a friend (M=3.89), lack of time
(M=3.76), not interested by the course (M=3.57), to unreasonable teacher expectations
(M=3.13), laziness (M=2.73) and to get a better grade (M=2.71). To put this in another way,
92% of students are considering helping a friend an important reason for engaging in dishonest
behavior, 89% lack of time (due to work, hospitalization etc.) and 83% if they are not interest-
ed by the course.
Table 5. Mean scores distribution by motivation students (N=252).
Professors perspective on the same issue is slightly different. Thus, laziness (M=4.00), if
teacher or context allowed (M=3.96) and to get a better grade (M=3.82) are considered the
main reasons for academic cheating from their perspective. The lowest scores were obtained
for unreasonable teacher expectations (M=3.17), not interested by the course (M=3.17) and
helping a friend (M=2.78).
Table 6. Mean scores distribution by motivation teachers (N=28).
Further data analyses showed that the only significant difference between students self
reporting perspective and professors perspective was revealed for laziness, to get a better grade
and helping a friend, as possible motivations for involvement in academic cheating behaviors.
Interesting enough is that teachers are aware of both the prevalence and some of the rea-
sons associated with academic dishonesty and, to some observers it may seem objectionable
or at least perplexing, that they do not work more vigorously to detect and prevent cheating.
Several reasons have been given by previous researchers for teachers lack of active
involvement in dealing with academic dishonesty, such as difficulty in proving the dishonest
behavior, stress involved in dealing with the problem, not wanting to invest the time in a dif-
ficult procedure to deal with the problem, fear of student retaliation, denial of the problem,
and feelings of guilt (McCabe et al., 2001; Keith-Spiegel et al., 1998). Keith-Spiegel et al.,
(1998) found that 71% professors in their study considered confronting cheating students as
one of the most negative aspects of their profession.
Teachers laziness
if teacher or
context allowed
to get a better
grade
....
unreasonable teacher
expectations
not interested
by the course
helping a
friend
Mean 4.00 3.96 3.82 .... 3.17 3.17 2.78
S.D. 1.15 1.40 .862 .... 1.02 1.12 .875
Students
helping a
friend
lack of
time
not interested
by the course
....
unreasonable teacher
expectations
laziness
to get a
better
grade
Mean 3.89 3.76 3.57 .... 3.13 2.73 2.71
S.D. .932 1.01 1.13 .... 1.12 1.22 1.21
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 276
Table 7. Independent samples test motivation.
But a broader perspective reminds us that there may be other objectives that matter just as
much, if not more. Suppose that cheating could be at least partly curtailed by tightly moni-
toring and regulating students or by repeatedly announcing the dire penalties that await any-
one who breaks the rules. Would this result be worth the cost of creating a climate of mis-
trust, undermining a sense of community, and perhaps leading students to become less
enthusiastic about learning? (Andreman & Murdock, 2007).
Rebecca Moore Howard (2001), who teaches writing at Syracuse University, put it this
way: In our stampede to fight what some call a plague of plagiarism, we risk becoming the
enemies rather than the mentors of our students; we are replacing the student-teacher rela-
tionship with the criminal-police relationship. Worst of all, we risk not recognizing that our
own pedagogy needs reform... [if it] encourages plagiarism because it discourages learning.
4. Conclusion
Despite a continued concern for ethical behavior and integrity, dishonesty still remains an
endemic problem in the university setting. A seen in this study, justifications for cheating are
mostly related with helping a friend, lack of time, not interested by the course or disin-
terested professor. The difference between students and professors perspective regarding the
possible reasons for academic cheating could be explained first by the different role they are
engaged in. Thus, it is not a surprise that professors considered laziness to be the top reason
for cheating, when students reported that helping a friend is the main reason for their behav-
ior. Because there is no single reason why students engage in academic dishonesty, deciding
where to pool institutional time and resources to combat the problem is a real challenge.
Regarding the comparison between the self reporting perspective and teachers perspec-
tive on overall level of academic dishonesty we must emphasize the fact that, contrary to
what is generally believed, professors estimated the prevalence of academic dishonesty to be
higher than their students reported.
At the same time students often have differing views on what constitutes cheating (Ba-
ker, Berry, & Thornton, 2008), and possess varying degrees of tolerance toward it (Baker et
Marketing and Organization Management in the Global World 277
Levenes Test for Equality of Variances t-test for Equality of Means
F Sig. t df Sig. (2-tailed)
helping a friend
.188 .665 -5.996 278 .000
-6.304 34.165 .000
to get a better grade
12.021 .001 4.683 278 .000
6.144 40.029 .000
laziness
1.996 .159 5.213 278 .000
5.484 34.177 .000
Conferinta_Globalization_Changing.qxd 11/4/2010 11:40 AM Page 277
al., 2008). It is a persistent and pervasive problem that remains a source of concern, not
only in education but also in other aspects of society, because today students represent
tomorrow specialists.
It is now known that institutions that adopt and effectively communicate policies and
increase student awareness of the penalties associated with academic misconduct and its
enforcement tend to reduce cheating (Aaron, 1992; Crown & Spiller, 1998, McCabe, &
Bowers, 1994; McCabe, Trevio, & Butterfield, 2001).
This study was limited to one university. There is much more research needed to fully
understand what types of cheating students engage in, how frequently they cheat, and why
they cheat. Additional research using in-depth analysis at different academic institutions can
determine whether the results were unique or can be generalized to university students in
general. Also, future studies should include measures for social pressures to cheat or not to
cheat and other variables such as personality, previous experience etc.
In conclusion, future research should look also at the academic system in general to see
whether it discourages or contributes to student academic dishonesty. It is time to create a
course of action that discourages dishonesty. However, this can only be done once the prob-
lem is better understood, including the salient correlates and causes of academic dishonesty.
Acknowledgements
The authors would like to thank all the students and teachers involved in this study for
their participation.
References
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