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Interdiscursive Hybridity of European Social Dialogue

  • Autori: Pennisi, GA
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2011
  • Tipologia: eedings
  • Parole Chiave: discourse analysis; interdiscursive hybridity; social dialogue
  • OA Link:


The European social dialogue, which is the name given to the bipartite/tripartite work of the representative social partner organizations, has evolved significantly since it was first introduced in 1985 and constitutes one of the pillars of the European Union (artt.137-139 of the Treaty establishing the European Community). The European dialogue, which is based on the principles of responsibility, solidarity and participation, is now structured within the governance of the Union and allows the social partners to make an important contribution to the definition of European social standards (COM(2002)341 final; COM(2004)557 final). However, the system of social partnership and independent social dialogue in some of the Member States and candidate countries has proved to be rather weak: joint opinions, declarations and recommendations (which in most cases do not include provisions for implementation and monitoring) are not generally known and their dissemination at national level has been limited. The aim of this paper is to explore how European social discourse (analysed from a corpus of EU texts organized in a diachronic perspective) succeeds/fails in introducing a more general change in governance, viz. a new technology/means of governance based upon principles/values (such as ‘accountability’, ‘transparency’, ‘accessibility’, ‘appropriateness’, ‘equal opportunity’) which are highly problematic, culture-sensitive/context-bound concepts. From this point of view, EU social dialogue will be presented as: i) a ‘nodal discourse’ (Fairclough 2006) articulating together different discourses (recognizable in numerous buzzwords: new-generation texts, lifelong-learning, genuine partnership, corporate social responsibility, eEurope, macroeconomic dialogue, Lisbon strategy, teleworking); ii) a strategy for socio-economic/political change, in which the extent and success of EU social challenges (i.e., ‘The international dimension of the social dialogue’; ‘Integration of the Financial markets and coordination of macroeconomic policies’; ‘The technological challenge’, ‘Making Europe more competitive’) will depend upon the political, socio-economic and cultural aspects and values of the groups and actors involved.