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Analysing social policy concepts and languageComparative and Transnational Perspectives$
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Daniel Béland and Klaus Petersen

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781447306443

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447306443.001.0001

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Languages of ‘social policy’at ‘the EU level’

Languages of ‘social policy’at ‘the EU level’

(p.58) THREE Languages of ‘social policy’at ‘the EU level’ (p.59)
Analysing social policy concepts and language

Jean-Claude Barbier

Policy Press

This chapter discusses the development of social policy language in the European Union (EU). In the EU, social policy language must be considered from two angles: from one side as political language used in supra-national (or trans-national) forums and arenas where politics is played by politicians and other actors; and, from another side as the language of social scientists whose domain of expertise is the “social.” In both cases, whether fortunately or not, the language used is international English. International English has acquired many functions as a political idiom at the EU level, including the recent creation of a special political communication (or “spin”) that has no equivalent in the member states. Because in “international research situations” (where social scientists are convinced to do research, but seldom do so), international English is also used, social scientists run the risk of being captured by the European political process. This trend can only be countered by reinforcing disciplinary peer control and strict methodological investment in comparative research informed by the use of a variety of national languages.

Keywords:   European Union, transnational forums, international English, political communication, national languages

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