A Thin Line: Governmental Border Communication in Times of European Crises

Verena K. Brändle*, Olga Eisele

*Corresponding author for this work

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In response to the recent crises in Europe, many governments have tightened their border controls despite considerable criticism from the EU Commission and civil society. While borders are at the core of recent crises, we lack systematic evidence of how governments publicly inform about border politics and justify measures. Therefore, we ask: How do EU governments communicate about borders? We analyze a comprehensive sample of press releases of the Austrian and German governments over 12 years (2009–2020). Applying a mixed-methods design, we employ automated text analysis, specifically latent semantic scaling (LSX) to scale documents regarding how they communicated permeability (openness and closedness) of borders and the state of affairs regarding a state of crisis and routine. Based on this quantitative analysis, we then apply qualitative text analysis to explore the nuances and patterns of this communication to gain in-depth insights into governmental stances about borders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)597-615
Number of pages19
JournalJCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies
Issue number3
Early online date15 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • borders
  • crisis
  • government communication
  • Europe
  • latent semantic scaling
  • qualitative analysis


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