European elites and the narrative of the Greek crisis: a discursive institutionalist analysis

Dimitris Papadimitriou, Adonis Pegasiou, Sotirios Zartaloudis

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The article examines elite European discourses during the Greek financial crisis from its pre-history in September 2008 up to the arrival of the SYRIZA government in January 2015. The article employs the conceptual literature on Discursive Institutionalism (DI) and Historical Institutionalism (HI). Having coded 1,153 unique quotes drawn from a dataset of 15,354 news wires from Reuters, the article argues that the communicative discourse of 63 senior European (and IMF) officials on the Greek crisis during that period demonstrates significant volatility. We identify four distinct narrative frames: ‘neglect', ‘suspicious cooperation’, ‘blame’ and ‘reluctant redemption’, punctuated by three discursive junctures in 2010, 2011 and 2012, which reflect the content of the changing communicative discourse of the Greek crisis. The article’s contribution is twofold: empirically, it is the first to provide a systematic analysis of the protagonists' communication of the Greek crisis; theoretically, it combines DI and HI in an effort to conceptualise an important part of our understanding of ‘bailout politics’ throughout the Eurozone crisis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-464
Number of pages30
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Research
Early online date6 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

Prof Dimitris Papadimitriou, University of Manchester

Dr Adonis Pegasiou, University of Cyprus

Dr Sotirios Zartaloudis, University of Birmingham


  • Discourse
  • institutionalism
  • Greece
  • Eurozone crisis


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