Mapping Europeanization in the Greek online public sphere: Assessing the Europeanizing dynamics of social media
For more than a decade, following the peak of the debt crisis, Greece has been facing multiple challenges. Amongthem, a pandemic (COVID-19) that brought the global and thus the Greek economy to a halt, an energy crisis that threatens to flatten entire social classes, a refugee crisis, and wider regional instability. All of these concurrent problems reflect crucial socio-economic transformations compounding the country’s unsustainable debt. Despite these adverse factors, in the present research the anti-European sentiments have almost entirely disappeared from the online public sphere. To examine the presence of Europe in the Greek online public discourse, a quantitative content analysis was conducted. The sample was based on 700 posts published on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube coming from mainstream media organisations’ accounts, individual users’ accounts, and public pages. According to the research findings, social media platforms function, to some extent, as alternative agenda setters, fostering the dissemination of topics, or the expression of viewpoints that are circumvented by the media organisations’ posts. Moreover, the online discussion regarding EU prospects and the European institutions’ policies are largely descriptive, devoid of any critical reflection or conflict. Therefore, Greece’s position in the EU looks like a one-dimensional issue, a feature that can be attributed to the fact that, in the Greek online public sphere, alternative voices and sources have a limited presence within the most viewed content of social media platforms.