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Title: Children, Europe and the media : a comparison between Bulgaria and England
Author: Slavtcheva-Petkova, Vera
ISNI:       0000 0004 2720 7191
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2011
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The thesis examines what children know about and how they feel towards Europe, drawing on interviews with 9-10-year-old pupils in Bulgaria and England. Although it is focused on the media, it also takes into account a plethora of other factors by investigating the interplay between social structures, socialization agents, national context and individual agency. The methodology combines qualitative and quantitative methods and involves 174 interviews with children, surveys with their parents, interviews with teachers and head teachers and content analysis of TV news, videos and school textbooks. The contributions of the thesis are both theoretical and empirical. The findings reveal important commonalities and differences in processes of European identity formation in the two countries. In both the new and enthusiastic European Union (EU) member Bulgaria and in the notoriously Eurosceptic England, European identity is largely an elite and racialized identity. However, the meanings of European-ness vary: in England, being European is linked with the idea of belonging to the continent of Europe, while Bulgarian children associate it with being part of the EU as a political unit. The results also provide a better insight into the relationship between knowledge and identity, as well as the role of the media in relation to each of them. The study concludes that the mass media, and television in particular, play an important role in raising awareness and knowledge, especially when the topic has a fairly salient position on the political agenda. In contrast, the media do not seem to play a decisive role in shaping identity as such: although Bulgarian media provide considerably more coverage of European issues than English media, Bulgarian children feel less European than their English peers. Theoretically, the thesis not only provides a detailed, sociologically informed and context-sensitive account of the media s influence in identity construction, but also bridges the gap between contrasting theories in media studies and sociology, including agenda-setting theories and audience-focused approaches to media effects, as well as theories of socialization and social structures.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Children ; Media ; European identity ; Socialization ; Bulgaria ; England