Perceptions of German Leadership

Irish National Identity and Germany as a “Significant Other” during the Euro Crisis

in German Politics and Society
Charlotte GalpinPolitical Science and International Studies, University of Birmingham, UK

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This article examines perceptions of Germany in Ireland during the Euro crisis. It explores debates about a “normalization” of Germany's role in Europe and its European identity, calling for a focus on external perceptions of Germany as key to understanding the extent to which Germany is viewed as “normal” from the outside. Through a presentation of findings from qualitative analysis of political speeches and newspaper articles, it shows that perceptions of Germany are filtered through discourses on Irish national identity that place Irish economic interests and national sovereignty at the heart of Irish engagement in the EU. Whereas Irish leaders argue in favor of further integration as a means to regain economic sovereignty, opposition actors and the conservative press see Germany as exercising economic control of Europe. The Irish case demonstrates that Germany's past continues to shape the way in which its leadership in Europe is perceived from the outside.

Contributor Notes

Charlotte Galpin is a Lecturer in German and European Politics in the Department of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Birmingham. Her research interests include European identities, EU citizenship, the European public sphere, and Euroskepticism. Recent publications include The Euro Crisis and European Identities: Political and Media Discourse in Germany, Ireland and Poland (2017), “Participatory Populism: Online Discussion Forums on Mainstream News Sites during the 2014 European Parliament Election,” co-authored with Hans-Jörg Trenz (Journalism Practice, 2019), and “Marching for Europe? Enacting European Citizenship as Justice during Brexit,” co-authored with Verena K. Brändle and Hans-Jörg Trenz (Citizenship Studies, 2018).

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