Looking for the Way Out

The Attribution of Treatment Responsibility among Greek and German Actors in the Eurozone Crisis Debate

in German Politics and Society
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  • 1 Empirical Social Research, Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation, Germany
  • 2 Sociology, German Center for Integration and Migration Research (DeZIM-Institute) and Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
  • 3 Sociology, University of Crete, Greece
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Abstract

In times of crisis, the attribution of responsibility is at the core of public debates. Next to the question of blame, collective interpretations of who should impose remedies are contested. In the Eurozone crisis, Germany was an obvious addressee for this attribution of “treatment responsibility.” After years of relative reluctance, Germany had occupied a new role as it strongly pressured for harsh austerity in Greece and other crisis-hit countries. This article explores the public attribution of treatment responsibility among Greek and German actors in the Eurozone crisis debate. Based on a systematic content analysis of German and Greek newspapers as well as Reuters news reports between 2009 to 2016, we find a surprising absence of German actors as attribution addressees in Greece. Despite Germany's dominant role in the Eurozone crisis, Greek actors stress the responsibility of their own government (and that of eu actors) to act upon the crisis. In the German debate, Greek addressees are one category among many in a strongly Europeanized debate.

Contributor Notes

Jochen Roose is a Researcher in the Department for Electoral and Social Research of the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation. He was granted a doctoral degree and a habiliation at the Freie Universität Berlin. He held professorships at the Freie Universität Berlin, the University of Hamburg, and the University of Wrocław. His research focuses on research methods and political sociology, particularly elections, social movements, and political attitudes concerning a wide array of fields and issues. Publications can be found at www.jochenroose.de.

Moritz Sommer is a Researcher at the German Center for Integration and Migration Research (DeZIM-Institute) and a Board Member of the Institute for Social Movement Research in Berlin. He is currently finishing his PhD, “Blame Shifting and the Politicization of the Eurozone Crisis in Germany, Greece and Spain,” at the Institute of Sociology at Freie Universität Berlin. His research focuses on social movements and protest as well as on societal polarization in Germany and Europe.

Maria Kousis received her PhD from the University of Michigan in 1984. She is a Professor of Sociology (Development and Environment) and Director of the University of Crete Research Centre for the Humanities, the Social and Education Sciences (ucrc). Her publications consist of 14 edited volumes, books, and special issues, as well as more than 70 articles and book chapters. Her recent research was carried out in the context of the ggcrisi (Greek-German Ministries Cooperation), livewhat (FP7), TransSOL (H2020) and euryka (H2020) projects.

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