A community text pattern in the European commission press release? A generic and genetic view

Maria Lindholm


This contribution is concerned with press releases from the European Commission and national ministries. Political press releases may serve other purposes than those issued by business organisations, and they are also a fairly unexplored field in press release research, which this study sets out to remedy. The linguistic dimension of EU communication is also a neglected field of study, and this paper is aimed at introducing the linguistic dimension of the European Commission communication as a field of study worthy of closer examination. Within a genre-based analytical framework, the present paper aims at examining to what extent we can identify a unique community text pattern in European Commission press releases. I propose a macrostructural text analysis in which I compare a number of press releases issued by the European Commission with national equivalents from French and Swedish ministries. In particular, I will focus on three recurrent and characteristic text features of the European Commission press release, viz. the introduction, the quotation and the intertextual references. It is shown that the way they are designed in the European Commission press release is quite special and that this can be explained with reference to the communicative situation of the European Commission. In doing so, I will be drawing on ethnographic data that I gathered from fieldwork at the European Commission.<<<It will be suggested that the results from this study can be extrapolated to the study of press releases in general. That is, press release research may benefit from the genre-based methodological approach chosen here, since, indeed, the press release is a situated practice whose understanding depends on a comprehensive study of the communicative situations it functions within.

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