Speakers (European/Global Public Sphere)


  • Dennis Lichtenstein




speakers, transnationalization, public sphere, EU, European Union, spokesperson


In research on the transnationalization of the public sphere, speakers are coded in claim analysis (Adam, 2007; Koopmans & Statham, 2010) and in research on European identity (Lichtenstein & Eilders, 2015, 2019). Speakers are politicians, societal actors or journalists who are given voice in a news story. In claim analyses, a speaker directs, for instance, a thematic demand or decision towards another actor. In research on European identity, speakers address an EU frame in a news story. The variable “speaker” provides a broad categorization of the first or most important speaker in an article. He or she is more precisely classified using further variables which target the actors’ degree of organization, his or her country of origin and his or her more detailed function within the EU or other international institutions.


Field of application/theoretical foundation:

In research on the transnationalization of the public sphere, speakers are coded to measure interactions between countries (horizontal transnationalization) and to analyze the extent to which EU actors get a voice in the coverage of national media outlets (vertical transnationalization). They are also coded to analyze to which extent civil society actors are heard compared to politicians. The share of EU and international speakers differs between countries, media outlets, and policy fields. In research on European identity the variable additionally enables to differentiate between the kinds of speakers who are given a voice in the collective construction of European identity.


References/combination with other methods of data collection:

Content analyses that examine the claims of speakers in transnational public spheres has been combined with interview studies with journalists, politicians, and interest groups (Koopmans & Statham, 2010).


Example study:

Koopmans & Statham (2010)


Information on Koopmans & Statham, 2010

Authors: Ruud Koopmans, Paul Statham

Research question/research interest: Analysis of the visibility of the EU level in the transnational public sphere, the inclusiveness of public demands, and public contestation regarding EU decision making

Object of analysis: National quality newspapers, popular press, regional papers from seven countries

Timeframe of analysis: 1990–2002


Information about variable

Variable name/definition: speakers

“If a claim has more than one actor (e.g., a coalition), the following priority rules apply: 1) actors mentioned in the article as 'leaders', 'organizers', 'spokespersons', etc. have priority, unless, of course, they do not make any claims; 2) organizations, institutions or representatives thereof (e.g., 'National Organization of Peasants') have priority over unorganized collectivities or individuals (e.g., 'peasants', 'farmer X'); 3) active actors or speakers have priority over passive audiences/rank-and-file participants (e.g., if a party representative addresses a crowd at a peace rally, the party representative has priority). If there are several actors or no actor at all who have priority according to these three criteria, the order in which they are mentioned in the article decides (with, again, the main headline as the start of the article). If of one physical actor two functions are mentioned, the highest level capacity in terms of the scope variable (see below) is coded. E.g., if the article says “Portuguese prime minister and current Chair of the EU Presidency Guttierez” would be code as “EU presidency” even if Portuguese prime minister would be mentioned first. However, the precondition would be that the EU presidency function is really mentioned in the article - that you know that the Portuguese prime minister is present Chair of the Council is not decisive, it should be explicitly mentioned. (…) Only if two capacities are at the same scope level the rule is that the first mentioned is coded.”

(Haunss & Kohlmorgen, 2008, p. 18;

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/236346735_Codebook_for_the_Analysis_of_Political_Claims_in_Conflicts_on_Intellectual_Property_Rights_in_Europe; in Anlehnung an Koopmans, 2002)

Level of analysis: Claim

Scale level: Nominal

Reliability: 84%



Koopmans, R. & Statham, P. (2010) (Eds.). The Making of a European Public Sphere. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.



How to Cite

Lichtenstein, D. (2021). Speakers (European/Global Public Sphere). DOCA - Database of Variables for Content Analysis. https://doi.org/10.34778/2zk



News/Journalism: Variables for Content Analysis