Public Discourses about Muslims and Islam in Europe
GB : SAGE Publications
131 - 146 p.
This article presents an overview of public discourse about Muslims in Europe, following work conducted between 2009 and 2012 by a consortium of six European research teams based in Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland (EURISLAM project, funded under the EU FP7). In so doing, the article introduces a number of themes that are tackled in other articles of the same special issue. The attention is focused on the more informal understandings that resonate in majority-oriented public discourses in order to provide a more comprehensive picture of the different ways of framing and contesting the position of Islam is in the public space. The article calls for advancing the diachronic study of the public space so as to offer a long-term appraisal of the public debates beyond the punctuated most dramatic and spectacular happenings in the field of Islam. Through political claims analysis, a systematic cross-national information is produced on the main elements of claim making, namely, the claimant, the form, the issue, and the object. Crucial information is also coded on the position towards the object with the aim of detecting which actors intervene more explicitly in favour or against the interests of Muslims.