The EU as a human rights promoter? An analysis of the representation of LGBTI rights in EU discourse
Abstract: The European Union and human rights, LGBTI rights included, are often considered to be closely interconnected. This seemingly straightforward image is, however, more complex than it might seem. LGBTI rights occupy a rather slim part of EU legislation, and Member States are not on the same page regarding the issue. Against this backdrop, this thesis aims to bring more clarity to the intersection between the EU and LGBTI rights, by investigating how these rights are represented in EU discourse. By conducting a poststructuralist and policy theoretical discourse analysis, based on Carol Bacchi’s methodology ”What is the Problem Represented to Be?”, the study qualitatively analyzes five policy documents covering LGBTI rights. This is done through the lens of two discourses; the Europeanness discourse and the Minority rights discourse. The study reveals signs of both discourses in the material under study, thereby concluding that the EU represents LGBTI rights ambiguously. In this way, the study nuances the image of the EU as an unequivocal promoter of LGBTI rights. Furthermore, the discourses are shown to come with potential issues for rights promotion, thereby emphasizing the importance of revealing and critically examining them. In this context, the study to a certain extent also concretizes how the relationship between the EU and LGBTI rights is complex.
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