ACTA : Model debate or wasted opportunity?
Summary, in English
Utilizing a poststructuralist discourse analysis, this thesis will investigate the development, composition and impact of the ACTA debate in Europe. Following Foucault's reasoning that discourses establish facts which tend to inform subsequent decision-making processes, it will be shown that this discussion was split in focus. Its division between the specific legislative proposal and the principal of copyrights roughly corresponded to the distinction between expert and public discourses whose reciprocal influence will also be considered. Comparatively analyzing two major daily newspapers each of two major Member States (i.e. Germany and the UK) will showcase how the public discourse developed. A subsequent analysis of the expert discourse, based on a number of interviews conducted with Brussels based authorities, will chronicle this development from an institutional point of view. Based on these findings, the protests against ACTA will be critically evaluated. It will be argued that they failed to realize an existing potential to have a more profound impact beyond the rejection of the specific agreement. The point being that no viable alternatives in ACTA’s place had been suggested, thus increasing the likelihood of similar advances to reemerge in the future. Despite the justified concerns regarding the agreement, protesting alone will not automatically result in better policies. After all, effective political decision making requires effort from both sides: political experts and the public.