Media and Communication Ph.D. Dissertations


The Rhetorical Uses of Multiculturalism: An Ideographic Analysis of the European Union and Macedonian Discourses in the Dialogue for EU Accession

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Communication Studies

First Advisor

Lara Lengel (Committee Co-Chair)

Second Advisor

Alberto Gonzalez (Committee Co-Chair)

Third Advisor

Ellen Gorsevski (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Simon Marc (Committee Member)


Inter-ethnic co-existence is critical for stability and democratic development of Macedonia, a country with European Union (EU) membership aspirations. This study examines discourses between the EU and Macedonia surrounding the concept of multiculturalism, which emerged from inter-ethnic conflict between Albanians, the largest ethnic minority in the nation, and Macedonians, the majority ethnic group. From the Ohrid Framework Agreement, which provides the main format for multiculturalism discourses, the study interrogates how multiculturalism is rhetorically constructed by EU representatives in their presentations to the Macedonia public, and by Albanian and Macedonian and officials of the Macedonian Government, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Prime Ministers Office for European Affairs, and the Vice Prime Minister representing the Albanian political party in government.

The study employs the ideographic analysis method of rhetorical criticism which is particularly constructive for interrogating concepts, such as multiculturalism, used by various parties engaged in negotiating conflict. As different ethnic groups in Macedonia have competing conceptualizations of multiculturalism, the study examines how the term is rhetorically constructed to the Macedonian public from outside the nation, and within by Macedonian and Albanian ethnic groups, particularly under conditions of warfare and EU and U.S. pressure. The study provides an understanding of how ideographs such as multiculturalism impact individual choices and ideological assumptions that shape patterns of cultural expression. It affords opportunities to identify hidden notions and possibilities in the constructions of multiculturalism while considering political, ethical, and social impacts on the people in Macedonia and their acceptance or rejection of this concept. The processes creating and sustaining ideology, and the interests represented in the ideology, must be discovered and understood in order to uncover oppressive power structures and to find opportunities enabling emancipation. The critical understanding of the rhetoric of multiculturalism and its conceptions by all stakeholders focuses upon a vital component in EU accession dialogue between Macedonia and the EU and, therefore, addresses a crucial precondition for achieving a functioning democratic society in Macedonia.