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Citizen Perceptions of The European Union: The Impact of the EU Web Site By Talke Hop ...

Chapter 1:  Introduction
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Citizen Perceptions of The European Union:

Chapter 1

Introduction

1.1. Definitions and Aims

This study examined user perceptions of European Union (EU) institutions and compared them to perceptions that communicators within these institutions had of their users. As the term user indicates, the analysis was focused on the Internet, or more specifically, on EUROPA (www.europa.eu), the umbrella Web site representing all EU institutions. Studying, and eventually comparing, the images both users and communicators had about the respective ‘other’ can help to improve the interaction between them and show where the two sides do and do not meet. Perception and image are used interchangeably here. The Eurobarometer (EB) studies, for example, asked whether or not people had a positive image of the EU; in other words, how they perceived the EU. Attitudes are used to refer to a wider range of factors, and they are more closely linked to knowledge and opinions. This difference between what is being communicated and what is actually understood has been addressed under various names. Armstrong (2002) spoke of the need to ‘close the gap’ between citizens