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National identity and support for European integration

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  • Marks, Gary
  • Hooghe, Liesbet
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    Abstract

    This paper takes up the familiar question of how one can explain support for European integration. One line of explanation builds on trade theory to theorize a calculus of economic costs and benefits. A second explanation draws on cognitive and social psychology to assess how individuals use political cues - grounded in ideology or elite communication - as a guide to complex issues. A third line draws on the psychology of group membership to consider how group identities, above all, national identities, bear on support for European integration. We use multi-level analysis to evaluate these explanations, and we conclude that perceptions of national identity are by far most powerful in structuring views on European integration. We find that the particular perception of national identity matters, as well as how identity is mobilized in national contexts. Thus, while strong national identity is consistent with support for European integration, exclusive national identity is a powerful brake on support. The effect of exclusive national identity varies across countries. It is strongest in countries where referenda on European integration have taken place. Referenda exacerbate conflicts within and among elites and empower single-issue anti-European protest movements, and this mobilizes exclusive national identity in an anti-European direction. -- Der vorliegende Beitrag befasst sich mit der bekannten Frage, wie sich die Unterstützung für die europäische Integration erklären lässt. Ein Erklärungsstrang stützt sich auf die Handelstheorie und zieht theoretische Schlüsse aus einer wirtschaftlichen Kosten-Nutzen- Analyse. Ein anderer Erklärungsansatz basiert auf der kognitiven Psychologie und der Sozialpsychologie und untersucht, wie sich Individuen in komplexen Themenfeldern an politischen Voreinstellungen orientieren, die sie aus Weltanschauungen oder Elitendiskursen gewinnen. Ein dritter Ansatz geht von der Gruppenpsychologie aus und fragt danach, wie sich Gruppenidentitäten, vor allem nationale Identitäten, auf die Unterstützung für die europäische Integration auswirken. Wir evaluieren diese Erklärungsansätze mit Hilfe der Mehrebenenanalyse und kommen zu dem Ergebnis, dass unterschiedliche Vorstellungen von nationaler Identität mit Abstand die stärkste Auswirkung auf Einstellungen zur europäischen Integration haben. Die individuelle Auffassung von nationaler Identität spielt dabei genau so eine Rolle wie die Bedeutung, die nationaler Identität im nationalen Kontext beigemessen wird. Während eine starke nationale Identität mit der Unterstützung der Europäischen Union einher geht, wirkt sich eine ausschließlich nationale Identität stark bremsend auf die Unterstützung aus. Der Einfluss ausschließlich nationaler Identität variiert von Land zu Land. Am stärksten ist er in den Ländern ausgeprägt, in denen Referenden zur europäischen Integration stattgefunden haben. Referenden verschärfen Konflikte innerhalb der und zwischen den Eliten und stärken monothematische, antieuropäische Protestbewegungen. Das wiederum mobilisiert ausschließlich nationale Identitätsgefühle, die sich gegen die europäische Integration richten.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Democracy and Democratization with number SP IV 2003-202.

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    Date of creation: 2003
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbdsc:spiv2003202

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    1. Kenneth Scheve & Matthew Slaughter, 2002. "Economic Insecurity and the Globalization of Production," NBER Working Papers 9339, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Eichenberg, Richard C. & Dalton, Russell J., 1993. "Europeans and the European Community: the dynamics of public support for European integration," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 47(04), pages 507-534, September.
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    7. Brigid Laffan, 1996. "The Politics of Identity and Political Order in Europe," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(1), pages 81-102, 03.
    8. Scharpf, Fritz W., 2000. "The viability of advanced welfare states in the international economy. Vulnerabilities and options," European Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(03), pages 399-425, July.
    9. Ernest Gnan & Peter Egger & Morten Balling, 2013. "Introduction," Chapters in SUERF Studies, SUERF - The European Money and Finance Forum.
    10. MARK FRANKLIN & MICHAEL MARSH & LAUREN McLAREN, 1994. "Uncorking the Bottle: Popular Opposition to European Unification in the Wake of Maastricht," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(4), pages 455-472, December.
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