National And European Identifications: A Dual Relationship

Abstract : Different authors show opposing results concerning the relationship between national and European identities. This article confirms empirically that identification with Europe is directly and yet paradoxically related to national identifications. It also shows that the relationship established between these two identifications has changed over the last two decades in a consistent way. The changes in this relationship are interpreted as a consequence of the dual process at stake when people identify with a territorially based community. The first process refers to the sociologically and politically determined individual disposition to feel like a member of a community rather than an isolated individual: it is cumulative as far as identification with nations and with Europe is concerned. The other dimension, on the contrary, is exclusive: it results from the sociological and political process of community building which is made easier by the delimitation of the community, and is hence fuelled by pointing out some significant "other" such as the European Union. These two processes interact in such a way that the relationship between the two levels of identification is often difficult to spot which explains why there is considerable debate on whether a strong sense of national identity leads the way to European identity or prevents it.
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André-Paul Frognier, Sophie Duchesne. National And European Identifications: A Dual Relationship. Comparative European Politics, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008, pp.143-168. ⟨hal-01022389⟩

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