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Waiting for a European Identity... Reflections on the process of identification with Europe

Abstract : This article questions the introduction, in the mid-90‟s, of the concept of European identity for the analysis of citizens‟ attitudes toward European integration. It argues that this notion was imported from social psychology without appropriate theoretical adaptation to the political democratic nature of the social group that a European polity would be. As a consequence, the current notion of European identity does not contribute very much to an understanding of the long standing national and social differences of citizens‟ attitude toward the EU. The paper argues that for the time being, the identification process with a work-in-progress European polity should be conceived following three principles: European identity refers to a democratic community, that is, a special kind of social group whose vocation is self government. Thus the link between citizens matters as much as differentiation with the others. Second, European identity is very definitively a work in progress. Lastly, it is developing in industrial societies, characterised by growing individualism but also remaining strong national identities. Building on Tilly‟s concept of identity and major works on national identity, this chapter suggest a concept of identification with Europe that acknowledges the complexity of competitive processes at stake in identity change.
Keywords : European identity
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Submitted on : Tuesday, July 9, 2013 - 5:02:26 PM
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Sophie Duchesne. Waiting for a European Identity... Reflections on the process of identification with Europe. Perspectives on European Politics and Society, Taylor & Francis (Routledge): SSH Titles, 2008, 9 (4), pp.397-410. ⟨hal-01022590v1⟩

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