Politics of collective belonging: loyalties in the European Union



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Texas A&M University


Why do some citizens of the European Union feel indeed European and others do not? Although the officials of the European Union introduced many symbols and discourses of unity, empirical studies show that the development of a sense of belonging at the popular level is slow. This dissertation, by drawing upon the established social identity theories, takes the investigation back to basics. It develops a model consisting of the basic premises of the identity theories as well as factors deriving from national and individual contexts that condition individual experiences relating to the aforementioned premises. Rather than developing new theories, this work's contribution to the study of European identity is that the study presents as complete a model as possible based on the existing theoretical frameworks as a cross-sectional analysis. Doing so, it unifies the disconnected literature on the issue within a consistent theoretical logic and cross-validates the patterns found in 15 countries through a large N multivariate analysis based on the Eurobarometer 2000. Results yield that social identity theories are confirmed in the case of European identity except for external demarcation principle.