Working paper Open Access

WP 5: Unity in diversity? European and national identities in respect to cultural diversity

Schlenker-Fischer, Andrea

The relationship between national and European identity is contested. Citizens differ widely in the extent of simultaneous identification with Europe and the nation. Specific ways to construct national identity might be more prone than others to allow for the simultaneous development of a European identity. The country context may influence threat perceptions and thereby the extent of dual identification. One threat exerted by European integration may come from Europe’s immense cultural diversity. This paper asks whether the national way of framing ‘us-them’ relations concerning intra-state ‘others’, such as cultural minorities and immigrants, influences the compatibility of identification on both levels. The analysis is based on a conceptual differentiation between different ways to frame national identity, namely an ethnic, republican, multi-cultural and liberal idealtype. These types are expected to trigger different consequences for the compatibility with a European identity, namely a nationalist, multi-national or post-national approach towards the European Union. This theoretical framework is empirically analysed with the help of Eurobarometer data from 1999 to 2009 in the 15 and later 27 member states. Attitudes towards cultural diversity and immigrants allow classifying the countries according to the dominant frame of national identity construction. The results are set in relation to the extent of dual identification in each member state and indeed show an interesting pattern. The more liberal countries show the highest compatibility of both identities, republican nations have mixed results, but also an ethnic national identity does not necessarily inhibit European identification.

+ Sprache: eng
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