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Identity

  • Stefan Immerfall
  • Klaus Boehnke
  • Dirk Baier
Chapter

Abstract

An identity is to convey who one is and to whom one belongs. In the formation of the European Community and the European Union, questions of identity have always been a crucial issue. While it is certainly possible to support the European Union without having a European identity, the creation of a cohesive force in supranational and international relations necessitates a shared sense of community. This chapter analyzes how much self-concepts differ among Europeans and in comparison to non-Europeans. It gives an overview of public opinion concerning important EU issues and describes how Europeans feel about Europe and the European Union. It then presents an explanation how individual characteristics, attitudes, and self-concepts inform their attitudes toward Europe and European integration. The chapter shows that important prerequisites for constructing a European identity are not in place. The EU commands little loyalty in its own right. Affective affinity to an abstract idea of Europe is widespread but is too general to provide a collective self-description. As a consequence, people’s willingness to show solidarity throughout Europe and to accepting re-distribution policies can be expected to stay fragile.

Keywords

Member State Social Identity European Integration National Identity Interpersonal Trust 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Humanities DepartmentUniversity of Education at Schwäbisch GmündSchwäbisch GmündGermany
  2. 2.Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS)Jacobs University BremenBremenGermany
  3. 3.Criminological Research Institute of Lower SaxonyHannoverGermany

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