Castano, Emanuele and Yzerbyt, Vincent. (1997) "Building a European identity". In: UNSPECIFIED, Seattle, WA. (Unpublished)
We investigated the issue of the European identity using a social-psychological point of view. Building on social identity theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1979), we conceive the European identity as one of the multiple social identities individuals borrow from their membership in social groups. Thus, we expect a positive correlation between the strength of this identification and the allocation of decisional-power to the European Union. Despite the fact that the European Union is by definition heterogeneous, we also expected a link between the level of identification with the European Union and the perception of homogeneity amongst European citizens. The results of a study testing these two main hypotheses as well as the idea that different levels of identities (European, national, and regional) are not necessarily in competition, are presented. Finally, we present recent theoretical developments in social identity theory and argue that a context-based conception of the European identity might better correspond to its phenomenology. Furthermore, we argue that such a conception allows us to look at the development of European identity as a project rather than as something that could or could not come out of the blue.
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