Jiménez, Antonia M. Ruiz. (2004) Cultural, Instrumental, Civic and Symbolic Components of National and European Identities in Old and New European Union Member States. Jean Monnet/Robert Schuman Paper Series, Vol. 4 No. 9, October 2004. [Working Paper]
(From the introduction). In this article we empirically test three of the most significant theories about the emergence of a European identity (as a special case of trans-national or supra-national identity), paying special attention to the dimensions of cultural diversity that may conform it. Research into European identity has evolved recently in two quite different directions, with very limited contact between the two strands. (1) On the one hand, we find a number of theoretical and normative approaches which focus on the definition of the concept of European identity, but which have rarely been subjected to empirical testing with attitudinal data (Orchard 2002). On the other hand, there are a number of empirical approaches, mainly developed by sociologists and social psychologists, but which, most of the time, lack the necessary theoretical and methodological underpinning. (2) The analysis of European identity presented in this chapter cuts a middle path between these two dominant approaches to the subject. We introduce a number of existing theories about the potential emergence of a European identity and test them by using the most appropriate empirical data to answer the questions each poses. Our contribution to the field lies not, therefore, in the development of new theories or the presentation of unexpected empirical findings, but rather in the way this analysis empirically tests existing theories. Such a test is, of course, necessary if our knowledge of European identity is to go beyond the mere “history of a concept and a discourse” (Stråth 2002:288). Greatly simplifying existing theories about the emergence of a European identity, we have identified three main tendencies in the literature, distinguished by the different possible sources of European identification they defend. The three approaches considered here are: a “cultural” theory, which understands identities as being based on ethno-cultural factors generated through a long-term (historical) process; an “instrumental” theory, which conceives of identities as being based on self-interested calculation (whether economic or political); and “civic” theory, which understands identities as being based on agreement over rules for peaceful political co-existence.
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