The Changing Face of European Identity: A Seven-Nation Study of (Supra)National Attachments

The Changing Face of European Identity: A Seven-Nation Study of (Supra)National Attachments

The Changing Face of European Identity: A Seven-Nation Study of (Supra)National Attachments

The Changing Face of European Identity: A Seven-Nation Study of (Supra)National Attachments


Drawing upon systematic research using Q Methodology in seven countries - Denmark, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Netherlands and Sweden - this volume presents the results of the most extensive effort yet at cross-cultural, subjective assessment of national and supranational identity. The studies attempt to explain how the European Union, as the most visible experiment in mass national identity change in the contemporary world, influences how Europeans think about their political affiliations.


European integration will require a transformation of the way the average European thinks and acts.

(Charles Pentland 1973, p. 242)

A remarkable story is unfolding in Europe. It is a story well worth telling not only for the political and economic change that is taking place of an unprecedented scope and type, and which goes against the grain of so much history in Europe: who could have imagined a generation ago, for example, that Europeans would willingly give up their currencies? It is also remarkable for the comparatively slower, and thus more imperceptible, change that is happening in how Europeans feel about their individual nations and how they relate to them.

But it is also a story that is often not being told well because its narrative is hard to discern. This is partly because the lenses we use to examine international politics are too often distorted by preconceived notions of how people view their relationship with their nation.

The on-going construction of the European Union (EU), now accelerating into a future even more uncertain than before, and the role of that institution as a major agent of change on a massive scale in Europe, raises fundamental questions about the ability of people voluntarily to acquire new forms of identity with new political institutions. That is what this book is all about.

The researchers in this book scattered around seven different countries of Europe to carry out these studies: the United Kingdom (England, Scotland and Northern Ireland), Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden. We went to “the street” to find out what Europeans of all walks of life think: into homes, garages, businesses, farms, cafés. We went into local, national and European government offices. We talked with elites, from socialist members of the European Parliament to officials of the far-right National Front in France. But we also sought out common folks, from day laborers to the unemployed and the retired. So often what we encountered surprised us: an avowedly nationalist former French Foreign Legionnaire who expressed disdain for the anti-immigrant far-right party in France; a Protestant policeman, member of the Ulster Constabulary, who was comfortable . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.