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Individual Affiliation to the Political Community “Europe�? and the Role of Institutions and Modernization

Presented by Markus Hadler (University of Graz, Austria)

The analyses presented in this talk are part of a larger research project that deals with the influence of institutional settings and modernization processes on individual attitudes and behaviors. In this talk I will focus on the affiliation to a particular political unity, namely the European Union.

For a long time, the political community was more or less congruent with the fellow citizens of the nation-state. But, during the last decades the European Union has expanded enormously and comprises nowadays 25 member states. From the institutional point of view, the European Union can also be considered as an institution which promotes itself and tries to create a European consciousness. For instance, the introduction of the common currency, the Euro, can be seen as an effort to create a European identity. It, thus, can be expected that the subjective affiliation to the European political community will become stronger with the expansion of the European Union. Furthermore, it can be assumed that the longer a country is a member of the EU, or the farther negotiations about a joining are, and the denser the intersection with the EU, the higher will be the affiliation to the European Political Community of its citizens.

Modernization and socioeconomic progress can also be related to the subjective affiliation to and the perception of a political community. Here it is asserted that within less affluent societies higher rates of national pride can be found. Inhabitants of affluent nations also prefer functional-communicative aspects of national identity while those of less affluent societies prefer traditional aspects.

This talk shall highlight the complex interactions of individual attitudes and features of the social context. Furthermore, the effects of institutional settings and modernization factors will be contrasted.