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The Formation Of European Identity: Utilitarian Selection And System Construction

Posted on:2009-07-23Degree:DoctorType:Dissertation
Country:ChinaCandidate:Y P FanFull Text:PDF
GTID:1116360245458524Subject:International politics
Abstract/Summary:PDF Full Text Request
This paper aims to find out the most fundamental factors that affect the formation of European identity, by which the author means a self-identification of individual citizens of the EU member states with this supranational entity. Following a comprehensive and critical review of the main approaches which try to explain the formation of European identity, i.e. the essentialist, rational choice, functionalist, social-psychological, and social-constructivist approaches, it is pointed out that, to various extent, all the approaches mentioned above have neglected the role of institutions. Bearing this in mind, and based on the neo-institutionalism in the discipline of political science, the author establishes his own theoretical framework and puts forward a hypothesis for the analysis: what matter most in the shaping of a European identity are the factors of rational choice and institutional construction. While the former contributes a lot to the formation prior to the signing of the Maastricht Treaty which paved the way for political integration, the latter is becoming more important afterwards. This hypothesis is being examined with statistical analyses on the Eurobarometer Trend File Database, as well as analyses on historical and comparative political facts. The empirical part of this paper can be divided into three parts.(1) The essentialism, albeit the most popular and well-received approach, has been given a critical examination. Its classical narrative model, regarding particular essentialist, or naturalist, factors, e.g. the common cultural origins in Hebraic-Hellenic history, the experience of a once unified Continent, and the existence of the Christendom, as the major cause for the emergence of a European identity. However, it is contended by the author in a critical historical retrospection that all these so called European characteristics lie in no realities but only in mythological ideas, that have been constructed and reconstructed again and again in later histories.(2) With the essentialist factors controlled, the other five approaches are further explored respectively. The findings are as follows: there is no doubt that the rational choice of an individual motivated by utilitarian calculations does lead to a formation of the identity; However, the core variable of functionalist approach, efficiency of governance, is not fundamental, but reflects indirectly the effects of both rational choice and institutions; Similarly, the social-psychological factor should also be regarded as an intermediary variable between benefit factors and the dependent variable; the core variable of social constructivism, i.e. the social exchanges, are facilitated by various institutions and thus reflects the influences of institutional factors; Finally, brief review of the historical development of integration process shows that the EU institutions play a central role in the construction of European identity.(3) Comparative statistical analyses between rational choice and institutionalist factors are conducted lastly. The results demonstrate that, under the condition of political participation, both are fundamental ones. Nonetheless, during the pre-Maastricht period, the former's effect are powerful, while the latter's are becoming more prominent since ratification of the TEU. Thus the hypothesis proposed in this paper is conclusively proved.
Keywords/Search Tags:European identity, Formation, Rational choice, Neo-institutionalism, Eurobarometer
PDF Full Text Request
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