University of Tasmania
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One equal eternity : from ethnic to civic identity : the European experience

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posted on 2023-05-26, 23:36 authored by Grover, AB
This study examines the nature and evolution of European supranationalism and its relationship to European identity formation, together with the factors promoting and inhibiting the development of such an identity. The central proposition of the study is that there exist certain conditions for the emergence of an European identity. This identity is developing, in accordance with a 'civic' model based on a common sense of European belonging rooted in constitutionalism, participative citizenship, civil and humanitarian rights and shared democratic institutions. The question of how political communities, increasingly ethnically heterogeneous, socially fragmented and territorially dispersed, yet institutionally and functionally linked, can aid a common consciousness and a sense of identity is addressed. This work predicates that there is a relationship between supranational institutional development and the development of European identity. It explores how supranational institutions developed within post-war Europe and demonstrates how such institutions affect communal European identity formation. The study establishes that in common with the historical experience of European state formation in early modernity, that enlarged polities are closely and causally linked to the rise of broad identification amongst their named populations. We demonstrate that as European supranational institutions have become politically and socially entrenched that the appropriate conditions for the creation of European identity have emerged. Such an identity, necessarily civic in nature, is inclusive of, and sympathetic to, the diverse range of pre-existing European ethnonational identifications. The study utilises an analytical framework which allows for the examination of European identification from a variety of perspectives. Utilising a typology of communal identity synthesised from sociology, social psychology and political science the study demonstrates that communal identity is a multdimentional phenomena. It is made up not only of shared feeling of community and belonging, but is further exhibited in collective self-description, shared values, collective attachment to common symbols, common actions and a common cognitive boundary separating `us' from the 'other'. The study demonstrates that there is a viable European identity. It finds that such an identity exists concurrently with pre-existing national, regional and local identities. European identity is found to exist, in part, as a result of the institutional recognition and securing of such pre-existent identities. The study concludes that it is from the construction of a dense and socially inclusive European civil society that European identity emerges.


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Copyright 2001 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 2001.

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