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European and National Identity: Recent Survey Findings and Trends since the 1990s


Markus Hadler is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology, University of Graz, Austria, and currently Visiting Assistant Professor at the Forum on Contemporary Europe. He also is a member of the International Social Survey Programme (

His current research focuses on the political culture within Europe and the US. The main emphasis is placed on the interaction between macro level characteristics and individual attitudes and behavior. Here, a core research question is whether political attitudes are influenced stronger by modernization processes or by institutional settings. Other research topics are voting behavior, social inequality, mobility, and methods of empirical research. Most of his research is done in an international comparative view. For this purpose survey data are used and related to country characteristics by multilevel analyses.

Professor Hadler will present the paper, "Anatomy of Political Identity: Determinants of Local, National and European Identities 1995-2003", written by Markus Hadler, Kiyoteru Tsutsui and Lynny Chin. The paper examines how individuals' identification with different levels of collectivity varies across countries, groups and individuals within the

context of the expansion of the European Union (EU) since the 1990s.

Presentation abstract:

Europe's political landscape has changed dramatically during the last decades. Consider the breakdown of the communist system, the emergence of new states, and the ongoing integration and enlargement of the European Union (EU).

At an institutional and policy level, the EU's growth and increasing internal unification are without doubt. However, when it comes to individual attitudes, the acceptance of the integration is less clear ­as proven by the rejection of the EU constitution in the Netherlands and France.

This talk analyzes individual attitudes by using survey data spanning the period from the 1980s to 2006. Three common arguments with regard to the individual identification to Europe are discussed: Whether perceived benefits result in a stronger attachment; whether the ongoing integration results in a higher affiliation; and whether knowledge and education promote European identity.

The results show that changes in individual attitudes and the changes at the European level are only loosely coupled in the case of identity. Professor Hadler will discuss how sociological and social psychological explanations offer additional explanations and insights.