9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN32 Political Sociology

2009-09-05 11:00:00 2009-09-05 12:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 11:00 - 12:30 Europe, Europeanization and Civil Society Building I, 2E9

Transnationalized Europhiles and Localized Eurosceptics: Attitudes towards European Integration from a Sociological Perspective

This paper aims at explaining mass-level Euroscepticism by emphasizing the impact of globalization and European integration on the social structure of national societies. The integration process, both a response to, and a trigger of globalization, has not only thoroughly changed Europe's political landscape, but has also had a tremendous impact on people's everyday life. In fact, the fading away of national borders and the rise of a supra-national polity have given rise to a vast array of opportunities beyond the nation-state. However, these processes are not beneficial to everyone and thus provoke a new division between winners and losers of integration. In light of these transformations, mass-level Euroscepticism seems to be a corollary of the processes of globalization and regional integration rather than a mere instance of public discontent about politics in general. Thus, this paper aims at analyzing the interplay between macro-level transnationalization and individual transnational practices and its impact on attitudes towards European integration. More specifically, it hypothesizes that on the individual level, transnational interaction makes Europeans more prone to favor the integration process. In other words, the extent to which individuals are engaged in cross-border interaction and mobility is expected to determine their attitudes towards European integration. On the macro level, however, transnationalization is expected to create a polarization between pro- and anti- European attitudes. The more a country is enmeshed in transnational networks and interactions, the more pronounced is the polarization. Hence, localized individuals in highly globalized countries are deemed to be most critical towards European integration. These hypotheses are tested empirically in a multi-level analysis of public opinion data from the Eurobarometer survey 65.1 (2006).