National Homogeneity in European Economic Cultures
Institute of Sociology University of Heidelberg Heidelberg, Germany
The overarching context for the paper is the question, whether national cultures are internally homogeneous. However, the paper will address this question only in a limited way, namely: ?In how far are national cultures homogeneous on the regional level.? Culture is defined in this context as values, norms and beliefs that are relatively stable over time and that are shared by a group (see Gerhards & Hoelscher 2005). The example for the study are ?Economic cultures in the enlarged European Union?. Following current debates in economic sociology (e.g. Granovetter & Swedberg 2001; Smelser & Swedberg 1994) a theoretically derived and empirically useful concept of ?economic culture? was developed.
The concept was operationalised on the basis of the European Values Study from 1999/2000. Using cluster and discriminant analysis, 29 European Union member and accession countries were classified into three distinct economic cultures (Hoelscher 2006).
A reaggregation on the regional level (323 regions within 26 of these countries) shows an astonishing degree of homogeneity between regions of one country, despite huge differences in their economic situation. More than 90% of regions fall in the same cluster as their respective country.
The results will be discussed in relation to current debates on ?methodological nationalism? and ?European integration?.
Gerhards, J., & Hoelscher, M. (2005). Kulturelle Gemeinsamkeiten und Unterschiede in der erweiterten EU. Ein Vergleich zwischen den Mitgliedsländern, den Beitrittskandidaten und der Türkei. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.
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Hoelscher, M. (2006). Wirtschaftskulturen in der erweiterten EU. Die Einstellungen der Bürgerinnen und Bürger im europäischen Vergleich. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag.
Smelser, N. J., & Swedberg, R. (Eds.). (1994). The Handbook of Economic Sociology. Princeton (NJ) / New York: Princeton University Press / Russell Sage Foundation.