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Transnational Practices and European Identity: From Theoretical to Policy Issues

[working paper]

Recchi, Ettore

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Abstract This brief paper locates the EUCROSS project within the field of studies on European identity, sharpens its theoretical underpinnings and outlines policy scenarios in line with its general hypotheses. In the broad literature on European identity, a basic distinction between speculative research on civilisational identities and empirical social science research on collective identifications must be drawn. Focusing on the latter, to which the EUCROSS project belongs, it is argued that there are two distinct logics underlying existing inquiries. These are grounded in models of collective identity formation that stress either cultural messages inscribed in discursive processes or practices situated in socio-spatial relations. They are called respectively, the ‘culturalist’ and the ‘structuralist’ models of identification. The first one considers identity as a direct outcome of the exposure to content-specific messages; the second, as an emerging property of socio-spatial interactions that are content-free of identity references. The EUCROSS project adopts and advances the second and less developed research tradition which studies the effects of transnational practices on European identification. This paper discusses the potential of this approach from a policy-oriented perspective. In this last respect, it is held that the culturalist model encourages the development of narratives ‘selling’ the Union to its citizens, while the structuralist model suggests a content-neutral emphasis on the facilitation of cross-border practices.
Keywords EU; European integration; transnationalization; transnationality; globalization; cosmopolitanism; european identity; identification; mobility; migration; Europeanization; everyday life; cultural identity; collective identity
Classification Cultural Sociology, Sociology of Art, Sociology of Literature
Free Keywords EUCROSS; cross-border mobility; cross-border practices; cross-border transactions; collective identification; virtual mobility; everyday transnationalism; culturalist identification model; structuralist identification model; socio-spatial interactions
Document language English
Publication Year 2012
Page/Pages 12 p.
Series EUCROSS Working Paper, 3
Status Published Version; not reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications