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Citizens of Europe? The Emergence of a Mass European Identity

Michael Bruter|
Palgrave Macmillan (August 2005)

Citizens of Europe? explores the fascinating emergence of a new political identity in Europe. Using new comparative data, Michael Bruter's book looks at the emergence of a mass European identity between 1970 and 2000, at the way institutions and the media can 'shape' and influence political identities, and at the way Europeans speak about and perceive Europe. The volume makes four major contributions to the social science literature:

Firstly, using completely new evidence from mass surveys, the author shows the extent to which a new European identity has emerged across the fifteen 'old' member states of the European Union between 1970 and 2000. How 'European' do Europeans feel? How significant are differences across countries? Has European identity gone up over time and what has been the pattern of its evolution?

Secondly, the author looks at the impact of institutions, symbols, and the media on citizens' European identity, using a cross-country experimental design, which was run in the UK, France, and the Netherlands. Do symbols of the European Union - the common flag, Euro banknotes, and European anthem for example - make people feel more European? Does exposure to good and bad news on Europe influence people's European identity?

Thirdly, the book questions the way Europeans talk about Europe. How do citizens from Britain, the Netherlands, and France conceive and explain what it means to them (if anything at all) to feel European? Is Europe perceived as a threat? A new hope? A cultural family? A second citizenship?

Fourthly and finally, Michael Bruter looks at the interaction between European, national, and sub-national identities. Are they mutually exclusive - as often suggested by the mass media and some political parties - or can European and sub-European identities coexist? Do they threaten, reinforce, or change one another?

Altogether, Citizens of Europe? The Emergence of a Mass European Identity gives us an overview of how European identity has emerged in the past forty years, how it has affected the political self-definition of hundreds of millions of European citizens, and how it is likely to evolve and change the life of our continent in the next few decades.


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