N° 26, 2008/3 – Enchantment and Disenchantment among Europeans

PE26Enchantment and Disenchantment among Europeans

edited by Céline Belot, Christophe Bouillaud, 2008/3 (n°26)


Céline Belot, Christophe Bouillaud – Toward a Citizens’ European Community For an Emotional Approach

European studies have given a limited attention to the actual formation of a community at the grass roots between European citizens, concentrating themselves whether on the EU political system or on the loyalty of citizens towards the EU. Throughout this article, we defend the idea that, in a democratic scenario, any ulterior breakthroughs of European integration (in security and defence matters or on ‘Social Europe’ for example) call for the existence of such citizens’ community. According to David Easton’s theory on political systems, such a community partly derives from the existence of positive feelings which are able to link together citizens of different nationalities. Different methods, which are illustrated in the following articles, are mobilized to study the present state of these feelings of community between Europeans. On the whole and for the time being, they point out that most EU citizens nor consider one another as outright strangers, neither as outright fellow citizens. 


Annabelle Littoz-Monnet – Will individual attachments amongst EU citizens turn them into europeans? Mismatch between the EU institutional context and deliberative democracy

Through a closer examination of Habermas’s constitutional patriotism model, the paper disentangles the relationship between EU institutional developments, the possible unfolding of a European public sphere conceived by Habermas as the only source of legitimacy for binding decisions and as a necessary prerequisite for the development of a civic sense of belonging to the EU by European citizens, and the affective (or horizontal) relations among Europeans. Several dynamics are brought to light. First, it is clear that at the core of Habermas’s conception of supranational citizenship lies the unfolding of horizontal relations between Europeans, which is necessary to the functioning of the European public sphere that is central to Habermas’s model. However, if it is via the development of a vertical attachment, itself fostered by European policies aimed at the creation of a European identity, that affective relations among citizens can develop, how horizontal forms of integration among individuals can reciprocally feed into the identification of citizens with the EU project as a political entity is less clear. In particular, the paper argues that the EU’s institutional context is not conducive to the development of a deliberative form of democracy because institutions are structurally predetermined to filter public discussions in such a way that not all participants to the public debate feel equally represented by the political decisions that emerge. In such a context, even assuming that a genuine transnational public sphere gradually develops, citizens are unlikely to develop a sense of belonging to a genuine community of citizens.


Rosa Sanchez Salgado – European Transnational Projects: A Europeanizing Experience?

For over twenty years, the European Commission has been promoting the implementation of European transnational projects in several domains. This paper analyzes the effects of transnational projects dealing with employment and training opportunities on the perception of the European “Other.” Drawing on literature on Europeanization, we show that provided certain conditions are met, the promotion of regular exchanges through transnational projects has a significant impact. However, the same kind of European pressures do not necessarily lead to a single way of perceiving the European “Other.” This Europeanizing experience can thus lead to several results, and we present three possible scenarios: a multicultural identity, a European identity, and a post-national identity.


Caroline Maury – Do Europeans Have to Love Each Other to Collaborate? Two Cross-Border Cases. Two Cross-Border Examples

By comparing two cross-border cases, the paper examines why in the Perpignan case, cross-border policies are based on feelings whereas in the Mulhouse case, these policies are justified by economic development or land management without any mention of emotions between European neighbors. To explain this gap, the paper analyzes not only the definition of cross-border territories inserted in a complex multilevel scheme but also the use (or lack thereof) of emotions in the political management of these territories.


Denis Duez – Europe and Undocumented Migrants: Fear of the “Other” as a Factor for Integration

Having presented the role of fear in building the political community from a modern political theory perspective, the article highlights the role of fear of the Other in the history of European integration. The study draws attention to the more consensual nature of the fight against illegal migration compared to other issues such as terrorism and transnational organized crime. Thus, it underlines how undocumented migration has become a core issue in the context of the implementation of Europe’s Area of Freedom, Security and Justice. Furthermore, exploring Carl Schmitt’s “Friend-Enemy” distinction, the author suggests that the action towards illegal migration is not only an aspect of the European immigration and asylum policy but could also be seen as part of a broader and common European political discourse on insecurities that contributes to the strengthening of the European community.


Isabelle Guinaudeau, Astrid Kufer – From Organized Germans, Romantic Italians, and English Dandies to Christian, Wealthy, and Democratic Europeans. The Emotional Potential of National and European Stereotypes

This contribution deals with stereotypes as a potential vector of the construction of a European « we-feeling » by proposing a state of the art and inviting to reconsider stereotypes’ integrative potential. On the basis of a framework developed by social psychology, we propose hypotheses on the articulation between stereotypes and affects and on the possible contribution of stereotypes to affective bonds between Europeans. By crossing results of several empirical studies, we draw an illustrative map of European stereotypes and discuss their affective implications in the light of social psychology.


Sophie Duchesne, Virginie Van Ingelgom – French and (French-Speaking) Belgian Lack of Interest in Their European Neighbors: Another Piece of Evidence for the Case of the Missing European Political Community?

Starting from the asymmetry observed between the setting up of European citizenship and the persistent national identifications of Europeans, this paper addresses the question of the reciprocal feelings of Europeans for each other within the framework of a broader question about mechanisms for the formation of a European political community. In the medium term, could a degree of preference for other Europeans compensate for the fact that Europeans have little knowledge of, interest in, or attachment to their Union? The analysis is based on results from eight focus groups organized in Paris and Brussels using a moderation technique designed to foster the expression of disagreement between participants. Because they are conflictive, these discussions are characterized by their emotionality. We analyze the emotions shown by participants regarding other Europeans through three different but complementary techniques (interpretative analysis of the discussion dynamics, automatic content analysis, and manual codification). The analysis shows that if Europeans ‒ and more specifically West Europeans ‒ are discussed, this takes place without much display of emotion, thereby limiting support for the thesis of European preference. However, this also suggest that as far as the French and the (French-speaking) Belgians are concerned, West Europeans do not (or no longer?) belong to the “Other” category in the sense of people who contribute to self-definition, or the making of “us,” through differentiation. These findings will be interpreted differently by post-nationalists and by those who consider European integration to be a process similar to nation building in past centuries.


Bruno Cautrès – The More We Know, the More We Love: Laws of Elective Affinities between European Countries

Mutual trust among Europeans is a topic covered from its origin by the Eurobarometer series of surveys. Seminal works by Inglehart and Rabier showed that this mutual trust is an essential part of building of a European sense of “us” but also that it varies according to country. This sense of “us” is said by the academic literature to be an important aspect of diffuse support by citizens toward the EU. Unfortunately, few studies have been conducted on this question in the recent literature devoted to the analysis of the opinions of European citizens about Europe. Based on data from the most recent available Eurobarometer survey, this paper aims to show that sympathy felt for other European countries (the ex-EU-15) constitutes a good indicator of mutual trust and allows for an understanding of the historical, cultural, and territorial logics that underlie it. Elective affinity between groups of countries can also be uncovered from a geometric data analysis and from the use of gravity models proposed by political economics.


Albrecht Sonntag – Shared Passion and Ambiguous Identities: Contemporary Football and European Studies. The European Challenges of Contemporary Soccer

At the start of the 21st century, football represents a meaningful and relevant topic for the field of European studies, both in terms of European public policy following the increasing interest in all aspects of football governance shown by European institutions and as one of the continent’s most widely shared social practices, which contribute to shaping mutual perception patterns and creating affective bonds between Europeans. While the massive display of collective feelings of belonging triggered by each major competition seem to point toward a capacity for football to provoke feelings of aggressive nationalism, it appears that the behavior of the individuals who form the crowds of football supporters is more ambiguous than seems at first sight. This analysis allows us to formulate a set of hypotheses whereby football may be compared to an “identity crutch” that makes humanly understandable the very abstract distinction between cultural belonging (nationality) and political allegiance (citizenship) promoted by theorists of the “post-national constellation” (Habermas). It also allows individuals to develop an ironic attitude and adopt a critical distance toward their own national belonging and the social need to express it publicly. Finally, it constitutes a surprisingly pertinent illustration of the theory of “postmodern reflexivity” (Giddens) by allowing social agents to conduct a permanent revision of their social practices in the light of new findings about the very practices generated by the social sciences. As a passion shared by a very large number of individuals, football provides evidence of the contribution the study of popular culture in its broadest sense can make to a better understanding of affective bonds between Europeans and opens a series of interesting perspectives for future research.


Catherine Hoeffler – A Change in National Weapons Acquisition Policies and European Cooperation. The Case of the Tiger Helicopter and Trigat Missile Programs


Comptes rendus