Keeping the European Faith: Collective Identity before and after the Euro-Crisis

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Ettore Recchi, Justyna Salamońska (European University Institute) : « Keeping the European Faith: Collective Identity before and after the Euro-Crisis » PaCo Partecipazione E Conflitto (The Open Journal of Sociopolitical Studies), vol. 7, n° 3, special issue New Directions in Political Sociology, p. 510-531.

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Media discourses have conveyed the message that European identity has been severely un-dermined by the Euro-crisis. We test this contention with Eurobarometer data. Conceptually we distin-guish two dimensions of collective identity: ‘image’ and ’belonging’. We surmise that economic downturns can alter the superficial layer of identity (image-like assessments), but not its underlying substance (be-longing-like assessments) which depends on deeply ingrained socio-psychological mechanisms. These two dimensions are expected to be affected by the crisis in different ways: the image being a more volatile re-flection of historical circumstances, and the sense of belonging being more stable over time.
We find that the Euro-crisis damaged the EU image especially in the countries most affected by the eco-nomic downturn and among the unemployed, while declarations of ‘belonging’ remained relatively con-stant. Contrary to what is frequently said, the core component of the European identity of EU citizens was largely unaffected by the Euro-crisis.


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