Citizens’ Reactions to European Integration Compared

Citizens’ Reactions to European Integration Compared Overlooking Europe

Edited by Sophie Duchesne, Elizabeth Frazer, Florence Haegel (researcher at CEE) and Virginie Van Ingelgom

Palgrave Macmillan, jan.2013

What do citizens say about Europe? Before the crisis of 2008 citizens in Britain, France and Francophone Belgium were ‘overlooking’ Europe by ignoring it in favour of globalisation, economic flows, and crises of political corruption. Innovative focus group methods allow analysis of the nature of their reactions and positions, and demonstrate how euroscepticism is a red herring. Instead they articulate indifference to and ambivalence about Europe contrasting with activists who engage in conflict about European issues. The analysis shows national and social differences. French projection contrasts with British exteriorisation and Belgian incorporation. The social gap is not a matter of deficits: workers have real arguments about issues close to home while managers show more concern about European politics.This book is part of the qualitative turn in European studies and both complements and challenges established knowledge on European attitudes.

Some review

‘In a field replete with studies of citizen’s views of the EU, Overlooking Europe stands alone for the originality of its focus group approach, providing new insights into how Europeans from different member-states look at and, indeed, ‘overlook’ Europe—differently. The book explodes many of the received assumptions about European citizens—whether as increasingly pro-European or Eurosceptic—to show that mostly they simply don’t know, and very often don’t care. Overlooking Europe, in brief, is a book that should not be overlooked.’
Vivien A. Schmidt is Jean Monnet Professor of European Integration and Director of the Center for the Study of Europe, Boston University.

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