Framing Europe: Attitudes to European Integration in Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom

Overview

"This book is a scholarly tour de force. There is nothing comparable that I know of. The richness of the data is unsurpassed, and the contextual knowledge of Spain, Germany, and Britain is superb. The book is logically organized, and the writing is clear. It is what scholarship should be all about but only rarely is these days: careful, in-depth work on an important question, displaying an intellect in full control of the material."—Peter Katzenstein, Cornell University, author of Tamed Power: Germany in Europe

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Overview

"This book is a scholarly tour de force. There is nothing comparable that I know of. The richness of the data is unsurpassed, and the contextual knowledge of Spain, Germany, and Britain is superb. The book is logically organized, and the writing is clear. It is what scholarship should be all about but only rarely is these days: careful, in-depth work on an important question, displaying an intellect in full control of the material."—Peter Katzenstein, Cornell University, author of Tamed Power: Germany in Europe

"This is a genuinely groundbreaking work. It is to my knowledge the very first study by a comparative historical sociologist of contemporary attitudes to European integration in different European nations. It is a serious, thorough, extensively researched project, remarkably at ease with the different national contexts, histories, and languages it handles. The field of European studies—where there is a feeble amount of good sociology on the subject—greatly needs this kind of work."—Adrian Favell, University of California, Los Angeles, author of Philosophies of Integration

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Editorial Reviews

European Legacy
Medrano has provided us with new and valuable insights into the EU and European integration—well written, close to his sources and data, employing an interesting analytical approach and design that links micro-level attitudes among European citizens to macrolevel processes.
— Stefan Hojelid
Perspectives on Politics - Andreas Sobisch
Without question a significant achievement. . . . Medrano's study constitutes a significant contribution to the literatures on European integration, political culture, and nationalism. It tells a compelling story of the construction of collective identities and of the myths upon which they are frequently based.
American Journal of Sociology - George Steinmetz
Framing Europe is an extremely significant book on an important topic: attitudes toward European integration in Great Britain, Spain, and Germany. It is impressive for its combination of ethnographic, interpretive, historical, and statistical methods and for its synthesis of a vast amount of material. . . . Framing Europe is an important intervention in the cultural sociology of politics. One can read it as an argument about the way political resentations result from other representations in complexly overdetermined historical conjunctures.
European Legacy - Stefan Hojelid
Medrano has provided us with new and valuable insights into the EU and European integration—well written, close to his sources and data, employing an interesting analytical approach and design that links micro-level attitudes among European citizens to macrolevel processes.
From the Publisher
"By explaining differential attitudes to European integration in terms of differences in national culture, Díez Medrano opens up the field of European integration studies to cultural and sociological inquiry."—Choice

"Without question a significant achievement. . . . Medrano's study constitutes a significant contribution to the literatures on European integration, political culture, and nationalism. It tells a compelling story of the construction of collective identities and of the myths upon which they are frequently based."—Andreas Sobisch, Perspectives on Politics

"Framing Europe is an extremely significant book on an important topic: attitudes toward European integration in Great Britain, Spain, and Germany. It is impressive for its combination of ethnographic, interpretive, historical, and statistical methods and for its synthesis of a vast amount of material. . . . Framing Europe is an important intervention in the cultural sociology of politics. One can read it as an argument about the way political resentations result from other representations in complexly overdetermined historical conjunctures."—George Steinmetz, American Journal of Sociology

"Medrano has provided us with new and valuable insights into the EU and European integration—well written, close to his sources and data, employing an interesting analytical approach and design that links micro-level attitudes among European citizens to macrolevel processes."—Stefan Hojelid, European Legacy

Choice
By explaining differential attitudes to European integration in terms of differences in national culture, Díez Medrano opens up the field of European integration studies to cultural and sociological inquiry.
American Journal of Sociology
Framing Europe is an extremely significant book on an important topic: attitudes toward European integration in Great Britain, Spain, and Germany. It is impressive for its combination of ethnographic, interpretive, historical, and statistical methods and for its synthesis of a vast amount of material. . . . Framing Europe is an important intervention in the cultural sociology of politics. One can read it as an argument about the way political resentations result from other representations in complexly overdetermined historical conjunctures.
— George Steinmetz
Perspectives on Politics
Without question a significant achievement. . . . Medrano's study constitutes a significant contribution to the literatures on European integration, political culture, and nationalism. It tells a compelling story of the construction of collective identities and of the myths upon which they are frequently based.
— Andreas Sobisch
Choice

By explaining differential attitudes to European integration in terms of differences in national culture, Díez Medrano opens up the field of European integration studies to cultural and sociological inquiry.
Perspectives on Politics

Without question a significant achievement. . . . Medrano's study constitutes a significant contribution to the literatures on European integration, political culture, and nationalism. It tells a compelling story of the construction of collective identities and of the myths upon which they are frequently based.
— Andreas Sobisch
American Journal of Sociology

Framing Europe is an extremely significant book on an important topic: attitudes toward European integration in Great Britain, Spain, and Germany. It is impressive for its combination of ethnographic, interpretive, historical, and statistical methods and for its synthesis of a vast amount of material. . . . Framing Europe is an important intervention in the cultural sociology of politics. One can read it as an argument about the way political resentations result from other representations in complexly overdetermined historical conjunctures.
— George Steinmetz
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691146508
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 1/24/2010
  • Series: Princeton Studies in Cultural Sociology Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author


Juan Díez Medrano is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of "Divided Nations: Class, Politics, and Nationalism in the Basque Country and Catalonia".
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Read an Excerpt

Framing Europe

Attitudes to European Integration in Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom
By Juan Díez Medrano

Princeton University Press

Juan Díez Medrano
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0691116113


Chapter One

INTRODUCTION

THE CIRCULATION OF the first euro coins and bills on January 1, 2002, was a milestone in the history of European integration, crowning a sixteen-year period of breathtaking institutional and political transformation. This transformation included the completion of the European single market, the adoption of a Social Charter, and the abolition of passport border controls through the Schengen Treaty. These changes and the way in which they have taken place are unique in the history of Europe, and the resulting polity represents a major challenge to the modern nation-state.

Just as interesting as this transformation is the fact that, except for the single market, the changes have not taken place in all European Union member states; and even then, they often have not occurred simultaneously within the affected states. Over the past sixteen years, the European Union has in fact become a polity with variable geometry. This unexpected shift in the institutional character of the European Union has resulted from political developments in countries that had traditionally shown suspicion toward the European Communities' supranational character.

In this study, we will look at how the attitudes of ordinary citizens and members of the local elites toward European integration are shaped by the histories and cultures of the countries and regions in which they live. In particular, we will listen to their words in interviews, uncovering the different ways in which they conceive of or "frame" European integration. The emergence of these conceptions will then be tracked down historically through analysis of the print media. Finally, they will be matched with the national and regional contexts in which they are rooted, as expressed particularly in high-school history books, in novels, and in public addresses by heads of state. I focus on three of the largest countries of the European Union, significantly distinguished from each other in their histories leading up to the beginning of European integration. By thus using "frame analysis," I hope, one can derive a better understanding of the different meanings European integration has for those in the member states of the European Union.

From European Communities to European Union

The European Union can be broadly conceived as a new form of supranational polity, which combines features of federal states and intergovernmental organizations. Its immediate achievements have included the removal of barriers to trade, the mobility of factors of production and the intensification of cooperation between member states, the implementation of a common currency, and the development of common legislation and standards in many areas.

Throughout the book, I use different names to refer to the European Union. These names correspond to the previous incarnations of what is in fact an evolving set of treaties and institutions. From the signing of the Treaty of Rome (1957) to the Merger Treaty (1965), these treaties and institutions were known as the European Communities. The communities were three: the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), created in 1951; the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), created in 1957; and the European Economic Community (EEC), created in 1958. The EEC was also known as the Common Market. With the merging of the executive councils of these three communities through the Merger Treaty, the European Communities became the European Community. Finally, the name European Union was coined after the signing of the Treaty of Maastricht (1992), partly to symbolize the broadening of the European integration agenda to two new areas: Foreign Affairs and Security, and Justice and Home Affairs.

The event that triggered the movement toward a European Union with variable geometry was the surprising rejection of the Maastricht Treaty by the Danish population in a referendum held in 1991. More than any other event in the history of the European Communities, the Danish referendum represented the people's triumphant entry onto center stage of the European integration process. Furthermore, it suddenly revealed that international differences in the degree of support for European integration, which had been known about for some time, were not a fluke, and had to be taken seriously. Indeed, the shockwaves of the Danish referendum motivated a referendum in France, decisively shaped the debate on the treaty in the United Kingdom, triggered heated political discussion around newly coined concepts such as "subsidiarity" and "democratic deficit," and eventually led to modifications of the treaty itself. As a result of the debates and political events that surrounded the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty, the United Kingdom only belatedly signed the Social Charter, and opted out of the Schengen Treaty. The United Kingdom, Denmark, and Sweden also opted out of the single currency. The transformation of the European Union into a polity with variable geometry and the significant role that public opinion played in these new developments provided the inspiration for this investigation. More than ever, the main cleavage in the European Union, the one determining the pace and character of European integration, is that between supporters of intergovernmental cooperation and supporters of supranational integration. No progress can be made toward understanding European integration without describing and explaining this stable cleavage.

Studying Attitudes toward European Integration

In the past, political scientists and international relations experts have treated preferences for different models of European integration as given, and the European Union as a case study for the explanation of consensus attainment in processes of interstate cooperation. This approach shows a questionable preference for the goal of developing a general theory of regional integration over that of explaining European unification in its singularity, a phenomenon of major historical significance. In contrast to this tradition, and more attuned to work in the field of comparative politics, this book concentrates on what is arguably the most significant factor in the explanation of the pace and institutional aspects of European integration: the divide between supporters of a supranational and an intergovernmental model of integration. My approach, however, distinguishes itself sharply from current practice in the field of comparative politics in two important ways. First, I focus on the general public rather than on elites. Second, the links I make between the micro-level of individual attitudes and macro-level processes result from a systematic application of analytical tools provided by the sociological literature on frames rather than from mere observation. What emerges is an explanation in which history and culture trump economics and geopolitics as the major forces behind European integration.

Problems in Analyzing International Contrasts in Public Support for European Integration

The study of European integration, explanations of its pace and character, and predictions about what sort of polity will in the end emerge must take into account two major facts: the existence of relatively constant differences in support for supranational arrangements in the countries that form the European Union, and the increasing role of public opinion in determining the course of European integration. In countries like Spain and Germany, for instance, both elite and public support for supranational solutions have been moderately high, whereas in countries like the United Kingdom the opposite has been true.

The divide between pro-integration and Eurosceptic countries contributes significantly to explaining the course of European integration and must be taken into account when making predictions about the future of the European Union. First of all, it explains why, despite general agreement on the need to cooperate in economic and political affairs, European states have taken so long to decide on the specific form-intergovernmental or supranational-of cooperation. Had there been consensus on whether to follow an intergovernmental or supranational path to integration, the European edifice would have been completed some time ago. Second, the divide explains why once the process of European integration began to impinge on core dimensions of sovereignty (e.g., the currency) it became almost impossible to agree on how to cooperate, and a multi-speed or variable-geometry Europe ensued. Finally, if the divide between pro-integration and Eurosceptic countries remains, a European state-encompassing the bulk of the countries of Europe and endowed with most of the trappings of modern states-will not come into being. A "federal" Europe will only be possible if a consensus on the need for supranational solutions develops among the member states of the European Union. To predict whether such a consensus will be reached in the near future, we must focus on the relative stability of levels of support for supranational solutions in the different countries that form the European Union and explain why support has traditionally been higher in some countries and lower in others. This task demands a method, a heuristic that will allow us to shift from people's preferred model of European integration to the micro and macro variables that explain these preferences.

The political science and the international relations literatures do not provide us with the tools needed to address these theoretical and methodological questions. Two reasons account for this inadequacy. First, international relations scholars have often treated country positions on the supranational-intergovernmental divide as given rather than as problematic in explanations of the outcome of cooperation games between European Union states.1 They have not asked, "Why are some countries more in favor of European integration than others?" or "Why are some countries in favor of or against transfers of sovereignty?" Instead, they have asked, "What structural conditions make cooperation agreements possible when national political elites have different agendas of European integration?" or, more generally, "What structural conditions make cooperation agreements about European integration possible?" Second, scholars who have focused on elite or public opinion attitudes toward different models of European integration use independent variables that do not account for international differences. Thus, while comparative political scientists have been prone to developing long lists of explanatory variables drawn from the observation of correlations between characteristics of the countries that are compared and the dominant attitudes toward European integration in these countries (I will illustrate this problem with respect to the British, German, and Spanish cases), survey researchers have failed to develop adequate statistical models to explain why support for a supranational model of European integration is greater in some countries than in others.2

Frames and Support for European Integration

The premise that inspires this book is that a correct understanding of international variation in support for European integration requires taking into account how people conceive of the process and the institutions involved. To determine how people frame European integration in different countries, explain international contrasts in these framing processes, and analyze the role of frames in explaining attitudes toward European integration, I undertook to design and conduct a comparative in-depth study of attitudes toward European integration in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Spain.3

The study of conceptualizations of the European Union and European integration connects this book to a multistranded sociological tradition that has emphasized that people's attitudes and behavior toward objects or problems depend on how they conceive of, frame, or represent them.4 One cannot assume, as does most of the literature, that everybody perceives the European integration process and the European Union in the same way. Some representations of the European Union are shared by everybody, across social and national locations. For instance, most people in the European Union conceive of the European Union as a large market. Other representations are more prevalent in specific social locations. Thus, farmers see the European Union through the lens of the Common Agricultural Policy more than do other social sectors. Still other representations are shared more by people with a particular ideological bent. Some leftist individuals, for instance, conceive of the European Union as yet another plot by monopoly capitalists to better exploit the labor force, whereas more conservative individuals think mainly of the economic advantages of a large single market. Finally, as I show in this book, some representations of the European Union are found more frequently in some countries than in others.

Frames thus vary across sociodemographic, political, and national groups, although they should not be interpreted in essentialist terms, as if a distinct frame corresponds to each group in the population. Frames sometimes distinguish groups from one another; at other times, they are equally prevalent across groups. This applies especially to international differences, the focus of this investigation. Because national states remain a key socialization agency and the bounded space within which individuals spend most of their lives, worldviews and thus framing processes differ across nations. State boundaries are permeable, however, and increasingly so because of globalization in the field of communications. Therefore, as I show in this book, some frames are equally prevalent across national states whereas others are not.5 It is the frames that distinguish the different countries that interest us most here, however, for they are the ones that contain the clues to the explanation of why support for European integration is stronger in some countries than in others. As I will demonstrate, these distinguishing frames reveal that concern for identity, status, and cultural change rather than for power and plain economic interest is the key to explaining international variation in support for European integration.

Frames mediate the effect of micro and macro sociological factors on people's attitudes toward European integration. As a heuristic device, the focus on frames is useful in a situation like the one researchers confront when studying attitudes toward European integration, in which extant theories have revealed themselves to be insufficient. By examining the frames concerning European integration, we can inductively improve our explanations of people's attitudes and of international variation in these attitudes. More important than this, however, is the information that frames provide about the macro-level forces that shape international contrasts in attitudes toward European integration.

Continues...


Excerpted from Framing Europe by Juan Díez Medrano Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures ix
List of Tables xi
Acknowledgments xiii
One
Introduction 1
PART I: FRAMES ON EUROPEAN INTEGRATION AND THE EUROPEAN UNION IN THE UNITED KINGDOM, GERMANY, AND SPAIN 19
Two
Ways of Seeing European Integration 21
Three
Good Reasons for and Attitudes toward European Integration 65
Four
Journalists and European Integration 106
PART II: NATIONAL CULTURES AND FRAMES ON EUROPEAN INTEGRATION 157
Five
Spain: Europe as a Mirror with Two Reflections 159
Six
West Germany: Between Self-Doubt and Pragmatism 179
Seven
East Germany: A Different Past, a Different Memory 200
Eight
The United Kingdom: Reluctant Europeans 214
Nine
Frames and Attitudes toward European Integration: A Statistical Validation 236
Ten
Conclusions 249
Appendix 1
Selection and Distribution of Respondents, and the Interviewing Process 263
Appendix 2
Newspaper Selection, Sampling, and Coding Procedures for Editorials and Opinion Pieces 267
Appendix 3
Frames on European Integration: A Discriminant Analysis, by City 270
Appendix 4
Sources for Part II: Novels, History Textbooks, and Head of State Addresses 271
Notes 277
References 299
Index 315

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Recipe

"This book is a scholarly tour de force. There is nothing comparable that I know of. The richness of the data is unsurpassed, and the contextual knowledge of Spain, Germany, and Britain is superb. The book is logically organized, and the writing is clear. It is what scholarship should be all about but only rarely is these days: careful, in-depth work on an important question, displaying an intellect in full control of the material."—Peter Katzenstein, Cornell University, author of Tamed Power: Germany in Europe

"This is a genuinely groundbreaking work. It is to my knowledge the very first study by a comparative historical sociologist of contemporary attitudes to European integration in different European nations. It is a serious, thorough, extensively researched project, remarkably at ease with the different national contexts, histories, and languages it handles. The field of European studies—where there is a feeble amount of good sociology on the subject—greatly needs this kind of work."—Adrian Favell, University of California, Los Angeles, author of Philosophies of Integration

Read More Show Less

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