EXPERIENCING EUROPEAN INTEGRATION
TRANSNATIONAL LIVES AND EUROPEAN IDENTITY
By Theresa Kuhn
Oxford University Press, 2015
WINNER OF THE UACES BEST BOOK PRIZE 2016
European integration has generated a wide array of economic, political, and social opportunities beyond the nation state. European citizens are free to obtain their academic degree in Germany, earn their money in London, invest it in Luxembourg and retire to Spain. An early theorist of European integration, Karl Deutsch expected this development to spur a collective identity and public support for European integration: by interacting across borders, Europeans would become cognizant of their shared values and beliefs, and eventually adopt a common ‘we-feeling’.
The book puts these expectations under scrutiny by developing a comprehensive theoretical model for understanding who are the transnationally active Europeans, and how their transnationalism relates to orientations towards European integration. The main argument is that there is a significant relationship between individual transnationalism and EU support at the individual level, but that transactions are (1) socially stratified, (2) their effectiveness is dependent on their purpose and scope, and (3) they can foment negative externalities among Europeans who are not transnationally active themselves. An extensive analysis of survey data covering the 27 EU member states provides a thorough empirical test of transactionalist hypotheses.