National and European Identity: The case of France
Title: National and European Identity: The case of France
Author: GUINAUDEAU, Isabelle
Citation: Dieter FUCHS and Hans-Dieter KLINGEMANN (eds), Cultural Diversity, European Identity and the Legitimacy of the EU, Cheltenham/Northampton, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2011, Studies in EU Reform and Enlargement, 123-142
There is no simple relationship between national and European identity. Identifications fluctuate over the course of time as well as between individuals and sub-groups within the same nation – elements which are too often hidden by figures aggregated at the country level. A historical review of French conceptions of national identity confirms that the often encountered description of France as a political type of nation is an oversimplification: in addition of the politically based conception, specific groups always defended a more culturally based conception of nation. However, the empirical analyses of the ISSP 2003 national identity survey indicate that the political definition of nation has indeed a much wider reception in France than the cultural definition. Another French specificity consists in the highly disseminated distribution of respondents as to the type of national identity. Linear regressions establish that only the cultural type of national identity tends to be negatively associated with a European identity. The fact that only a minority of French citizens appear to uphold a cultural national identity suggests that national identity alone cannot be held accountable for Euroscepticism in France.
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