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

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Chapter 1


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. This information reflects the fact that the frames' contents draw from the cultures in which they develop.

People approach the topic of European integration equipped with a cultural repertoire that tends to vary along sociodemographic, political, and national lines. This cultural repertoire includes, among other things, knowledge, habitus, stories, memories, and worldviews, upon which people draw more or less consciously when framing objects and problems.6 Scholars using the concept of culture in the context of discussions about frames have defined it in different ways. Zald defines it as "the shared belief system and understandings, mediated and constituted by symbols and language."7 Tarrow uses the concept of "ideational materials" to refer to the repertoire of symbols and images in a political culture.8 In turn, he defines "political culture" as those "points of concern about social and political relations, containing both system-supporting and oppositional elements."9 In this book, I use the concept of "cultural preoccupation" or, alternatively, Gamson's concept of "cultural theme," to encompass very general beliefs, symbols, and images as well as more concrete topics of discussion in a particular society.10 Part II of this book systematically examines the main cultural themes in Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom in the second half of the twentieth century, in order to show how they relate to the frames on European integration that have developed in these countries.

The framing scripts that can be drawn from a culture are almost infinite. But if culture matters in the generation of frames, it is because some cultural fields and features matter more than others. The literature suggests that dominant frames generally draw from the most salient elements in one's national political cultures.11 Snow and Benford, for instance, refer to the alignment of frames with belief systems and to a frame's narrative fidelity, that is, the extent to which "it rings true with extant beliefs, myths, folktales, and the like," as factors that determine the success of frames used by social movements to mobilize support.12 Meanwhile, for Gamson, "resonances increase the appeal of a frame by making it appear natural and more familiar."13 The same explanation for the resonance of frames used by social movements and the media among the population can be applied to the development of frames in general, and frames on European integration are no exception. As I demonstrate in this book, the frames on European integration that distinguish the British, German, and Spanish populations resonate with salient cultural preoccupations in their respective countries.

Beyond demonstrating that salient cultural themes are the main source of inspiration for dominant frames on European integration, this book builds on Gamson's distinction between themes and counterthemes to show that the power of a cultural theme in generating frames depends on the existence of powerful counterthemes. Cultural themes are those that are normative, and cultural counterthemes are those that are oppositional, that is, contrary to normative beliefs.14 Gamson presupposes, however, that for each theme there is an equally powerful countertheme, which is not always the case. This becomes clear in my examination of West German post-World War II political culture, which shows that three equally salient cultural themes have differed in the extent to which they have succeeded in shaping the frames on European integration that have developed in this part of Germany. I demonstrate that the cultural theme that resonates the most in the population's frames on European integration is one that has generated relatively little controversy over the years, that is, one for which there has not been a salient countertheme in post-World War II political culture.

In sum, frame analysis provides us with a powerful analytical tool to explain attitudes toward European integration. Frames link attitudes toward an object or problem to their structural and cultural causes, and contain encrypted information about these causes. The main goal of this investigation is to decode this information in order to better understand contrasts in support for European integration in Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

A Promising Comparison: The United Kingdom, Germany, and Spain

The scarcity and inadequacy of theories explaining international variation in support for European unification warrants the inductive approach outlined above. In turn, the exploratory nature of the endeavor and the need to systematically collect qualitative information on people's conceptions of European integration and the European Union, as well as on the cultures on which these conceptions rest, makes the comparative approach a suitable compromise between the case study generally favored by historians and the quantitative analysis of survey data for all the European Union's member states. This study focuses on three of the five largest countries and economies in the European Union, as of January, 2003. Large countries not only represent a greater proportion of the European Union's population, but also have more weight in determining the course of European integration. Taken together, the three countries examined in this book represent 48 percent of the population of the European Union and 32 percent of the votes at the European Union's Council of Ministers for decisions adopted by qualified majority.

The focus on large countries is also interesting from a theoretical viewpoint. If one moves from the field of European integration to that of peripheral nationalism, one learns that the effort by culturally distinct regions to loosen or break the ties with the states to which they belong has been greater in more developed than in less developed regions.15 This is because the leading classes of highly developed regions resent not having political power commensurate with their economic weight and having to subsidize poorer regions. The analogy of the European Union to that of a plurinational state would lead to the prediction that bigger states, especially the oldest ones, are less supportive of European integration than are smaller states, because of the reduction in formal sovereignty that it entails and the net budgetary transfers from rich to poor countries. If one takes the European Union's five largest states, however, it turns out that the "Overdevelopment Thesis" does not hold. With the exception of the United Kingdom, the European Union's biggest states have traditionally been solid supporters of membership in the European Union. If one takes, for instance, the running series of Eurobarometer surveys since 1973 and computes the average net support for membership in the European Union for those years in which the countries were members (percentage who find membership a good thing minus percentage who find membership a bad thing), West Germany ranks ninth out of sixteen (after distinguishing West from East Germany), East Germany ranks eleventh, France ranks eighth, Spain sixth, and Italy third (figure 1.1 shows trends in the six largest countries). The picture is slightly more consistent with Overdevelopment Theory if we just focus on the year 2000 (see table 1). In this year, West Germany ranked ninth, East Germany ranked twelfth, France tenth, Spain fourth, Italy eighth, and the United Kingdom fifteenth. Nonetheless, except for the United Kingdom, levels of support in the five biggest European Union states are still much higher than in some small countries like Austria, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland. In sum, an examination of large European Union states can thus help to clarify why Overdevelopment Theory, which has proven quite valuable for the understanding of peripheral nationalism, does not work so well in an emergent plurinational state structure like the European Union.

A third reason why the three-way comparison between Germany, the United Kingdom, and Spain is useful is that the three countries border with France, both the leading force behind the launching of plans toward European integration and the country that played the most important role in the development of these three countries' national identity.16 France indeed provided the political and cultural model that influenced the United Kingdom, Germany, and Spain in deciding between a West European and an alternative supranational identity (Imperial or Anglo-Saxon, Central European, or "Hispanic" respectively). Central to this book are then the following questions: How did the three countries solved their identity dilemma? What caused the solution they eventually adopted? What impact had this solution on subsequent levels of support for European integration?

Finally, this three-way comparison allows for controlling for variables that have been used with limited results in previous statistical analyses of survey data, and for variables that have been mentioned in discussions of support for European integration but whose import has not been seriously examined. The level of a country's wealth and the extent to which it depends on trade with the European Union belong to the former category, whereas relative geographic isolation, old statehood, and emotional ties to the populations of former colonies belong to the latter. The contrast between the United Kingdom and Germany--both wealthy countries and with relatively low levels of trade interdependence with the European Union but still showing very different levels of support for European integration--leads to the conclusion that other variables are at play in this category of countries.17 The contrast between Spain and the United Kingdom--both separated from the center of Europe by geographical obstacles (the Pyrenees and the Channel), very old and plurinational nation-states, and with strong emotional ties to the population of former colonies (Latin America and the Dominions), but at the same time very different in terms of support for European integration--suggests that the effects of geographic obstacles, old statehood, and emotional ties to former colonies are not very strong compared to those of other variables. In this book, I examine to what extent the difference in the British and Spanish levels of economic development explains this contrast, although the comparison between the United Kingdom and Germany already shows that more than rough contrasts in levels of economic development are at stake.

From Statistics to History: Accounts of Support for European Integration in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Spain

Along with quantitative studies, numerous articles and books have been published, written in an essayistic manner and focused on specific countries, which offer interpretations for the levels of support for European integration and for trends in these levels over time. The explanations that have been given for each of the countries can be grouped into several categories. Beginning with Spain, one can distinguish three main hypotheses for the relatively high levels of support. The most frequent argument is that Spaniards have supported membership in the European Union and European integration because they believe that it will contribute to Spain's economic and social modernization.18 Closely associated with this argument is the hypothesis that Spaniards support European integration because of the significant economic assistance Spain receives from the European Union.19 Álvarez-Miranda, after carefully comparing political debates in Spain, Greece, and Portugal, concludes that the optimism regarding the effects of membership in the European Union has been stronger in Spain than in the other two countries because Spain was in a better position to compete economically.20 The second hypothesis one finds in the literature on Spain explains high levels of support for European integration by focusing on the symbolic dimension of membership in the European Union. Authors have emphasized that membership in the European Union is seen as a symbol of acceptance as Europeans and of having become European and democratic.21 The third frequently mentioned hypothesis is that high support for European integration reflects the Spaniards' expectation that membership in the European Union will reinforce democracy in Spain and prevent the reemergence of nondemocratic authoritarian tendencies.22 At a deeper level, Álvarez-Miranda has pointed out that in contrast to Greece, where the political elites were divided in their views of Europe and on the issue of membership in the European Union, Spain's consensus about supporting membership in the European Union has been grounded on the lack of conflicting views about the role played by Europe in Spain's recent history.

Similarly, explanations for Germany's relatively high level of support for European integration and membership in the European Union can be grouped into three categories. The most popular type of explanation stresses that the European Union provided a substitute for a conventional national identity and contributed to strengthening the Federal Republic of Germany's state identity after Germany's defeat in World War II.23 Another argument is that support of membership in the European Union and of European integration resulted from a pragmatic effort to make the FRG acceptable in Europe and facilitate German reunification.24 Finally, it has been mentioned that German support of membership in the European Union originated in the population's satisfaction with the resulting economic benefits.25

There is very extensive literature on the United Kingdom's low levels of support for European integration and membership in the European Union. Furthermore, different scholars often invoke a particular causal factor but then trace it to different historical or structural processes. This makes it difficult to classify arguments. At risk of simplification, however, one can distinguish two sets of causal chains. The first one stresses that the immediate cause of British Euroscepticism is that the British population is afraid of losing its identity.26 This fear rests on the Britons' lack of identification with Europe and their sense of superiority with respect to other Europeans.27 This is in turn related to the United Kingdom's long history of strong external ties (Empire, Commonwealth, U.S.-U.K. "special relationship"), further reinforced through collaboration in two world wars.28 Others trace the British population's fear for their national identity to the United Kingdom's decline after World War II, thus contradicting the former arguments.29

The second causal chain used to explain British Euroscepticism begins with the British population's reluctance to lose sovereignty.30 This reluctance is explained through different factors. For some, victory in World War II spared the United Kingdom from the identity crisis that afflicted most other contenders and that pushed them into European integration.31 For others, the consequence of victory in World War II was that the United Kingdom emerged with an overblown sense of its world political and economic status and thus adopted political behavior that did not correspond to the country's actual decline.32 This argument is implicitly disputed by those who contend that the United Kingdom is still in fact a world economic power and that, also because of victory in World War II, it has actually played a stronger role in world politics and thus risks losing more than other countries if it surrenders its sovereignty.33 Finally, some authors invoke the United Kingdom's long tradition of independence and sovereignty and its history of conflict with France and Germany.34

In view of this long list of well-informed explanations, it is not my intention in this book to offer entirely new arguments. What I do hope to accomplish however, is to methodically distinguish between relevant and irrelevant factors in the explanation of ordinary citizens' attitudes toward European integration and membership in the European Union, through the use of the comparative method and the application of frame analysis. The comparative approach allows me to discard hypotheses that look promising only when applied to a single case. For example, it is argued that conflict between the United Kingdom and France is a significant factor underlying British identity and the British rejection of European integration. As I state above, conflict with France has also played a crucial role in the development of Spanish and German identities; but this has not prevented Spain and Germany from being strong advocates of European integration.

This book's analytical and methodological approach also avoids sociopsychological theses that are all but impossible to refute, such as arguments about identity crisis that have been applied to both the United Kingdom and Germany. As a case in point, authors have found ways to explain the United Kingdom's reluctance toward European integration by referring alternatively to the population's sense of superiority and strong identity and to the country's identity crisis resulting from decline. Finally, this book prioritizes factors that explain stable patterns of support for European integration over those that are relevant for only short periods. For instance, Álvarez-Miranda's claim, that the desire to secure Spain's democracy explains the Spanish consensus in support of membership in the European Union, seems untenable in view of the fact that high levels of popular support can be traced back to the early 1960s, when Spain was entirely under Franco's control.35 A survey conducted by the Instituto de Opinión Pública in 1966, for instance, showed that despite low levels of information (60 percent did not have an opinion), already 33 percent of the respondents were in favor of Spain becoming a member, versus 4 percent who preferred economic autarchy and 3 percent who preferred an economic union with Latin America.

In sum, in contrast to nonrefutable sociopsychological explanations or explanations that apply at most to short periods of time, this book's objective is to let people speak, to determine how strongly rooted their arguments are in discussions of European integration, relate them to broader cultural concerns, and, finally, to provide a plausible interpretation of the interplay between culture, structure, and history in explaining international contrasts. The end product is a parsimonious interpretation of the contrasting levels of support for European integration in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Spain that simultaneously provides clues to understanding variation among European Union member states in general. This interpretation stresses the roles of Empire, World War II, and the Spanish Civil War in shaping the British, German, and Spanish political cultures and, consequently, the way their respective populations have conceived of and positioned themselves with respect to European integration. Culture and history trump economics and geopolitics in the explanation of national contrasts in support for European integration because of their impact on people's degree of identification with Europe and because dominant national self-images and historical interpretations have shaped people's perceptions of the suitability of the European Union as a vehicle for the attainment of individual and national economic, status, and geopolitical goals.

Structure of the Book

This book is structured into two parts. Part I clarifies how ordinary citizens and local elites make up their minds about European integration, analyzes their frames on European integration and the European Union, explores the relationship between these frames and support for particular models of European integration in six different cities of three different countries--the United Kingdom, Germany, and Spain--and examines the stability over time of country-specific frames. This investigation goes well beyond Hewstone's study, the only other comparative research project of this kind, by examining the social representations and attitudes toward European integration and the European Union among ordinary citizens and local elites.36

In the first two chapters of part I, I focus on the frames people use when reflecting on European integration and the European Union. In chapter 2, I explore similarities and contrasts between countries, thus testing Lamont and Thévenot's nonessentialist view of national cultural repertoires. Moreover, I examine the different elements that enter justifications for and against European integration and the European Union. The analysis not only supports Lamont and Thévenot's claim, but also reveals the important roles that self-images and collective memory play in such justifications.

Social representations are the most immediate cause of attitudes toward European integration and the European Union. I explore this matter in chapter 3, showing that indeed different social representations are linked to different degrees of support and different desired models of European integration. This discussion offers an opportunity to discuss a classification of models of European integration based on how many competences citizens are willing to transfer to the European Union and how much sovereignty they are willing to surrender. The analysis of the views of German, British, and Spanish respondents suggests that European citizens are not yet ready to fully surrender national sovereignty to the European Union but that they nonetheless favor the transfer of a significant number of competences. It also shows that the fear of a loss of national identity and culture and opposition to a surrender of sovereignty are the most likely explanations for why support for European integration is less widespread in the United Kingdom than in Spain and Germany.

The explanation of the ways people conceive of European integration and the European Union demands an examination of the stability of these social representations over time. Recent images probably reflect the impact of recent causes, whereas long-standing images reflect the impact of past events whose effects are reproduced over time. Interviews do not tell us, however, for how long particular images have been held in the population. The solution I propose is to examine these images through content analysis of the views about European integration that have been transmitted by journalists since the end of World War II. Chapter 4 reveals a close match between the frames used by journalists and those used by ordinary citizens and local elites, as well as constancy in the images people hold of European integration and the European Union. Furthermore, qualitative analysis of the approach to European integration over five decades by the editorialists and commentators of seven major newspapers in three countries provides additional information about the forces that shaped the development of particular frames and attitudes.

In part II of the book, I rely on the concepts of frame alignment and cultural resonance to analyze the cultural and historical factors underlying contrasts in the ways Britons, Germans, and Spaniards frame European integration and the European Union. Chapter 5 is devoted to Spain, chapter 6 to West Germany, chapter 7 to East Germany, and chapter 8 to the United Kingdom. Because of the book's purpose, which is to explain international contrasts, I focus only on the cultural resonance of the country-specific frames described in chapters 2, 3, and 4, that contribute to making Germans and Spaniards more favorable and Britons more opposed to European integration. This section of the book demonstrates that the ways people see European integration are in clear alignment with the broader culture. Chapters 5, 6, 7, and 8 also bear witness to the role of counterthemes in limiting the impact of some cultural themes.

The last chapter of part II of the book, chapter 9, recapitulates the findings of preceding chapters and performs a statistical analysis of survey data from the Eurobarometer Study 51.0 (March-April,1999) to test the roles of frames and broader cultural processes in explaining contrasts in support for European integration. Finally, in chapter 10, I synthesize the main substantive findings of this investigation, and speculate about the future path of European integration.

Sources and Methods

Framing Europe relies on a variety of methods and sources.37 Chapters 2 and 3 analyze 160 in-depth interviews of ordinary citizens and local elites, which I conducted in a total of six cities in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Spain in 1996 and 1997. To keep the anonymity of the respondents, I will call these cities Weststadt, Oststadt, Quijotón, Catadell, Engleton, and Scotsburg. The cities were selected to represent regions within Germany, Spain, and Great Britain with distinctive national identities, as well as the social and economic structures representative of the regions in which the cities were located (based on distribution by economic sector of the active population, mean income per capita, and unemployment rates). I ended up with a West German and an East German city for Germany (Weststadt and Oststadt), a Castilian and Catalan city for Spain (Quijotón and Catadell), and an English and a Scottish city for Great Britain (Engleton and Scotsburg). Appendix 1 provides a detailed description of the technical procedures I followed to select and interview respondents for the project.

Chapter 4 is based on content analysis of a sample of newspaper editorials and opinion pieces published in British, German, and Spanish quality newspapers between 1946 and 1997, the year I ended my fieldwork. Editorials and opinion articles provide a snapshot of how journalists, members of the educated elites, think at a particular time, and thus facilitate the analysis of change and cross-national comparisons. Moreover, they are short, have a similar format, and are relatively easy to access, which facilitates the systematic analysis of a great number of them. I have examined eight daily or weekly quality newspapers:

The Economist and The New Statesman for the United Kingdom,
Die Zeit, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and Neues Deutschland for Germany, and
El País, ABC, and Cambio16 for Spain.

Whether these are daily or weekly newspapers should be irrelevant for the purposes of this analysis; it is only important that they differ along ideological and national lines. All the newspapers that I have examined are national newspapers with a very large readership in their respective countries (relative to other newspapers of the same type, daily or weekly). In sum, the editorials and opinion pieces on European integration I have analyzed in quality newspapers are representative enough to allow me to attain the following objectives:

  1. provide an overview of the dominant frames on European integration in British, Spanish, and German quality newspapers and outline the main contrasts in the ways their respective journalists have conceived of European integration,
  2. determine the longevity of the frames that distinguish British, German, and Spanish respondents,
  3. provide a contextualized view of the emergence of these frames, and
  4. describe the main contrasts in the ways more conservative and more progressive British, German, and Spanish quality newspapers have approached European integration in this fifty-year period. In Appendix 2 I provide a detailed description of the techniques I used to select and code editorials and opinion pieces.

To write the second part of this book, I have relied on primary and secondary sources appropriate to the frames' sociopolitical nature. My analysis of primary sources is justified by the comparative focus of this project. Rather than looking for cultural materials that demonstrate the cultural resonance of the frames I analyze, and thus running the risk of overestimating the salience of a cultural theme or countertheme in the different countries, I have systematically examined the same set of primary sources in the three countries. What makes the selection of primary sources problematic is that any single source provides at best a partial view of the countries' national cultures. Finding that a particular frame does not resonate with the cultural themes discussed in a particular source does not necessarily mean that the frame is not culturally relevant: different sources are conducive to the expression of different cultural preoccupations, for they vary in their institutional locations, their functions, their addressees, their styles of presentation, and so on. My choice of sources has been guided by three main criteria:

  1. they should be sources in which one might expect discussion or expression of themes pertaining to the field of political culture;
  2. they should be sources that have been used by scholars for the analysis of national cultures;
  3. they should be easy to compare across national states.

The three types of sources that I analyze are prize-winning novels, secondary school textbooks on contemporary history, and head-of-state Christmas or New Year's addresses. Although the three sources can be conceived as officially sanctioned cultural products, they are a legitimate entry point to a comparative study of national cultural repertoires to the extent that the themes I examine for each country have been at least as salient among educated and official elites as among the population at large. I follow authors such as Sarah Corse in approaching the national culture through the analysis of canon and prize-winning literature. High-culture literature, says Corse, codifies national elites' visions of their nations and their national experiences, which then in turn helps to determine the content of these nations' identities.38 She adds that within this high-culture literature, award-winning novels "serve as an on-going validation of nationhood, as markers of a flourishing national culture and identity."39 In chapters 5 through 8, I also follow Eugen Weber in privileging school textbooks as a source of information about the national culture.40 History textbooks provide at the very least an indication of the national historical narrative and national self-images that segments of a society's elite would like to instill in the population. Finally, I have chosen to examine head-of-state Christmas or New Year's addresses because they are a yearly power ritual in which the head of state goes over the year's main events and in the process reminds his or her audience of the main markers of the national identity. These addresses offer, among other things, a unique opportunity to examine the collective memory and self-images that state elites, through their highest representative, try to transmit to the population. In Appendix 4 I provide detailed justifications for the selection of novels, history text books, and heads of state addresses, as well as a listing of the selected novels and history textbooks.

The last main source of data I use in this book is the European Commission's Eurobarometer Study 51.0, corresponding to March-April 1999. In chapter 9, I perform statistical analysis with the data contained in this study to examine the validity of some of the arguments developed in the book.

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File created: 8/7/2007

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