The influence of European student mobility on European identity formation

Wednesday, June 26, 2013
C3.17 (Oudemanhuispoort)
Christof Van Mol , Centre for Migration and Intercultural Studies, Universiteit Antwerpen
Studies into European identity generally focus on elites, even though processes of identity-formation may also take place in other societal domains. As one of the underlying rationales of European student exchange programmes is the promotion of European citizenship, I examine empirically the influence of European student mobility on European identity in this paper. The analysis is based on a mixed-method approach. The quantitative element consists of an online survey at 38 universities in Austria, Belgium, Italy, Norway and Poland at the end of the 2010-2011 academic year. The qualitative element consists of 40 in-depth interviews and five focus groups, conducted at the universities of Antwerp, Innsbruck, Oslo, Rome and Warsaw in 2009-2010. The analysis underpins empirically the need for incorporating an 'experience-based' social dimension into the existing theoretical frameworks of political and cultural dimensions of European identity. This creation of an 'experience based social Europe' among mobile students is the result of interaction processes that are characterised by internal and external identity observations, and goes beyond the political unit of the European Union. However, regional differences can be observed and partially attributed to macro-factors such as the (non-)participation of a country in the European Union.
  • ChristofVanMol-CES.pdf (398.9 kB)