Transnational Attachment As a Mediator Between Cross-Border Interaction and Supranational Identification: Evidence from Europe

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Anatomy - Large LT (University of Glasgow)
Jan Delhey , Otto-von-Guericke-University of Magdeburg
Emanuel Deutschmann , Otto-von-Guericke-University of Magdeburg
Monika Verbalyte , Otto-von-Guericke-University of Magdeburg
Auke Aplowski , Otto-von-Guericke-University of Magdeburg
Transactionalist theory holds that cross-border transactions breed a sense of community (Deutsch et al. 1957), which works as an important social glue for all regional integration projects. In the sociology of Europe, this sense of community has been chiefly interpreted in terms of a supranational feeling of attachment towards the European Union, European identity, and similar concepts. However, the mechanism by which a typically bilateral transnational experience made in specific foreign countries translates into a broader positive affect towards a supranational unit such as Europe or the European Union has not been sufficiently examined as yet. In this paper, we test whether transnational attachment (i.e. the feeling of attachment towards a European country other than one’s own) mediates the relationship between cross-border transactions on the one hand, and the feeling of attachment to the European Union on the other hand. Using Eurobarometer data on the EU-27 countries from 2010, we find that transnational attachment indeed mediates the relation between transactions and supranational attachment. A separate analysis for European macro regions further demonstrates that the mediation effect is particularly strong in Southern Europe.