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 ‘The Evolution of European Identity:

Using biographical methods to study the development of European identity’

Framework 7 Collaborative Project

Grant Agreement No. 213998

The ongoing constitutional crisis of the European Union highlights that the development of a sense of positive identification with the ‘European project’ by ordinary citizens is crucial for its long-term success. Current state-of-the-art research into European identity has been driven almost exclusively by a ‘top down’ elitist perspective that focuses upon the development of an identification with ‘Europe’ through centrally-driven policies. The EuroIdentities project will use advanced methods of autobiographical narrative interviewing and analysis to gain insights into the evolution and meanings of a European identity or identities from the ’bottom up’ perspective of the individual. This will include investigating the factors that promote or retard a positive identification with ‘Europe’ and the European Community. 

The research strategy will be to target five special ‘sensitized groups’ – aggregates whose life experiences will have caused them to confront questions of their own identity within Europe. The five groups broadly conceived are: 

The seven partner teams in EuroIdentities – Queens University, Northern Ireland; Bangor University, Wales; Otto-von-Guericke Universität, Magdeburg, Germany; Lódz University, Poland; Tallinn Technological University, Estonia; Institute of Sociology, Bulgarian Academy of Science; and ‘Federico II’ University, Napoli, Italy – include large and small nations that are original and accession states located both in the peripheries and the core of Europe. EuroIdentites will employ a focused dissemination strategy that will include from the outset interaction with policy makers and others in public arenas at national and European levels.

EuroIdentities is a Framework 7 ‘Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities’ Collaborative Project funded between March 2008 and February 2011 under activity code SSH-2007-5.2.1: ‘Histories and Identities – articulating national and European identities’.