European Identity and Young People’s Participation in School and Local (Social) Contexts

Research question/goal: 

Due to globalization and individualization collective identities become more and more varied. This does not remain without consequences for the functioning of modern democracies. For the European Union this development is a challenge and a chance at the same time: On the one hand European citizens feel little connected with Europe and their European fellow citizens. If, on the other hand, the increasing variety of collective identities may weaken particular identifications, this could lead to a relative strengthening of feelings of affiliation towards Europe. European identity is thus regarded as an aspect of multiple collective identification processes. In social sciences as well as in practice it is taken for granted that social participation on the European level fosters the identification with Europe, and participation in community projects encourages the solidarity with the local level. Based on the assumption of the multiple characters of collective identities this should consequently affect the collective identification processes on the other levels, as well. In other words: social activity at the local level may have consequences for the development of a European identity. Hence, it is the main goal of this project to explore possible connection between social participation and the development of multiple collective identities. The thereby project focuses on young people in different European countries. In order to do so, an adequate quasi-experimental research design is used, where young people in four European countries (UK, NL, IRL, D) will be interviewed about their collective identity structures before and after participation in activities in European and local youth projects.

Fact sheet

2005 to 2008
Data Sources: 
Young people/Two-wave panel (quasi-experimental) design
Geographic Space: 
Western Europe



Schäfer, Julia (2006): Sozialkapital und politische Orientierungen von Jugendlichen in Deutschland. Wiesbaden: Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. [Forschung Politik] more