SP 4: Cross-border Interactions and Transnational Identities

In accordance with transactional integration theory one can presume that European social integration is fostered by the transnational practices and experiences of Europeans. Following this paradigm, sub-project 4 of the Research Group "Horizontal Europeanization" investigates the cross-border practices and attitudes of EU-citizens to discover in how far Europe has established itself as a locus of communalization (Vergemeinschaftung) and societization (Vergesellschaftung) relative to the nation and the globe. Throughout the first project phase, the prevalence, the social stratification, and the social determinants of transnational practices and attitudes of Europeans from the EU-27 countries were analyzed using survey data (mostly from the Eurobarometer series).

While having employed a comparative perspective towards individual transnational ization during the first project phase, there is a shift towards a relational, network-analytic approach in the second project phase. The key objective of the second phase is to examine and explain European communalization (via mutual awareness and attitudes) and societization (via cross-border exchanges of people and communication). Using social network analysis methodology, which allows for a much more differentiated investigation of transnationalization and Europeanization on the basis of dyadic data, the nature of cross-border transaction networks of Europeans will be studied. The development of transnational and European practices and attitudes over time, the inner structure of the European social space (e.g. center-periphery relations), and the influence of the financial crisis on transnational societization and communalization in Europe constitute the main foci of the project.

First project phase

Transactionalist integration theory assumes that identification with Europe is enhanced by transnational interaction and experience. However, on the other hand European integration might increase the gap between winners and losers in Europe. Against this backdrop, the subproject examines objective and subjective transnationalization processes in the everyday life of EU citizens. Therefore it focusses on the following questions:

  1. To which extent do people interact across borders? Can we consider Europe more important in this regard, so that the realm of experience is Europe?
  2. Which population groups are the transnational avantgarde? Is transnationalism stratified vertically by class and education, or rather differentiated horizontally by age group?
  3. What are the major societal drivers of social transnationalization, and how big are the differences between the nations in "Doing Europe"?
  4. What are the implications of transnational interactions for transnational identities and European policy preferences, and how large is the potential of political conflict?

This subproject is based on quantitative data analysis and includes all member states of the European Union. Main source of data is the "Eurobarometer", provided by the European Commission as well as process-generated transaction data. The project promises new basic theoretical knowledge about the extent, determinants and conflict potential of transnational socialization.