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June 7, 2011 - Call for articles

Special Issue of Politique européenne "The Consequences of EU Membership on Attitudes Toward Integration in Central and Eastern Europe"

Contributions exploring the effects of EU membership on attitudes of citizens of post-communist member states towards integration are solicited for a special bilingual issue of the journal Politique européenne to be published in 2012.

Much of the work pertaining to candidate or new member states has been concerned with the argument that economic considerations drive public opinion about the EU. “Winners” of the transition, younger and more educated people, as well as those equipped with transferable skills and resources are more likely to support integration. More recently, studies have linked support for integration with national identity, which is seen as a particularly sensitive issue in countries that recovered full sovereignty only recently. Finally, the national context also matters; the EU could be more attractive where institutions are considered to be lacking.

However, the literature has not yet explored the consequences of integration on perceptions. At the individual level, we have little information about what shapes attitudes since accession. We do not know how the « second transition », which replaced part of the existing national framework or introduced supranational elements into it, is playing out on perceptions. Membership has brought important changes such as further economic liberalisation, pressures to support the fight against corruption in Bulgaria and Romania, and the adoption of the Euro in Slovenia and Slovakia. Regional, minority, and other policies have been amended. How do citizens react to these changes? What impact do they have on perceptions of the EU? These questions are particularly relevant since the proportions of citizens who think that EU membership is a good thing has dropped by nearly 10% since the accession referenda in 2003. In addition, on the second occasion citizens of the region could cast a ballot in European elections, participation remained significantly lower than in “old” member states. These changes suggest that examining the role of preferences and perceptions with respect to the results of integration will contribute to our understanding of public opinion towards the EU in Central and Eastern Europe.

Contributions could investigate questions including, among others, the following:

• How are the changes brought about by integration perceived, and how do they affect attitudes towards the EU and its institutions? Integration involves a large number of domains and contributions could deal with policies concerning minorities, the fight against corruption, membership to the Schengen Area, immigration, or the adoption of the Euro.

• What considerations do citizens give to performance (output legitimacy) and decision making mechanisms and processes (input legitimacy) when evaluating the EU?

• Has membership status modified the linkages between evaluations of national governments, institutions, and politicians on the one hand and evaluations of the EU on the other?

• Has the fact that expectations regarding the economic consequences – national and individual – of accession have been met or not modified the effects of economic interests and preferences on EU attitudes?

• Is membership status playing a role with respect to the perceptions of citizens toward candidate and potential candidate member states?

• What does it mean for citizens in post-communist member states to be European, and how do these meanings combine with ethnic, linguistic and cultural identities?

Comparative quantitative analyses of mass or elite attitudes are welcome. Proposals focusing on one country will also be considered, especially if they test hypotheses pertaining to elements of context that can vary more quickly than factors such as identity or socio-economic affiliations. In the case of country analyses, studies comparing survey or interview data gathered before and after accession are particularly sought.

Paper proposals (300-500 words) should be sent to Tania Gosselin at gosselin.tania@uqam.ca by 15 July 2011. Papers can be submitted in English or French. Complete articles, approximately 8,000 to 10,000 words in length, are due 15 December 2011. All submitted papers will be subject to peer-review.

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