A Typology of Political Identity in the Deepening Eurozone

  • Abstract:

    How can a more politicised European Union and a deepening euro zone combine the nation-states which are its members with the supranational structures and institutions required to hold such an emerging polity together legitimately in a collective identity? New approaches and a new vocabulary are needed to express this problem in scholarly writing, political discourse and popular engagement. This paper presents a theoretical framework on multiple political identity and European integration developed to analyze variations in how national and European identifications are combined. Two conceptual dimensions grounded in philosophy and political theory are used to create a bi-dimensional analytical framework to map the subject:
    • The relationship between the One and the Many is an ancient and abiding concern, dealing with singularity and multiplicity in political life.
    • That between the Self and the Other deals with how individuals relate to society and sameness to difference.

    The two dimensions give a purchase on political identity, a solidarity among political strangers in which ‘I’ can properly use the term ‘we’ to create a political community. They are combined to create a fourfold typology of political orders, polities, theories/positions, actors and political identities in the European Union capable of illuminating the problem. The paper suggests how this typology can be used to analyze four issues made prominent in the current crisis of the euro zone: relations between political elites and mass publics; new boundaries and demarcations for different social groups; the crisis as a test case for solidarities, common civic identities and their relations with institutional change: social vs. system integration? And the consequent politicisation of collective identities in the EU in four possible scenarios of change.