Comparative identity and evaluation of socio-political change: perceptions of the European Community as a function of the salience of regional identities

Carmen Huici, Maria Ros, Ignacio Cano, Nicholas Hopkins, Nicholas Emler, Mercedes Carmona

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    Using questionnaire data concerning perceptions of the European Community (EC) in Scotland and Andalucia we explored how the EC is perceived, and a European identification adopted as a function of the salience of these 'regional' identities. Drawing on the work concerning the concept of 'comparative identity' (Res, Cano & Huici, 1987) it is argued that disidentification with the 'nation-state' (i.e. Britain and Spain respectively) is a usefull way of measuring the salience of such regional identities in the self/concept. We predicted that such identities would be more salient in Scotland than in Andalucia and that in Scotland the salience of subjects' regional identities would be associated with beliefs concerning the need for strategies of regional empowerment in its relation to the nation (Britain). We further predicted that the EC would be judged as a function of this comparative identity so that in Scotland (but not in Andalucia), a European identification would be associated with what may be called 'social change' beliefs (e.g, beliefs concerning the need for changing aspects of the region's relationship with the nation). Supportive evidence is found for all these predictions. However, no support was found for our prediction of a correlation between the Scots' regional identification and their European identification. The paper concludes with a discussion of the utility of the concept of comparative identity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)97-113
    Number of pages17
    JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1997

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