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Continuity in times of change: the role of power, history and national identity in the process of supranational integration

Obradović, Sandra (2018) Continuity in times of change: the role of power, history and national identity in the process of supranational integration. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Political change that moves a nation towards democratization, international integration and globalization, is often viewed as progressive and positive. Indeed, certain political changes are presented as the only viable trajectories towards democratic goals. A clear example of this is that of membership in the European Union (EU). While there is an extensive academic literature on the benefits of EU integration spanning disciplines including international relations, political science and economics, events across Europe, such as Brexit, have allowed for a more complex picture of supranational integration to emerge by considering the everyday, sociocultural elements that shape how citizens make sense of political phenomena. Focusing on a prospective EU member state, this PhD ask: how is collective continuity managed in times of socio-political change, and what are the implications for identity? The answer to this question is sought through a mixed-methods approach composed of three empirical papers. Study I examines the bottom-up construction of the EU and its relations to Serbia and its history, through a longitudinal study with qualitative data. Study II focuses on the top-down use of history and identity in elite discourses over time by analyzing political speeches over the past 20 years. Study III combines qualitative and quantitative data to explore and test how the relationship between power and social identity processes shape dual identification and support for EU accession. Study IV argues that historical continuity must be understood as constructed through self-other relations situated in contexts of power and history. As such, there are important limitations on the extent to which historical continuity becomes desired, and has positive outcomes for social identity. As a whole, the PhD illustrates how situating tensions between political change and historical continuity within a self-other context over time allows us to understand when and how seemingly progressive political change means improving ‘us’ or becoming less like ‘us’.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2018 Sandra Obradović
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Sets: Departments > Psychological and Behavioural Science
Supervisor: Howarth, Caroline and Sheehy-Skeffington, Jennifer

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