Intra-European student mobility and European identity : a successful marriage?
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
Population, space and place. - Chichester
, p. 209-222
University of Antwerp
Studies on European identity generally focus on elites, even though processes of identity formation may also take place in other societal domains. As one of the underlying rationales of European student exchange programmes is the promotion of European citizenship, I examine empirically the influence of European student mobility on European identity. The analysis is based on a mixed-method approach. The quantitative element consists of an online survey at nine universities in Austria, Belgium, Italy, Norway, and Poland at the end of the 20082009 academic year. The qualitative element consists of 40 in-depth interviews and five focus groups, conducted at the universities of Antwerp, Innsbruck, Oslo, Rome, and Warsaw in 20092010. The analysis underpins the need for incorporating an experiencebased social dimension into the existing theoretical frameworks of political and cultural dimensions of European identity. This creation of an experience-based social Europe among mobile students is the result of socialisation processes that are characterised by internal and external identity observations and goes beyond the political unit of the European Union. However, regional differences can be observed and partially attributed to macro-factors such as the (non-)participation of a country in the European Union.