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Divergence from within : an investigation into regional variations of public opinion towards European integration.

Gottfried, Glenn (2009) Divergence from within : an investigation into regional variations of public opinion towards European integration. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Over the past decade, several European Union (EU) member-states have expanded the process. of decentralisation by granting further autonomy to subnational regions. This recent push for devolution is described by Michael Keating (1998) as new regionalism, the subnational answer to globalisation. Regions around Europe are now more accessible to one another to share commonalities across trans-national networks which in turn can help foster a greater sense and desire for autonomy (Keating 1998: 89). Furthermore, sub-state nationalism can consequently affect a region's desire for integration within Europe. Traditionally, European integration public opinion studies have remained focused at the national and individual levels, rarely taking the regional level into account. This dissertation attempts to break this mould and demonstrate that public opinion towards European integration can vary as much within member-states as it does between them. Through the use of quantitative investigations of public opinion data, this study reveals that several factors which contribute to 'new regionalism' also contribute to variations in regional EU support. These factors include regional contrasts within the realms of economy, politics and identity. In addition, this research notes that individuals may perceive certain national evaluations from within the regional context. Furthermore, the relationship between regional assertiveness and European integration is also analysed. While it is demonstrated that most regional political parties tend to favour European integration, this is not often the case amongst the public of these assertive regions. Regions where assertion is high and identity is stronger will less likely support European integration. The results of this research demonstrate that the nature of public opinion in Europe is possibly more complex than initially thought. Moreover, it builds on previous research of public opinion towards European integration by adapting to the continuous change in the multilevel structure of Europe taking into account the contextual dynamics of which Europeans shape their opinion.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Politics (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.500131
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2016 10:21
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2016 10:21
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/14685

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