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From polarized we/they public opinion on European Integration towards social representations of public dialogue

Mahendran, Kesi (2018). From polarized we/they public opinion on European Integration towards social representations of public dialogue. Political Psychology, 39(6) pp. 1339–1355.

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Social psychology has established that oppositional we/they categorization is central to dis/identification with European integration (Hewstone, 1986 Chryssochoou, 2000; Mummendey and Walduz, 2004). As Europe faces fresh uncertainties, e.g. Brexit, this article reveals the multi-positional features of public opinion formation. Drawing on meta-representational approaches it reveals how we/they categorization moves from oppositional forms towards diplomatic non-oppositional forms when citizens speak about the general public in ‘a public capacity’ (Dewey, 1927). Two interview-led studies in England, Ireland, Germany, Scotland and Sweden (n = 100) brought participants into dialogue with the ideals of European integration. Analysis reveals six dialogical positions on the general public – avant-garde, advocating, homesteading, distancing, segmenting and progressive. These rest on social representations of the public as having freedom from movement, freedom of movement and freedom through movement. Understanding the public’s multi-positional capacities and the interplay between self-world narratives and European integration narratives is one step towards de-polarization and public dialogue on Europe.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2018 International Society of Political Psychology
Keywords: democracy; dialogical; European Union; narrative; public opinion; social representations
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Psychology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Research Group: Citizenship and Governance
Item ID: 57050
Depositing User: Kesi Mahendran
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2018 10:37
Last Modified: 03 May 2019 14:43
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