Have European citizens become increasingly Eurosceptic over the last two decades, turning their backs on European integration? Though many journalists, politicians and academics argue that they have, this book suggests that reactions to European integration cannot be reduced uniquely to a rise in Euroscepticism, but that indifference and ambivalence need also to be brought into the picture when studying EU legitimacy and its politicisation. Drawing on new evidence from survey data from eight founding member states, and focus groups conducted in francophone Belgium, France and Great Britain, Integrating Indifference explores the various faces of citizens' indifference, from fatalism, to detachment, via sheer indecision. This book adopts a pioneering mixed-methods approach to analysing the middle-of-the-road attitudes of ordinary citizens who consider themselves neither Europhiles nor Eurosceptics. Complementing existing quantitative and qualitative literature in the field, it opens up new perspectives on attitudes towards European integration.
List of Figures and Tables vii
Chapter One: Contextual Analysis of Successive Approaches to European
Legitimacy and to Citizens’ Attitudes 17
Chapter Two: Revising the ‘End’ of the Permissive Consensus 45
Chapter Three: Focus Groups as a Microscope 81
Chapter Four: Revisiting ‘Framing Europe’ 107
Chapter Five: Neither Eurosceptic nor Europhile: The Median European 151
Chapter Six: Conclusion: Integrating Uncertainties 175
Virginie Van Ingelgom is a postdoctoral researcher F.R.S. – FNRS at the Institut de Sciences Politiques Louvain-Europe (UCLouvain) and an associate research fellow of the Centre for European Studies (Sciences Po Paris). Her dissertation – from which this book has grown – was awarded the Theseus Award for Promising Research on European Integration (2010), the French Political Science Association – Fondation Mattei Dogan Best Dissertation Prize (2011), and the ECPR Jean Blondel PhD Prize (2011).
Dr Van Ingelgom is the author of several articles on the issue of legitimacy at national and European levels, on the possible emergence of a ‘European community’, and on the methodological issues of using qualitative comparative analysis. She recently co-authored (with S Duchesne, E Frazer & F Haegel) Citizens’ Reactions to European Integration Compared: Overlooking Europe (2013, Palgrave).
Her current teaching commitments include courses at UCLouvain, Sciences Po Paris and at the ECPR Summer School in Methods and Techniques.