Public perceptions of the EU as a system of governance

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Series Details Vol.6, No.2 (2011) (Revised March 2013)
Publication Date 2013
ISSN 1813-856X
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Since its inception, the European Union has stimulated many vigorous debates. This Living Review provides a state of the field perspective on the academic work that has been done to address the question of the perceptions of the European Union as a system of governance. It takes a broad scope in assessing the efforts of scholars and highlights significant theoretical and empirical contributions as well as identifying potential avenues for research. In order to understand perceptions of the EU, scholars have employed national-level frameworks of popular support, particularly partisanship and instrumental self-interest. As the number of members has increased, further research has taken a broader scope to include national identity, institutions, and attitudes regarding the normative and empirical function of both national and EU institutions. Additional works address political intermediaries such as parties, media, and elites. Finally, all of the works are fundamentally concerned with the supportive popular sentiment that underpins the EU’s legitimacy as a political institution. While there are far more works that can be practically included in this review, we have attempted to construct an overview based on the dimensions that define this research as set out by significant contributions at the core of this literature.

This is a major update of a text first published in 2008. This Living Review was substantially updated by adding 19 references, expanding several paragraphs to reflect new developments in the field, and including several new examples of recent contributions to this literature. In addition, a paragraph was inserted to incorporate the growing body of multi-level analysis that addresses the systematic inclusion of country characteristics as part of mass attitudes towards the EU. Further, there is a new discussion outlining developments in the literature concerning new member stats.

Revised text: March 2013.

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