Authors’ note: I would like to thank Anne Beaufort, Adam Luedtke, the anonymous reviewers at ISQ, and especially Turan Kayaoğlu and Jon Mercer for their greatly insightful comments. A previous version of this article was presented at the 2007 Middle East and Central Asia Politics, Economics, and Society Conference at the University of Utah where I received much needed input. The usual disclaimers apply.
Social Identity Theory and EU Expansion
Article first published online: 8 SEP 2009
© 2009 International Studies Association
International Studies Quarterly
Volume 53, Issue 3, pages 649–668, September 2009
How to Cite
Curley, T. M. (2009), Social Identity Theory and EU Expansion. International Studies Quarterly, 53: 649–668. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2478.2009.00550.x
- Issue published online: 8 SEP 2009
- Article first published online: 8 SEP 2009
In this article, I build a theory of European Union (EU) expansion using Social Identity Theory. The theory proposes that the development of a national identity in relation to Europe is the most significant contributing factor to a policy to support/oppose expanding the EU to include applicant countries. According to the theory, strength of identity—whether more national or European—is the key variable in explaining the policy toward applicant countries. As a preliminary exploration of the theory, I look at why some decision-makers within EU countries support Turkey’s accession while others do not. The identities among top decision-makers within Britain, Germany, and France are used to examine the policy preferences regarding Turkey’s bid for membership into the EU during these three recent progressions: the recognition of Turkey as a candidate country in 1999, the development of a timeline for full membership in 2002, and the beginning of accession negotiations in 2005.