Vicarious evaluation: How european integration changes national identities

Philip Giurlando*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper explores how European integration impacts the national identities of Member States. Identity is an amorphous concept, and so this paper focuses on one dimension of it: the perception of the relative status of the nation that nationalized individuals possess. Perceptions of relative national status flow from the fact that the international system is characterized by hierarchy, competition, and concerns for relative gains and losses. A key motivation for the foreign policies of lower status nations is equality with higher status ones, and for the former, European integration is often perceived in equalizing terms. But, this perception of Europe as equalizer often does not correspond with objectively unequal power relations in Europe. This paper focuses on why, among nationalized individuals, perceptions of power differentials change, even though objectively the unequal inter-state power relations may remain unchanged. The case study is Italy entering the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union in 1999, which was perceived by many Italians in equalizing terms, even though the unequal power relations between Italy and Europe’s elite countries remained objectively the same.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalReview of European and Russian Affairs
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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