Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 02/2011

A New Society in the Making: European Integration and European Social Groups

Juan Díez Medrano

April 2010

Liechtenstein Institute on Self Determination, Princeton University


This paper connects with a recent and growing interest in the study of the societal impact of European integration and in the distinction of globalization and European integration effects. The paper uses the Eurobarometer study 67.1 to examine two related issues: 1) the segmentation of national social groups into "national" and "European" segments and 2) the contribution of the European integration process to this segmentation. Through statistical analysis, the author argues that there is some segmentation of national social groups and that this segmentation is more advanced at the level of consumer practices than at the level of identification and political attitudes and values. The author also contradicts prevailing beliefs in showing that although European integration underlies changes in the Europeanization of personal networks in general, its impact may have been greater, or at least as great, on the lower classes than on the middle classes. This paper proposes that the main mediating mechanism for this effect is the cheapening of opportunities for travel in Europe.