The Unlikely Eurosceptics: the Undercurrent Anti-European Attitudes among the Young Poles and the Role of the Domestic Context
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Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences
Publication date: 2017-06-20
Polish Sociological Review 2017;198(2):141-166
The first generation of Poles whose political horizons have been limited by their country’s membership in the EU by a popular assumption should also be the most pro-European section of the society. However, empirical evidence demonstrates that despite the broad support for Poland’s membership that we see on the surface, young people’s perceptions of the EU are characterised by undercurrent euroscepticism. This undercurrent euroscepticism is less about a pragmatic assessment of benefits and losses, and more about concerns about emotive-symbolic issues, such as authority, self-determination, sovereignty, national identity and values. While the benefits of the EU membership are often taken for granted, the concerns about sovereignty understood in an old-fashioned way are brought to the fore in young people’s perceptions of the EU. The article focuses on the role of the domestic political context and how the real and perceived generation gap plays into it. The paper calls for comprehensive education about European integration and critical thinking and media consumption literacy in order to diminish the susceptibility of young people to anti-European cues by political entrepreneurs.
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