• Towards a Sociology of the EU: The Relationship between Socio-economic Status and Ethnicity and Young People’s European Knowledge, Attitudes and Identities

      Slavtcheva-Petkova, Vera; University of Chester (SAGE, 2015-07-26)
      This article explores the relationship between social backgrounds—socio-economic status and ethnicity—and European knowledge, identities and attitudes to European Union (EU) membership in two member states—the Eastern European newcomer Bulgaria and the Western European notoriously Eurosceptic United Kingdom. Itadopts an empirical sociological approach in line with recent calls for more sociological input into EU studies. By drawing on 174 individual interviews with 9-/10-year-old primary school pupils, the article is focused on young people: a group that ‘holds the key’ to the future of the EU, yet is entirely neglected by academics and policy makers. The findings suggest that despite the substantial national differences, the significance of socio-economic status and ethnicity is strong cross-nationally. European identity is largely elite and racialized and those at the margins of society in my sample are not at all involved in the European project. A key theoretical contribution this article makes is to move beyond mono-causal explanations by providing an account of the intersection of national context, socio-economic status and ethnicity in relation to young people’s European identities.