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Political Science in Europe

Who is ‘We’? Drawing Identity Boundaries and their Consequences

Europe (Central and Eastern)
Foreign Policy
National Identity
Political Sociology
Section Number
Section Chair
Tuuli-Marja Kleiner
Thünen Institute of Rural Studies
Section Co-Chair
Ireneusz Pawel Karolewski
University of Leipzig

Collective identities do not necessarily always mean harmonious integration. One significant aspect of collective identity is the inside-outside boundary making. Together with external boundaries, there are a number of meaningful internal boundaries which can be identified beyond official borders and demarcations.

Images like the US police shooting black men, anti-Islamic demonstrations in numerous European countries, heavy-handed propaganda in the Russia-Ukraine conflict or thousands of demonstrators waving Turkish flags in Cologne remind us of such boundaries within societies shaped by gender, ethnicity, class, life-style etc. that seem to promote and justify inclusion/exclusion processes as well as positive/negative discrimination.

Similarly, beyond the national level, it is often unclear who is meant when talking about ‘the Europeans’ or ‘the West’. Still, this boundary has become a meaningful one for the formulation and legitimation of foreign policy.

Central to this Section is the very question of how group boundaries are generated and by what consequences such processes are accompanied.

Based on the scholarly network of the ECPR Standing Group on Identity, the Section will focus on the mechanisms and consequences of drawing boundaries based on collective identities by dealing with four main areas:

• The processes of group definition and mechanisms of drawing boundaries
• The way of “othering” and inequality, e.g. strategies of marginalization and exclusion
• Strategies of collectivization in foreign policy
• Collective boundaries, the relationship between dominant groups and minorities, and reactions of out-group members to othering

Scholars are invited to propose both Panels and individual Papers which promise new insights and fresh ideas based on empirical as well as theoretically grounded research.

Tuuli-Marja Kleiner is a post-doctoral researcher and lecturer at the Department of Political Science at the University of Hagen (Germany). She holds a PhD in political science from the University of Hamburg. In her doctoral thesis, Tuuli-Marja investigated whether cultural similarities between European nations foster mutual trust.
Her present research focuses on European trust, collective identity, political identity and political engagement. Currently, she is working on the question how mass political identification is formed by moral values. Recent publications include Does polarization lead to political engagement? (published in Swiss Political Science Review), Why We Trust Other Nations (Comparative Sociology), Trust Towards Other People: Co-nationals, Europeans, People Outside Europe (with Bettina Westle, published in: European Identity in the Context of National Identity, Oxford University Press), and Commonality and EU identification: The perception of value sharing as a foundation of European identity (with Nicola Bücker, in: European identity revisited, Routledge).
Tuuli-Marja has been organizing several conference panels; i.e. ECPR, research conferences at local universities and section-conference on comparative politics (DVPW), and was involved in the organization of the “BürgerUniversität” in Hagen (University for Citizens).
In 2016, Kleiner was elected as new member of the Steering Committee of the ECPR Standing Group on Identity for a three-year term. For more information, see:

Ireneusz Pawel Karolewski is professor of political science at the Willy Brandt Center for German and European Studies at the University of Wroclaw (Poland). He holds a PhD in political science from the University of Potsdam, his research interests include European identity and nationalism in Europe; recent publications: European Identity Revisited (Routledge, 2016), Extraterritorial Citizenship in Postcommunist Europe (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), Citizenship and collective Identity in Europe (Routledge, 2010). Karolewski is Co-Initiator of the ECPR Standing Group on Identity in 2011 and was re-elected as Co-Convenor in 2014 for a three-year term.

Panel List

Code Title Details
P003‘Us and them’: Community-building and Citizenship Legitimation through Collective Identity View Panel Details
P039Challenges to European Identity View Panel Details
P052Collective Identities in Refugees' and Migrants' Perspective View Panel Details
P238National Identities between Discourses and Boundaries View Panel Details
P293Politics and Policies of Identity View Panel Details
P433Theoretical Perspectives and Narratives of Identity View Panel Details
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