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date: 06 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

In the relation between regional identities and regional institutions, scholars have explored two differing dimensions of it. Political scientists typically consider how and to what degree established institutions affect feelings of community and identity in particular regions. Area specialists and historians often “reverse the causal arrow,” asking how preexisting senses of community facilitate the emergence of regional organizations. Whichever direction one views the relation, this chapter argues it is simultaneously both over- and under-studied. For one particular region (Europe) and regional institution (the European Union) we have a rich, interdisciplinary set of findings. Outside of Europe, we know less. This is both a reflection of weaker institutions with shorter histories and a function of our scholarship, with suggestive stories of identity’s role often substituting for systematic analysis. Regardless of the region, future work on the institutions/identity nexus needs to take more seriously both domestic context and process.

Keywords: identity, European Union, regional organization, political science, process, domestic context, community

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