Multiple Embeddedness and Socialization in Europe: The Case of Council Officials
Feeding from empirical as well as conceptual inquiry, this paper questions the hypothesis of a clear-cut shift from national towards EU-level allegiance on the part of national officials. Actors, it is maintained, are embedded in multiple social environments, among which the national element remains of primary importance.
ARENA Working Paper 33/2002 (html)
Early studies on European socialisation hypothesised that social interactions crosscutting national borders and transcending the national level lead actors to shift their allegiances towards the European level. Although this is a key question for many studies on European socialisation, this paper argues that this hypothesis ignores that actors are embedded not in one, but in multiple social environments. This paper attempts to go beyond this so-called contact hypothesis; it tries to take into account the actors’ multiple embeddedness and, based on quantitative interview data, it investigates under which conditions supranational role conceptions are adopted. In contrast with the idea that intensive Euro-level interactions cause actors to adopt supranational role conceptions or to supplement intergovernmental roles with supranational roles, it is shown that an extensive exposure to the European level does not lead to more supranational role conceptions. On the contrary, it seems that various domestic experiences seem to affect role conceptions more substantially than Euro-level experiences.