Clémentine Chaigneau


"On the road to the European Union how much do collective narratives matter? A comparison between Serbia and Croatia" (Working Title)

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The aim of this research is to find out whether (and how much) collective narratives can account for the different progression of Serbia and Croatia toward joining the European Union (EU). Though these two neighboring countries share a number of commonalities such as a similar regional status, recent participation in ethnic war, the belonging to the same political entity between 1918 and 1991 as well as shared legacies of communism, they have followed diverging paths towards the EU. Croatia recently became the 28th EU Member state (in July 2013) while Serbia has not started its negotiation process yet. Based on a constructivist approach, this work considers that historical and cultural factors are driving forces in the process of European integration. By focusing on the concept of collective narratives (CNs), this project aims at understanding the role and impact of (long-term) history. I suggest that collective narratives shape public attitudes by framing people’s perception of their country’s identity, place and role. In so doing, these narratives affect people’s perception of political reality which in turn influences their political behavior (Patterson & Monroe, 1998: 315). Collective narratives may thus constrain governmental decision-making. The purpose of this research is threefold: It aims at 1) analyzing the kind of arguments that citizens use to justify their position about European integration, 2) studying the presence and role of collective narratives in their discourse, as well as at 3) assessing whether and to what extent collective narratives can have an impact the quality and speed of the accession process.


Prof. Dr. Klaus Schlichte, University of Bremen
Prof. Dr. Ulrike Liebert, University of Bremen
Dr. Jelena Subotic, Georgia State University