Research project

TRANSNATIONAL - The Transnational Divide: Local Triggers, Social Networks, and Group Identities

Polarisation over the combative issues of immigration, Europe and climate change is intensifying across the EU. This project will study the social contexts in which citizens respond to major events. It will try to explain the growing incidence of group solidarity and affective polarisation.

This project is funded by the European Research Council (ERC)

This project received funding from the European Commission Horizon 2020 programme under the grant agreement number 885026;

Polarisation over the combative issues of immigration, Europe and climate change is intensifying across the EU. While recent research has improved understanding of individual attitudes and party-political competition, there is no theory to explain how a person’s social context forms a response to these issues. Such a theory would allow understanding of the growing incidence of group solidarity and affective polarisation in European societies. The EU-funded TRANSNATIONAL project will study the social contexts in which citizens respond to major events. The project will combine insights from related literature with networks and identity formation, providing the prospect of a unified theory of political conflict. TRANSNATIONAL will combine national surveys, natural experiments and semi-structured interviews to deliver a comparative scheme and examine how local populations react to specific situational stimuli. TRANSNATIONAL seeks to explain a surprising and consequential feature of contemporary democratic politics—the intensity of polarization on immigration, Europe, and climate change. While recent research has made impressive advances in understanding individual attitudes and party-political competition, there is currently no empirically verified theory of how a person’s social context shapes their response to issues that arise on the political agenda. Without such a framework we cannot understand the rising incidence of group solidarity and affective polarization in our societies. TRANSNATIONAL combines insights from the literatures concerned with networks and identity formation to theorize the social contexts in which people respond to major events. This approach provides a micro-social foundation for Lipset & Rokkan’s classic cleavage analysis and offers the prospect of a unified theory of political conflict. TRANSNATIONAL gains inferential leverage in the face of causal complexity by linking national surveys, natural experiments, and semi-structured interviews in three modules. The first module provides a comparative frame by conducting a cross-sectional survey of political attitudes, identities, and digital and face-to-face networks on the transnational divide in six countries. Modules 2 and 3 drill down by devising natural experiments that allow deep investigation of how local populations respond to a specific situational trigger. These are a) spatial proximity to refugee housing; b) the variable effect on UK localities of exit from the EU; c) new climate impact scores that differentially affect rural and urban localities.

[TEXT FROM CORDIS WEBPAGE https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/885026 ]

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