Competing with ‘Others': Economic Globalization Framing Professional Identities of EU Civil Servants and Lobbyists

Monday, 11 July 2016: 16:15
Location: Hörsaal 4A KS (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Tero ERKKILÄ, University of Helsinki, Finland
Attila KRIZSÁN, University of Turku, Finland
The paper explores the identities of EU civil servants and lobbyists based in Brussels. We aim at opening the constituents of the transnational “European identity” of the civil servants and lobbyists. We ask, whether their national identity has been complemented by something new when entering Brussels and if so, by what? Analyzing survey and interview data, we conclude that among our respondents in the EU civil service and organisations of interest representation a European identification pattern has become stronger at the cost of national and local identification. However, assessing the respondents’ views on “Europe and what it means to be a European”, we identify new signifiers related to global competition that do not stem from any particular European or national semantic field and are constructed as ‘us’ competing with ‘others’. As it seems, EU civil servants’ and lobbyists perceptions of Europe and “European interest” seemed to be related to factors of economic globalization and the frame of competition it imposes; furthermore, they represented their nationalism much stronger in relation to a frame of competition as well. Therefore we conclude that economic globalization has a crucial influence on both European and national aspects of professional identities of civil servants and lobbyists in Brussels.