Social representation of European Union

Önal, Elif Sandal
The main aim of this study was to reveal the prevailing social representations of European Union. In order to fulfill the aim, first a semi-structured interview was conducted to 13 demographically different individuals and the content analysis of the interviews revealed five categories namely, Turkey’s membership to EU, Problems of Turkey, Structure of EU, EU as Disadvantageous and EU as Advantageous. Second, in order to examine the media representation of EU, three newspapers representing different political views were qualitatively analyzed and the dimensions of EU as a must, EU as a threat, and EU as difficult were exposed. Finally, according to the thematic units and categories generated from the qualitative analyses; a “Social Representations of EU” scale was formed and applied to 243 university students. Four sub-scales, namely EU membership is disadvantageous, EU membership is advantageous, religious and cultural threats and EU membership is difficult were extracted from the scale with the reliability coefficients varying from .61 to .88. In order to investigate whether the different factors of social representations of EU are differing on particular dimensions as political view, exposure to media, newspapers read or SES levels, variance analyses were performed. On the other hand, for answering the question of whether the representations of EU could be predicted from life expectations, perceived political agenda or individual dimensions multiple regression analyses were held. Significant differences were found in EU membership is disadvantageous representation in terms of university (Gazi University-METU), gender, and political views of newspapers read. EU membership is advantageous representation differed along the levels of gender and newspapers read. Religious and cultural threats were to be differed along the levels of university, gender, political view, newspapers read and exposure to media. Finally significant differences in EU as difficult representation was found in terms of the ideology of the newspapers read. Feelings toward EU and evaluation of the membership dimensions were found to contribute to the prediction of EU as disadvantageous, EU as advantageous, religious and cultural threats, and EU as difficult representations. Moreover, religious and cultural threats representation is significantly predicted from political view and media exposure.


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Citation Formats
E. S. Önal, “Social representation of European Union,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2007.