Iuventa / Výskum mládeže / Data catalogue / 2002 / Youth and European identity

Youth and European identity

Research identification sheet ID: DAYR 003

Author of the survey: EYI -The Orientations of Young Men and Women to Citizenship and European  Identity, Lynne Jamieson (University in Edinburgh  - UK), Ladislav Macháček,  Barbara Lašticová, Gabriel Bianchi (Slovak Academy of Sciences -Slovakia)
Period of data collection: quantitative (face to face questionnaire - summer and autumn 2002) and qualitative (depth interview - summer and spring 2003) method examining young people between the ages of 18 and 24  in 10 European cities in 6 European countries.
Data collection: ASA = Agency of Social Analysis, Ltd Palisády 19, 814 94 Bratislava 1, Slovak Republic


Aims of the project:  Describe typical features and meaning of "being a European" for young people from strategically selected parts of Europe in perspective of constructing their personal identity such  as gender as well as constructing their local, regional, ethnic or national identities.

Describe ideals and procedures of respondents connected with friendship and family, locality, neighbourhood or local community, region, nation, Europe and global society. 

Describe the way how respondents perceive citizenship, mainly explain the range of impact of citizenship on social duties and civil participation, privileges and rights as a consequence of birth and origin, national and ethnic-based citizenship, how citizenship influences integration or exclusion, how does tolerance or chauvinism and racism manifest themselves.

Document the orientation of respondents on migration and transnational interconnection by means of how they regard their family history, desires and feelings connected with the competence to carry out international mobility, experience and perception of migrants within their region and outside their region/nation.

Examine variations of orientation to European citizenship according to nationality and region, gender, professional career and social circumstances.

European Identity is not an easy survey topic. Therefore, it is questionable what survey methods and techniques are suitable for acquiring relevant information. When examining attitudes to cultural diversity we tried to ask young people from 10 European cities (year 2002) whether they agree with certain statements, after whose acceptance or refusal they would not be one-sidedly viewed or considered as racist.

One of the questions was: "From your point of view, should the following group of people be accepted in (name of the country) without any restrictions, should they be accepted with some restrictions or they should not be accepted at all?"

Respondents were then asked various categories of immigrants: from EU member states, from non-member states of the EU, from non-European countries.

Reasons for immigration: search for work, asylum due to human rights violation. In addition, we probed views on criteria that the people searching for citizenship in their country should match.

Survey allowed us to talk with some respondents deeper in semi-structured dialogue. Such semi-structured dialogues enable better examination of how people view themselves and their interpretation of such complicated questions can be understood better.

Results of the survey: 

Impression that immigrants that are not integrated become a threat is more and more connected with the idea that some of them are not willing to integrate and often culminates in mentality that gives preference to "Europe" as a fortress.

In each country, in Bratislava too, comments of this kind are more typical about Romanies than about immigrants.  Slovakia has not in comparison with other countries such a populous ethnic community formed by immigrants. Exception is the Chinese-Vietnam community that is integrated "into itself". Slovakia mainly has its own Romanies that represent the same challenge for integration as do the Turks, the Moroccans, the Algerians, the Chechens and the Macedonians in other countries.

Bratislava and Slovakia are confronted with the issue of Romany people that are accused by the media of abuse of the benefits of social and health system. Their flexible reaction to discovered possibilities of economic asylum tourism in Europe had an unexpected impact on the restoring of visa by EU member states to Slovakia.


Some respondents tend to connect competition for jobs, difficulties with acquiring social benefits or the fact that they become victims of crime with  "immigrants" as it is one-sidedly negatively portrayed by the media. It means that sometimes we find out "learned" racist attitudes and sometimes local experience form cultural-political background for the "articulation" of racist attitudes.

From the view of upbringing and education of children and youth inside and outside the school it is necessary to find a strategic conception of the European Union to be carried and supported. Survey of young people and their European identity yields information that not quite clearly confirms which of the three will assert itself. It seems that for some immigration waves and cultures Europe must represent a „fortress" and they should rather stay outside its walls. Other immigration cultures are able to integrate successfully and others even win recognition as peculiar enrichment of the European multicultural society.   

Type of sampling, collection and sample:

Sample: Prague N = 396 and Bratislava = 397 young people between the ages of 18 and 24. Control sample: Prague N = 89 and Bratislava N = 98 young people in the age from 18 to24.

Selected areas are in four pairs of nations or states and regions with contrast history of cultural alignment for or against the European identity and the participation on the building of national and ethnic-based citizenship - Austria, Spain, Germany, Slovak Republic, Czech Republic and Great Britain.

Two applied methods for acquiring empirical material: structured questionnaire - quantitative methodology (in a form of interview) and semi-structured interview - qualitative methodology. The aim of this combination was not only to secure the maximum possible achievable complexity of data, but at the same time it enabled targeted and collective orientation of the semi-structured interview on areas that were not satisfactorily or sufficiently covered by data from the questionnaire.

Naturally, sample that these two methodologies were applied on was different; semi-structured interview was carried out on approximately 6% of the sample from the questionnaire, totally 224 semi-structured interviews in ten European places. Since the total sample of the project participants to whom the quantitative questionnaire had been administrated comprised two groups - random representative sample (cca 4000 participants) and "elite" (university students with specialization appropriate for EU career - languages, international trade and the like - ca 1000 participants), participants for  the interview were naturally selected from both subgroups. 


Macháček L.: Youth in Slovakia and European Identity, SI SASC, Bratislava 2004, s.100   icon  download (792.10 KB)

Jamieson L.: Orientations of Young Men and Women to Citizenship and European Identity.    download (104.96 KB)

Quotation: SI SASC in Bratislava Youth and European Identity January 2002 / October 2004   


icon Questionnaire in English and Slovak (224.76 KB)