United by Guilt: The Influence of Guilt on Dimensions of Support Regarding European Union Integration




Einsel, Anthony Owet

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This dissertation project looks to examine the philosophical and social arguments made by individuals like Pascal Bruckner about a guilt culture pervading across Europe and a possible connection to support for European Union integration. It draws upon the content of his book The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay in Western Masochism, previously established essays and research on guilt, support for European Union integration, referendum results from various EU treaties, interviews with Members of the European Parliament, and their rhetoric alongside other EU officials. Given the very utilitarian cost/benefit dimension of integration, especially amongst most of the interviewed MEPs and general public, guilt may not be applicable in describing support for EU integration except in certain Member States, and amongst the political, intellectual, and academic elite who are not only more inclined to believe such through their rhetoric and policy recommendations. In an age of economic downturn, people seem more interested in finding a way to live than feeling guilty about their country’s own identity, and if they are, it may be a matter isolated from their view of EU integration.



European Union, Conflict resolution, Integration, Eurozone, Guilt