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Title: What is euroscepticism and how do we measure it?
Authors: Guerra, Simona
First Published: 1-Dec-2014
Publisher: Edward Elgar
Citation: Guerra, S, What is euroscepticism and how do we measure it?, ed. Usherwood, S, ;Startin, N;Guerra, S, 'New Dimensions in Euroscepticism and Opposition to the EU', Edward Elgar
Abstract: In its analytical and descriptive dimensions, the term euroscepticism has often been used and abused (Forster 2002: 1). Its meaning based on a ‘suspended judgement’ (Tiersky 2001: 3) brings with it a shadow of negativity, even if the concept does not embrace any comprehensive ideology (Flood 2002a in Gower: 73-77). Taggart provides a definition as ‘encompassing’, expressing ‘the idea of contingent or qualified opposition, as well as incorporating outright and unqualified opposition to the process of European integration’ (1998: 365-366). Later, the distinction between ‘hard’, as ‘a principled opposition to the EU and European integration’, and ‘soft’ euroscepticism, when ‘there is not a principled objection to European integration or EU membership’ (2002: 7) addressed also the difficulty of measuring the concept, as parties may use euroscepticism as a combination of both electoral strategic and coalition tactical factors. The distinction of further degrees as ‘Europhobia’ and ‘Europragmatism’ in Kopeckỳ and Mudde (2002), as a ‘maverick issue’ cutting the left-right wing arena of political parties (Sitter 2001), and a more nuanced measurement from ‘maximalist’ to ‘rejectionist (Flood 2002b) are not able to fully capture both the quality and the degrees that can describe the phenomenon in a comparative framework. Refining their framework of analysis, Szczerbiak and Taggart (2008: 242) stress that while examining attitudes towards the EU, the analysis should first focus on the EU, and second to attitudes ‘towards further actual or planned extensions of EU competencies’. A recent work by Cas Mudde compares two groups of school, the Sussex and North Carolina ones, across four dimensions, definitions, data and method, scope, and explanations, and suggests to study the phenomenon using a mixed method approach. Current debates also examine euroscepticism at the party, public opinion and civil society levels, and address how the same framework can be applied to different subjects of analysis. Further studies challenge all our previous knowledge and point to the embeddedness of the phenomenon to the process of European integration (Usherwood and Sitter 2011). Finally, it is worth noting that party-based euroscepticism does not necessarily translate into public euroscepticism, and there may not be a relationship between eurosceptic or euroenthusiast voting into eurosceptic and euroenthusiast political parties at national and European Parliament elections. Firstly, this chapter provides a brief literature review; secondly, it seeks to explore how to measure and explain a phenomenon that is difficult to be described, takes the colours of its environment, and is generally linked to time frames; thirdly, it examines its salience and how it can impact on political and policy debates at the national and European levels.
Series/Report no.: New Horizons in European Politics Series;
ISBN: 1782548297
Embargo on file until: 1-Jan-10000
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Chapter
Rights: Copyright © 2014, Edward Elgar.
Description: The file associated with this record is embargoed while permission to archive is sought from the publisher. The final published version may be available through the links above.
Appears in Collections:Books & Book Chapters, Dept. of Politics and International Relations

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