Multilingualism and European Identification Articles uri icon

publication date

  • August 2018

start page

  • 410

end page

  • 434


  • 88

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0038-0245

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1475-682X


  • The literature on ethnicity and nationalism notes the centrality of language in group formation. Developments connected to globalization have simultaneously propitiated learning more than one language and the emergence of post-national and pan-ethnic identifications. This article brings the literature on ethnicity and nationalism to bear on the analysis of these changes to assess the causal relationship between multilingualism (ML) and European identification (EI). Sociology and social psychology provide solid theoretical arguments for why they should be related. The article tests this relationship with Eurobarometer data from 2010. I show that ML has a causal impact on EI and that interaction helps mediate this relationship. The effect of language on EI is modest, however, and interaction does not appear to be the main mechanism mediating it. The article concludes with speculation as to the role of low relative cross-national mobility in Europe as the main explanation for some of the findings.