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Structural relationship among the determinants of Croatian citizens' opinions towards Croatia's membership in the European Union


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Landripet, Ivan. (2012). Structural relationship among the determinants of Croatian citizens' opinions towards Croatia's membership in the European Union. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Sociology. [mentor Štulhofer, Aleksandar].

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In this thesis, the relationship between popular attitude towards Croatia's membership in the European Union and its fundamental determinants – measures stemming from utilitarian, symbolic, and institutional approaches - was conceptualized as a structural model. Focus was thus placed on relations among the determinants and the impact that direct and mediated effects bear on the structure of eurodisposition prediction. The basic assumption behind this attempt was that examination of a broad spectrum of predictors in terms of their interdependence will prove conceptually and analytically more useful in exploring the subject compared to most of the approaches employed in the existing EU-studies. Analyses were performed using data from a study of attitudes, beliefs, and informedness of Croatian citizens in relation to the European Union, Croatia's accession to and membership in the EU. The study, coauthored by the candidate, was carried out on a national probability sample of 1,005 Croatian citizens (18 years of age and older) in 2007. The survey was conducted by face-to-face interviews. Research project that the study was a part of was funded by the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Croatia (PHARE program) and the Office for Gender Equality of the Croatian Government. The main analytical tool was structural equation modeling (covariance structure analysis), a multivariate technique which enables testing of complex hypothetical models by simultaneously examining a series of dependence relationships. Results indicate that the Croatian citizens' eurodispositions were substantially influenced by their assessment of various economic and political outcomes of the country's future EU-membership, as well as by evaluation of the EU's capacity to foster attainment of socially desirable goals within the member-states. Immediate effect of symbolic factors on EU-support (e.g., perception of cultural threat, national and European identity) proved to be marginal or even non-existent, which can be ascribed to consensual support for eurointegrations among the political and soci al elites and the consequential absence of polarizing influences on the public opinion. Ho wever, the impact of symbolic (identity- and value-based) determinants must not be underestimated, as they seem to have provided the citizens with the grounds for making utilitarian calculations and evaluations concerning the EU-related issues. More specifically, European identity bolstered both institutional trust in the European Union and perception of utilitarian benefits from Croatia's EU-membership, while it simultaneously curtailed the levels of perceived utilitarian, as well as symbolic, costs of the membership. National identity in its inclusive, multicultural, aspect generated comparable effects. In contrast, exclusive, ethno-nationalistic, aspect of national identity increased the level of perceived threats to cultural identity and national sovereignty – as well as to country's human and economic resources – as potential outcomes of the EU-membership. An indication that effects of some of the fundamental eurodisposition determinants (primarily those symbolic) were mostly mediated by other determinants (primarily those utilitarian) is the key finding that was conceptually neglected and analytically overlooked by majority of the existing EU-studies. This disserta tion is therefore expected to contribute to the field of popular euroscepticism research at conceptual, methodological, and empirical levels. Conceptually, it provides an overview and evaluation of conventional frameworks and produces a tentative structural model of eurodisposition prediction that can serve as an outline, if not a template, in future research on Croatian citizens' attitude towards the EU and the eurointegrations. Methodologically, it demonstrates implementation of structural equation modeling to analyses within the field of popu lar eurodisposition research and advocates its wider adoption. Empirically, it furthers understanding of the popular attitude towards the EU and the eurointegration process in Croatia. As a conclusion, recommendations for continuous research in the field and specific directions for conceptual and analytical refinement of this approach are provided.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: European Union, eurointegrations, Croatian citizens, popular eurodispositions, euroscepticism, determinants of popular attitude towards the European Union, structural model, structural equation modeling
Subjects: Sociology
Departments: Department of Sociology
Supervisor: Štulhofer, Aleksandar
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2014 11:57
Last Modified: 09 Jul 2014 13:09

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