Historical Narratives of Victimhood and Support for European Integration

In this working paper Mareike Kleine and Giorgio Ravalli consider how a country’s narrative of its role in history affect its propensity for international cooperation.

To answer this question, the authors employ survey experiments in five European countries to explore whether exposure to victimhood narratives affects the subjects’ attitudes towards financial aid, the establishment of a common army and generosity in international negotiations. The findings are that the direction and magnitude of this “victimhood effect” depends to a large extend on the type of cooperation and the country’s actual victimhood experience. It is modified by the subjects’ religious identification and political leaning. In contrast, positive historical narratives have no bearing on the subjects’ attitudes toward international cooperation.

Download the working paper here.

Keywords: European Integration, Victimhood Narratives, International Co-operation, EU Policy

Mareike Kleine is Professor of European and International Politics at the Freie Universität Berlin and Associate Professor at the London School of Economics.

Giorgio Ravalli is a PhD candidate in economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science.