Fluency on Foreign Languages and European Identification
This seminar focuses on the causal impact of speaking various languages in the development of cosmopolitan identifications and develops a theoretical argument that highlights the mediating roles of communicative and socio-psychological processes. At the empirical level, it analyzes a rich dataset that includes information on European identification and chronologically organized biographical information on the skills and experiences accumulated by individuals over the life course. The data originate in a web-based survey of a randomly selected sample of married and cohabiting individuals in national and European bi-national couples in seven European cities. The statistical results convey that European identification is still at more a matter of awareness than emotion. Furthermore, it reveals that speaking various languages strongly contributes to making it available in people’s minds. Finally, the statistical findings are consistent with an interpretation that emphasizes both communication—through strong transnational bonds—and socio-psychological processes linked to the subjective experience of multiple selves.