How Our Collective Representations Affect the Future of the European Union

in The International Journal of Social Quality

Differences between various groups and classes in perceptions of social reality result in different interpretations of social and cultural events—collective representations—which can cause opposition and conflicts among social groups. This contribution analyzes this complex problem, especially in relation to two pivotal concepts: individualism and collectivism. In most political discussions, these concepts are used in opposition to each other, even though they are always interdependent. Moreover, in a modern society we can distinguish between seven types of individualism and six types of collectivism. Finally, this analysis of collective representations is connected with questions related to the present problems confronting the European Union (EU). With the introduction of the concepts of collective representation, collective identity, and the opposition between individualism and collectivism, we have paved our way toward an efficient debate about the future of the EU.