- Religion and euroskepticism: direct, indirect or no effects?
- West European Politics
- Volume | Issue number
- 32 | 6
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
Taking as starting points the (growing) political significance of religion and increasing scepticism towards European integration, this study sets out to investigate the impact of religious divides and religiosity on attitudes towards the EU, both on the micro and on the macro level. In addition to considering direct effects, it focuses on the mediated nature of relationships between religion and Euroscepticism through immigration attitudes and authoritarian value orientations. Drawing on data from the 2006 European Social Survey the authors find that individuals' religious attachments have only indirect relevance for explaining Euroscepticism when controlling for immigration attitudes and value orientations. Religious context, however, does contribute to explanatory models of Euroscepticism, with citizens of Protestant countries being more Eurosceptic than those in religiously mixed or in Catholic countries. The authors furthermore show that both authoritarianism and anti-immigration attitudes are to some degree influenced by individuals' denomination and level of religiosity and in turn predict Euroscepticism. Yet, even indirect effects of religion on Euroscepticism are small or appear to cancel each other out. The article concludes that religion on the micro level is largely irrelevant for explaining Euroscepticism, whereas it is an important macro-level explanatory variable.
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