Comparative European Politics

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 61–80

Nationalism Across Borders: Transnational Nationalist Advocacy in the European Union

  • Devashree Gupta
Original Article

DOI: 10.1057/palgrave.cep.6110127

Cite this article as:
Gupta, D. Comp Eur Polit (2008) 6: 61. doi:10.1057/palgrave.cep.6110127


Research on transnational protest activity in Europe typically focuses on cases in which the European Union (EU) is the source and target of social movements that take issues with either specific policies at the European level or the project of integration itself. This paper expands this narrow view of transnational contention in Europe by examining how the EU can redefine and affect the relationship between movements and states by interacting with transnational movements in varied ways ranging from patron to adversary. Taking transnational nationalist movements as my central example, I argue that the EU regularly interposes itself in the contentious relationship between movements and states through five key mechanisms: brokerage, certification, de-certification, resource transfer, and displacement. These mechanisms vary in terms of their intentionality. In some cases, the EU, through its institutions and officials, makes deliberate choices that alter the ability of movements to form alliances and to pursue their goals. In other cases, the EU emerges as a more inadvertent participant, although even in such circumstances, it can have a lasting effect on a movement's ability to operate. I find that through these five mechanisms, the EU can alter the terms on which movements and states meet, although the result is not always positive for transnational movements seeking aid and allies against more powerful state actors. Ultimately, the EU's impact on the balance of power can have both positive and negative consequences for movements that choose to take advantage of the expanded political space of the EU by organizing transnationally.


nationalism transnationalism European Union social movements mechanisms European Free Alliance 

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Devashree Gupta
    • 1
  1. 1.Carleton CollegeNorthfieldUSA

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