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Based on a unique survey among members of top level elites in eleven fields of activity in Germany, we investigate (1) elite-mass opinion incongruence and (2) the polarization of elites’ positions on four contested denationalization issues. Our results show that the elite-mass attitudinal gap is significant for items directly tapping support for the further opening up of national borders, even when controlling for education, age, gender, place of residence, and political orientation. By contrast, elites across different fields of activity hold rather consensual positions on the issues of denationalization explored in the survey. Transnational networking and transnational mobility are not significantly associated with attitudes toward these issues. Elites with a strong supranational identity are significantly more strongly in favor of opening up borders to immigrants and increasing aid to developing countries.
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How Denationalization Divides Elites and Citizens
Cline Teney*
Universität Bremen, Zentrum für Sozialpolitik, Postfach 330440, 28334 Bremen, Germany; WZB Berlin Social Science Center.
Marc Helbling
WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Reichpietschufer 50, 10785 Berlin, Germany.
Summary: Based on a unique survey among members of top level elites in eleven fields of activity in Germany, we inves-
tigate (1) elite-mass opinion incongruence and (2) the polarization of elites’ positions on four contested denationaliza-
tion issues. Our results show that the elite-mass attitudinal gap is significant for items directly tapping support for the
further opening up of national borders, even when controlling for education, age, gender, place of residence, and politi-
cal orientation. By contrast, elites across different fields of activity hold rather consensual positions on the issues of de-
nationalization explored in the survey. Transnational networking and transnational mobility are not significantly asso-
ciated with attitudes toward these issues. Elites with a strong supranational identity are significantly more strongly in
favor of opening up borders to immigrants and increasing aid to developing countries.
Keywords: Elites; Globalization; Transnationalism; Attitudes; Social Cleavage; Germany.
Zusammenfassung: Auf der Grundlage einer einmaligen Befragung von Eliten in Top-Positionen in elf Tätigkeitsfeldern
erforschen wir (1) Inkongruenzen von Meinungen zwischen den Eliten und der Bevçlkerung und (2) die Polarisierung
von Eliten-Positionen zu vier umstrittenen Denationalisierungs-Themen. Unsere Ergebnisse zeigen, dass die Kluft zwi-
schen den Eliten und der Bevçlkerung in jenen Fragen signifikant ausfällt, die in einem direkten Zusammenhang mit der
weiteren Öffnung nationaler Grenzen stehen. Dieser Zusammenhang bleibt auch dann bestehen, wenn wir auf Bildung,
Alter, Geschlecht, Wohnsitz und politische Orientierung kontrollieren. Im Gegensatz dazu nehmen Eliten, unabhängig
von ihren Tätigkeitsfeldern, vergleichsweise einvernehmliche Positionen zu Fragen der Denationalisierung ein. Transna-
tionale Aktivitäten und Mobilität stehen in keinem signifikanten Zusammenhang mit Einstellungen zu den vier unter-
suchten Themen. Eliten mit einer stark ausgeprägten supranationalen Identität sprechen sich allerdings deutlich häufiger
dafür aus, die Grenzen für Einwanderer zu çffnen und die Entwicklungszusammenarbeit zu intensivieren.
Schlagwçrter: Eliten; Globalisierung; Transnationalismus; Einstellungen; Soziale Spaltung; Deutschland.
1 Introduction
The lack of opinion congruence between elites and
citizens and its potential implications for the qual-
ity of democracies have long been a crucial issue in
the social sciences. This issue recently gained more
attention from the scientific community since, as a
result of growing economic, political and cultural
globalization pressures, the divide between political
elites and the general population seems to have be-
come more severe. This elite-mass divide is argued
to be one of the sources of citizens’ increasing disaf-
fection with the political debate (Crouch 2004), as
well as for the increasing success of populist radical
right parties in Europe (Ignazi 1992; Mudde 2004).
Evidence for this elite-mass gap in traditional-liber-
tarian opinions and values has been observed in
various democracies (see, for example, Holsti
2004; Kaina 1997; McAllister 1991). According to
these studies, elites hold significantly more liberal
positions than the general population on issues
such as environmental protection, gender equality,
law enforcement, or postmaterialist values.
Beyond such differences in traditional-libertarian
attitudes, various studies have recently been focus-
ing on the lack of elite-mass opinion congruence on
the process of European integration. The failed
258  Lucius & Lucius Verlag Stuttgart Zeitschrift für Soziologie, Jg. 43, Heft 4, August 2014, S. 258–271
* We would like to thank Ruud Koopmans, Bernhard
Weßels, Pieter de Wilde, the participants of the collo-
quium of the Migration and Diversity research unit at the
WZB Social Science Center in Berlin, as well as the re-
viewers and editors of Zeitschrift für Soziologie for their
helpful suggestions on earlier versions of this paper. We
are grateful to Jutta Allmendinger, Elisabeth Bunselmeyer,
Marc Holland-Cunz and Katrin Dribbisch for having or-
ganized the German elite survey.
French and Dutch referenda on the EU constitution
in 2005 indeed indicated that the general popula-
tion was far less supportive of the EU project than
their political representatives. This, in turn, has mo-
tivated the launch of a research agenda on the elite-
mass opinion incongruence regarding European in-
tegration. These studies have all come to similar
conclusions: Whereas most European elites largely
support the EU project, a large part of the general
population remains skeptical about further Euro-
pean integration (Best et al. 2012; Flockhart 2005;
Hooghe 2003; Mattila & Raunio 2006; Steenber-
gen et al. 2007).
In this article, we investigate the extent to which
the polarization of elites and the general population
on European integration is part of a more general
elite-mass divide. This gap encompasses issues of
denationalization, that is, the opening up of
national borders for a variety of international ex-
changes and interactions (Zürn 1998). Indeed, de-
nationalization issues such as European integration
or the opening up of borders to immigrants are po-
larizing western societies along new conflict lines
(Azmanova 2011; Kriesi et al. 2012; Kriesi et al.
2008). For Azmanova (2011), the ideological poles
of traditionalism-libertarianism are evolving into a
cosmopolitanism-sovereigntism division due to dis-
parities in the normative evaluation of the perme-
ability of national borders. She claims that, because
of globalization, an “opportunity-risks cleavage” is
emerging among citizens. This cleavage crosscuts
the traditional left-right axis and encompasses, on
one side, cosmopolitan and open economic posi-
tions and, on the other, sovereigntist and closed
economic positions. Accordingly, denationalization
issues polarize the population into groups of win-
ners and losers that do not necessarily follow classi-
cal social class divisions. Individuals holding a lead-
ing position in society are assumed to represent the
ideal type of winners of globalization: they are
highly likely to perceive globalization as an oppor-
tunity and thus support further integration into the
global system. By contrast, individuals in insecure
socio-economic positions are expected to think of
globalization as putting their economic security at
risk and thus to oppose the opening up of borders
(Teney et al. 2013). Such a new conflict line due to
globalization pressures would lead to a larger sali-
ence of the elite-mass divide on denationalization
In this article we want to assess this elite-mass di-
vide on four contested denationalization issues: im-
migration, international trade, development aid,
and supranational political institutions. These is-
sues refer to the opening up of national borders to
people, goods, economic redistribution, and politi-
cal authority. Moreover, we will investigate the ex-
tent to which positional elites of various fields of
activity are polarized on these issues. Lastly, we
will study the role of elites’ transnational practices
and supranational identification in dividing elites
on these denationalization issues. Our study broad-
ens the scope of previous findings in two ways.
Firstly, we take into account elites from a large
range of relevant fields of activity. This will enable
us to test the generalizability of findings from pre-
vious studies, which mainly focused on national po-
litical elites in several European countries. Sec-
ondly, we will analyze the positions of elites and
the general population not only on European inte-
gration, as others have done (e. g., Best et al. 2012;
Hooghe 2003), but also on four main contested de-
nationalization issues (i. e., immigration, interna-
tional trade, supranational political institutions and
development aid). This will enable us to assess
whether the polarization on European integration
is part of a broader divide that encompasses various
issues dealing with the opening up of national bor-
We thus investigate the power of denationalization
in polarizing elites and citizens along a new conflict
line. The study is based on the analysis of attitudi-
nal items from a face-to-face survey carried out
among the top positional elites in eleven fields of
activity in Germany (Bunselmeyer et al. 2013) and
on the corresponding items available in mass survey
data such as the European Social Survey or the
World Value Survey. Before presenting the data
used in this paper, we will first discuss potential ex-
planations for an elite-mass divide and for polariza-
tion among elites. The results section is divided into
two parts: firstly, we will present the results con-
cerning the elite-mass attitudinal divide; secondly,
we will investigate the extent to which various
characteristics contribute to the polarization of
elites on denationalization. In conclusion, we will
discuss our findings.
2 The Elite-Mass Divide
The first research question of our study concerns
the extent to which denationalization polarizes
elites and the general population along a new con-
flict line. So far, the elite-mass attitudinal incongru-
ence on European integration has received most of
the attention of the European scientific community.
For instance, it has been argued that political elites
Cline Teney & Marc Helbling: How Denationalization Divides Elites and Citizens 259
have been pushing the European integration proc-
ess in a vacuum of public support (Steenbergen et
al. 2007). In our study, by contrast, we will assess
whether the elite-mass gap in the support of Euro-
pean integration is part of a broader societal con-
flict encompassing a wide range of contested dena-
tionalization issues.
Two main explanations for elite-mass opinion in-
congruence have been put forward in the literature.
The first one refers to education differences: elites
are on average more highly educated than the gen-
eral population (McAllister 1991). Since education
is a key factor in shaping liberal and progressive po-
litical opinions, such an educational gap could ex-
plain this elite-mass opinion incongruence. Previous
studies have indeed shown that elites hold on aver-
age more liberal and progressive positions than the
general population (e. g., Holsti 2004; McClosky
& Brill 1983). However, evidence points to the fact
that elites hold significantly more liberal attitudes
than other highly educated citizens (McAllister
1991). Thus, even if education plays an important
role in the endorsement of liberal opinions, it can-
not entirely account for opinion differences be-
tween leaders and the general population. This
leads us to the second potential explanation for the
elite-mass opinion incongruence: elites have been
the main driving actors behind denationalization
processes. They now have to share and defend the
dominant ideology in Western Europe, such as lib-
eral norms and values (Schimmelfennig 2001). In
the age of globalization, this liberal ideology shared
by Western European leaders has been transformed
to encompass denationalization issues such as
European enlargement (Schimmelfennig 2001) or
moral obligations beyond the nation state, such as
cosmopolitanism (Calhoun 2003; Helbling &
Teney 2014).
Socialization processes among the elites explain
why they are relatively unified in defending dena-
tionalization processes. According to Putnam
(1976), personal interactions among elites might be
the main reason behind their shared values. Net-
works of personal (both formal and informal) com-
munication and friendships help create value and
opinion consensus. These personal interactions are
usually not restricted to other influential persons
within the same institutions but also encompass
elites from other fields. These interactions are based
on mutual trust and solidarity and they are facili-
tated by the homogeneity of the elite group in terms
of educational and social backgrounds, recruitment
patterns, or ideological affinities (Putnam 1976).
These bonding interactions lead to a mutual cueing
effect among elites. This would explain why elites
are highly homogeneous in terms of values and be-
liefs representing a dominant ideology, and why the
elite-mass gap cannot be explained by educational
differences alone. Recent empirical evidence for
such an intra-elites mutual cueing effect regarding
European integration has been provided by Müller
et al. (2012), who showed that the agreement be-
tween business and political elites in their positions
on European integration issues is much larger than
between political elites and their voters.
We therefore hypothesize elites to support dena-
tionalization to a much larger extent than citizens,
even when accounting for education differences
(H1). This hypothesis will be tested by taking into
account gender, age, and place of residence since
these socio-demographic characteristics have been
shown to contribute to the polarization of the gen-
eral population into groups of winners and losers
of globalization (Kriesi et al. 2012). Moreover, we
will test this hypothesis by controlling for the left-
right self-placement scale because positions on con-
tested denationalization issues such as immigration,
trade, development aid, and supranational political
institutions are closely linked to personal political
3 Polarization among Elites
Even if elites tend to represent the overall dominant
ideology, such as liberalism and its potential exten-
sion to denationalization issues, this does not neces-
sarily imply that all elites have the same opinion on
denationalization: while we expect large opinion
incongruence between elites and the general popu-
lation, denationalization issues might also polarize
elites. Polarization among elites is nevertheless ex-
pected to be smaller than the elite-mass gap. Two
main factors might account for such polarization.
First of all, elites might hold conflicting opinions
on denationalization issues depending on their
fields of activity. According to the postrecruitment
socialization hypothesis (Putnam 1976), elites’
opinions reflect the interests of the positions and in-
stitutions they represent; thus they might hold di-
vergent or conflicting positions (see also McClosky
& Brill 1983). The recruitment patterns in their
field of activity (e. g., apprenticeships) and the func-
tion held by elites are assumed to shape their opin-
ions (Putnam 1976). This postrecruitment social-
ization is expected to build a certain degree of
cohesion among leaders within institutions (see Su-
varierol 2011 for the case of the EU commission). It
260 Zeitschrift für Soziologie, Jg. 43, Heft 4, August 2014, S. 258–271
would also imply that elites working in institutions
or fields with conflicting interests would hold diver-
gent opinions compared to elites representing insti-
tutions with overlapping interests. Evidence of the
postrecruitment hypothesis for denationalization is-
sues so far has been inconclusive. Best et al. (2012)
show that both political and business elites in Euro-
pean countries strongly favor European integration
and speak of an intra-elites mutual cueing effect on
the European integration issue, arguing that na-
tional elites from different fields form elite systems
that are closely attuned concerning European in-
tegration (Best et al. 2012). By contrast, Holsti
(2004) highlights that US leaders from fields of ac-
tivity with conflicting interests differ significantly
in their support for financial redistribution across
borders: business executives and members of Con-
gress express less support for development aid than
leaders of the media, academic, church, and labor
unions (Holsti 2004). According to the postrecruit-
ment hypothesis, elites would represent in their per-
sonal positions to some extent the positions and
interests of their respective fields, even when ac-
counting for their personal political orientation.
More precisely, we would expect elites belonging to
fields that have traditionally been on the left side of
the political spectrum (such as the labor union and
civil society fields) to be more supportive support
of development aid and the opening up of national
borders to immigrants than the other elites. By con-
trast, we would expect elites from these tradition-
ally leftist fields to more strongly oppose the open-
ing up of borders to international trade than elites
from other fields. With regard to the field tradition-
ally on the right side of the political spectrum-that
is, the economic one-, we would expect the inverse
association: business elites would tend to support
international trade to a larger extent but immigra-
tion and development aid to a lesser extent than the
other elites.
However, we do not expect significant field-based
differences among elites on the issue of suprana-
tional political institutions. Indeed, it has been
shown that actors on both (non-radical) left and
right sides of the political spectrum support the fur-
ther integration of the EU (Hooghe et al. 2004).
Lastly, we would expect political elites to hold posi-
tions that are closest to public opinion: since voters
are the “clients” of political leaders, we expect
them to oppose denationalization to a larger extent
than other elites. We will test the postrecruitment
hypothesis by controlling for gender, age, educa-
tion, place of birth, and the personal left-right polit-
ical orientation, as these characteristics might also
contribute to the polarization of elites along the
new conflict line. All in all, our postrecruitment hy-
pothesis states that the fields of activity have a sig-
nificant polarizing effect among elites on interna-
tional trade, immigration and development aid
issues, even when controlling for gender, education,
age, and political orientation. Sector-based differ-
ences are not significant on the issue of suprana-
tional political institutions (H2).
The second factor that might contribute to the po-
larization of elites on denationalization issues is the
increasing internationalization of a part of the
elites. Indeed, the weakening of nation-state boun-
daries has greatly facilitated transnational contacts
and interactions among citizens. These actions may
involve the crossing of nation-state borders either
physically, in the form of frequent traveling (Cal-
houn 2002), or virtually in the form of communi-
cating with others abroad (Norris & Inglehart
2009). Besides transnational interactions, the loos-
ening of national boundaries enables the emergence
of a sense of belonging to a supranational commun-
ity. Several studies have shown that transnational
interactions and supranational identification are as-
sociated with support for the opening up of na-
tional borders among the general population (Diez
Medrano 2010; Fligstein 2008; Gustafson 2009;
Jackman & Vavreck 2011; Mau et al. 2008; Pichler
2012; see also Helbling &Teney 2014).
In contrast to the previous hypotheses based on the
sociology of the elites, we derive our two last hy-
potheses from theoretical explanations on the role
of transnational practices and supranational identi-
ties in shaping public opinion. Indeed, so far studies
on elites have neglected the role of growing interna-
tionalization among elites in polarizing their atti-
tudes. This comes somewhat as a surprise since
globalization has been considered an elite-driven
process. To our best knowledge, Best (2012) is the
only one so far to have investigated this question
with respect to national political and economic
elites in several European countries and their posi-
tions on European integration. He found that the
link between contacts with European institutions
and support for further European integration was
significantly positive among political elites but re-
mained insignificant among business elites. More-
over, the association of expatriate experience with
support for further European integration was insig-
nificant for both political and business elites (Best
2012). In contrast to the sparse findings on the role
of transnational practices in shaping elites’ posi-
tions, studies among the general population have
consistently shown significant associations between
Cline Teney & Marc Helbling: How Denationalization Divides Elites and Citizens 261
transnational practices and supranational identifi-
cation on the one hand and support for several de-
nationalization issues on the other. For instance,
transnational practices are positively associated
with support for European integration (Kuhn
2011), global governance (Mau et al. 2008), or fa-
vorable attitudes toward immigrants (Mau et al.
2008). In addition, supranational identification has
been shown to be positively related to support for
European integration (Fligstein 2008; Teney et al.
2013) and to tolerance toward immigrants (Phillips
2002; Pichler 2009b; Pichler 2012; Teney et al
2013). These positive associations of transnational
practices and supranational identity with the sup-
port for the opening up of national borders are
likely to be present among elites as well. Indeed,
transnational mobility and networking are mainly
practiced by highly privileged citizens who possess
the necessary resources to engage in transnational
experiences (e. g., foreign language skills, high edu-
cation; cf. Diez Medrano 2010; Fligstein 2008).
Similarly, the sense of belonging to a supranational
community is more developed among highly skilled
and educated citizens (Pichler 2012). Transnational
interactions and a supranational sense of belonging
can thus act as new status markers (Kendall et al.
2009) and contribute to the further polarization of
the population along the new conflict line (Diez
Medrano 2010).
Therefore, an unequal distribution of transnational
practices and a supranational sense of belonging
among elites is likely to contribute to a further po-
larization of elites on denationalization issues. We
will thus assess the power of transnational interac-
tions and supranational sense of belonging in polar-
izing elites along such new conflict lines. We expect
elites with high levels of transnational practices
(H3) and with a supranational identity (H4) to be
more supportive of denationalization issues.
4 Data
The data on the attitudes and positions of elites
come from a face-to-face survey with highly stand-
ardized questionnaires that was carried out in
2011/2012 among 354 members of elites holding
the highest positions in eleven fields of activity in
Germany. This elite survey is based on a sampling
design of positional elites: accordingly, elites are de-
fined as “incumbents of leadership positions in
powerful political institutions and private organiza-
tions who, by virtue of their control of intra-organi-
zational power resources, are able to influence im-
portant (political) decisions” (Hoffmann-Lange
2008: 53). This positional approach requires a two-
step sampling procedure: first, one selects the high-
est organizations for each field; then one selects the
highest positions within these organizations (Hoff-
mann-Lange 1992: 86–90). The selection of the
most important organizations within a field is
based on a consistent criterion, such as sale vol-
umes of companies or market share of newspapers
(Machatzke 1997). This field-based sampling de-
sign of positional elites is a replication of the design
used in the 1995 Potsdam elite survey (Bürklin &
Rebenstorf 1997), which is the most recent compre-
hensive elite survey using conventional survey re-
search methods carried out in Germany. However,
in contrast to the 1995 Potsdam elite survey, which
included a broader sample of elites, the WZB elite
survey encompasses only the core elites: the original
sample included 956 top positional elites in eleven
fields of activity (Bunselmeyer et al. 2013). The sur-
vey response rate was 37 percent, which can be
considered high,
considering the difficulties of sur-
veying this very privileged population (Hoffmann-
Lange 2008).
The data are composed of the responses of 354 top
elites holding the highest positions in the fields of
business and finance, professional lobbyists, poli-
tics, bureaucracy, military, research, media, labor
union, law, church, and civil society (Bunselmeyer
et al. 2013). For the field of business and finance,
103 CEOs and members of the supervisory boards
of the 100 largest German companies took part in
the survey (which represents a response rate of 25.9
percent in this field). Six presidents and vice presi-
dents from the three largest business lobbyists
make up the professional lobbyist subsample (re-
sponse rate of 60 percent for this subsample). 29
political elites working in the Bundestag, the fed-
eral and state governments, and other institutions
answered the questionnaire (response rate of 22
percent). The bureaucracy subsample is composed
of 93 civil servants, including the state secretaries
and directors of the federal ministries (response
rate of 57.8 percent). Nine military leaders, such as
the chiefs of staff of various commandos and
forces, took part in the survey (response rate of 45
percent for the field of the military. In the field of
research (response rate of 76.9 percent), 40 presi-
dents and vice presidents of the largest research or-
ganizations and the conference of the university
262 Zeitschrift für Soziologie, Jg. 43, Heft 4, August 2014, S. 258–271
1By comparison, the German telephone survey of MPs
and business elites, carried out in 2007 by Best et al.
(2012), had a response rate of 13.7 percent.
presidents participated in the survey. Ten program
directors, editors-in-chief and directors of state and
private television channels and of the largest na-
tional newspapers constitute the media subsample
(response rate of 22.2 percent). Thirteen presidents
of the largest labor unions and 29 presidents, vice-
presidents and prosecutors of the federal courts
make up the labor union (response rate of 76.5 per-
cent) and law (35.8 percent) subsamples, respec-
tively. With regard to the field of the churches (re-
sponse rate of 40 percent), 6 archbishops of the
Catholic Church and the synod members of the
Protestant Church in Germany took part in the sur-
vey. Lastly, 16 presidents of the largest civil society
associations, such as the largest welfare federations
or the cultural council, make up the civil society
subsample (response rate of 64 percent). The size of
the subsamples varies across fields, with the busi-
ness and bureaucracy fields being the largest ones.
These unequal sample sizes across the eleven fields
result from the decision to overweight some sub-
samples (such as the economic field) as well as
from the variation in the effective response rates in
each of the eleven fields.
This elite survey aimed at collecting precise socio-
demographic characteristics and at measuring
elites’ positions and attitudes toward various rele-
vant domestic and international policy issues. The
questionnaire contained several closed questions on
immigration, supranational political institutions
(EU and UN), international trade and development
aid. The phrasing of these questions matches the
item wordings from general mass surveys. This
questionnaire design allows us to compare the atti-
tudes of German elites toward these denationaliza-
tion issues with the attitudes of the general German
population. The mass surveys containing the corre-
sponding items are the following ones: the World
Value Survey (WVS, 2006, N = 2064), the Euro-
pean Social Survey (ESS, 2010, N = 3031), the
Transatlantic Trend Survey (TTS, 2009, N = 1000)
and the WZB denationalization survey (WZB,
2007, N = 1503; Ecker-Ehrhardt et al. 2008). Thus,
depending on the items, the time gap between the
elite survey and the mass surveys ranges from two
to five years.
4.1 Dependent Variables
We will test our hypotheses with two distinct analy-
ses. Firstly, we will assess the elite-mass attitudinal
gap by combining the elite data with the mass sur-
vey data containing the corresponding items. Sec-
ondly, we will investigate a potential polarization
within the elites by running stepwise OLS regres-
sions on the elite data alone. The items measuring
positions toward denationalization issues among
the general population come from four different
mass surveys. We need therefore to analyze each
item separately and cannot build indexes summa-
rizing the items for each of the four denationaliza-
tion issues. In total the analysis of the elite-mass
gap is based on eight different items: three items
measure attitudes toward immigration, one refers
to international trade, two measure attitudes to-
ward development aid, and two refer to respond-
ents’ satisfaction with two supranational political
regimes (the EU and the UN). The exact wording of
these items and their distribution among elites and
the general population can be found in the online
appendix to this paper ( We
recoded these items so that they all range from 0 to
1, where 1 refers to the largest support for opening
up national borders.
In the second part of our analysis, we will investi-
gate elite polarization on the four denationalization
issues by focusing on the elite data. We will use the
items presented in Table A1 (online appendix) in
the analysis. The sets of items measuring attitudes
to immigrants, to development aid and to interna-
tional trade are unidimensional. They were there-
fore summed up to build additive scales. All varia-
bles range from 0 to 1, where 1 refers to the largest
support for opening up national borders. We ana-
lyze the following dependent variables: opening up
borders to immigrants, favoring larger funding for
development aid, supporting international trade,
satisfaction with the work of the EU and satisfac-
tion with the work of the UN. The descriptive sta-
tistics concerning these scales can be found in Table
A2 (online appendix).
4.2 Independent Variables
We will analyze the elite-mass gap by controlling
for gender, age (centered around its mean), tertiary
education, the left-right self-placement scale
(“RILE,” centered around its mean), and whether
respondents are from East Germany. All except the
last characteristic are coded in exactly the same
way in both the elite and mass data. The dummy
“East Germany” refers to the place of residence
among the general population and to the place of
birth among the elites, as the two surveys did not
include the same questions. The descriptive statis-
tics for the independent variables are presented in
Table A2.
Cline Teney & Marc Helbling: How Denationalization Divides Elites and Citizens 263
In the second part of the analysis, we will use addi-
tional characteristics from the elite data. Firstly, we
will investigate the role of the fields of activity in
polarizing elites along the five dependent variables.
In order to have sufficient cases per field of activity,
we regrouped the elites into seven generic catego-
ries: business (composed of the professional lobby-
ism and business fields, n = 109), civil society (com-
posed of the church, media and civil society fields,
n = 32), labor union (n = 13), politics (n = 29), bu-
reaucracy (composed of the administration and
military fields, n = 102), law (n = 29) and research
(n = 40). Secondly, the transnationalization of elites
is measured with two variables. “Expatriate experi-
ence” is a dummy differentiating elites who stayed
at least three months abroad. “Transnational con-
tacts” is a composite index composed of the sum of
contacts with people living abroad and the fre-
quency of these transnational contacts. The sum of
elites’ contacts with people living abroad is an ordi-
nal variable ranging from none (11 %), 1 to 5
(20 %), 6 to 10 (18.4 %), 11 to 25 (21.6 %), 26 to
75 (19.3 %) and more than 75 (9.7 %). The varia-
ble measuring the frequency of transnational con-
tacts is composed of a 5-point-Likert-scale ranging
from “never” to “at least once a day.” On average,
elites have transnational contacts at least once a
month. We summed up these two variables to build
an additive index, to which both variables contrib-
ute equally. The transnational contact scale ranges
from 0 to 1, where a high value means many fre-
quent contacts with people from abroad. Lastly, the
supranational identification variable is an additive
scale composed of items measuring the degree of
identification with the local community, Germany,
the EU, and the world. These four items are unidi-
mensional and form a Mokken scale (Loevinger’s
Hcoefficient: 0.55 for the entire scale) in which the
world identification item followed by the EU iden-
tification item are the least popular ones.
We can
therefore build a cumulative scale by summing up
the items (Molenaar & Sijtsma 2000). This scale
ranges from 0 to 1, where a high value means a
strong supranational identity.
5 Results
5.1 Elite-mass Divide
Table 1 presents the results of OLS linear regres-
sions on the eight items measuring the four dena-
tionalization issues. These regressions are based on
the combined mass and elite data. For three out of
the four denationalization issues, elites support the
opening up of borders to a significantly larger ex-
tent than the general population: the regression co-
efficient for the elite dummy is significantly positive
on the three immigration items, on the trade item,
and on the two development aid items. In other
words, there are significant elite-mass positional
discrepancies on the issues of immigration, interna-
tional trade, and development aid that cannot be
explained by elite-mass differences in education,
age, gender, place of residence, and political orien-
tation. Indeed, while the coefficients for tertiary ed-
ucation, age, political orientation, and, to a lesser
extent, for East Germany do exert a significant in-
fluence on these six attitudinal items, they cannot
entirely account for elite-mass opinion incongru-
ence. However, these results cannot be generalized
for the four denationalization issues: elites are sig-
nificantly more critical of the work of the EU and
UN than the general population. Our results show
indeed that the general population is significantly
more satisfied with their work of the EU and UN
than the elites. However, these results on suprana-
tional political institutions should be interpreted
with caution: while these items refer to a denation-
alization issue, their exact wording does not di-
rectly measure attitudes toward the opening up of
national borders. The items on supranational politi-
cal institutions do not directly refer to support for
and opposition to the principle of EU and UN inte-
gration but evaluate the work of these two suprana-
tional political regimes. Being critical of the polity
is a form of Euroscepticism that is distinct from
contesting the principle and project of integration
(De Wilde & Trenz 2012). These forms are not nec-
essarily related: dissatisfaction with the work of the
EU and UN is not necessarily correlated with the
rejection of such supranational political bodies. Un-
fortunately, the elite survey does not contain any
items measuring attitudes toward the principle and
project of integration for the EU and the UN.
Nevertheless, we know from previous studies that
elites are far more supportive of European integra-
tion than the average citizen (e. g., Best et al. 2012).
264 Zeitschrift für Soziologie, Jg. 43, Heft 4, August 2014, S. 258–271
2The unidimensionality of this set of identification varia-
bles among elites sharply contrasts with the bidimension-
ality of these identification variables among the general
population. Various studies have indeed shown that
supranational identification is independent of national
identification among the general population (e. g., Han-
quinet & Savage 2012; Pichler 2009a; Teney et al. 2013).
Our results shed light on a further potential elite-mass gap
related to the relationships between national and suprana-
tional identifications. However, the further investigation
of this elite-mass divide on supranational identification is
beyond the scope of our article.
Cline Teney & Marc Helbling: How Denationalization Divides Elites and Citizens 265
Table 1 Attitudes of the elites and the population on denationalization issues
(WVS) (WVS) (ESS5) (TTS09)
Immigration 1 Immigration 2 Immigration 3 Trade
Elite 0.167*** 0.157*** 0.223*** 0.165***
(7.16) (8.14) (15.26) (7.71)
Women –0.008 0.020 –0.034*** –0.072***
(–0.64) (1.85) (–4.15) (–5.21)
Tertiary education 0.050** 0.123*** 0.112*** –0.025
(2.77) (8.20) (12.28) (–1.31)
Age –0.002*** –0.001** –0.001* 0.002***
(–4.60) (–3.02) (–2.28) (4.41)
East –0.024 –0.075*** –0.083*** –0.011
(–1.85) (–6.87) (–9.49) (–0.61)
RILE –0.012*** –0.031*** –0.013*** 0.010**
(–5.15) (–10.89) (–5.52) (3.11)
_cons 0.067*** 0.546*** 0.523*** 0.787***
(5.59) (54.89) (74.09) (69.21)
N2044 2100 3080 1264
Adj. R20.086 0.215 0.224 0.159
Development aid 1 Development aid 2 EU satisfaction UN satisfaction
Elite 0.109** 0.273*** –0.0462* –0.119***
(2.90) (6.87) (–2.36) (–6.53)
Women –0.001 –0.019 0.010 0.018
(–0.04) (–0.86) (0.82) (1.60)
Tertiary education 0.165*** 0.184*** 0.022 0.018
(5.63) (6.01) (1.29) (1.15)
Age –0.002* –0.001* –0.001 –0.001*
(–2.47) (–2.13) (–1.93) (–2.49)
East –0.172*** –0.059** –0.019 –0.046**
(–8.10) (–2.58) (–1.28) (–3.21)
RILE –0.047*** –0.039*** 0.012 –0.011
(–8.47) (–6.57) (0.42) (–0.42)
_cons 0.322*** 0.317*** 0.560*** 0.499***
(16.69) (15.51) (4.33) (4.13)
N1990 1876 1733 1708
Adj. R20.122 0.136 0.005 0.051
Significances: *p < 0.05, **p < 0.01, ***p <0.001
Notes: OLS regressions, t statistics in parentheses. The items have been recoded so that the highest value (1) means: Immigration 1: “The
government should let anyone come who wants to”; Immigration 2: “Immigrants enrich life”; Immigration 3: “Immigration is good for
the German economy”; Trade: “In times like these, it is important for Germany to remain open to international trade”; Development aid
1: “I am willing to pay higher taxes to increase aid to developing countries”; Development aid 2: “The amount allocated by Germany to
development aid is too low”; EU Satisfaction: “I am completely satisfied with the work of the EU”; UN Satisfaction: “I am completely sat-
isfied with the work of the UN.”
All in all, these results confirm our first hypothesis:
the mass-elite attitudinal gap is significant for items
directly tapping the support for further opening up
national borders, even when controlling for the
main socio-demographic characteristics such as ed-
ucation and political orientation.
5.2 Polarization among Elites
In the first regression models presented in Table 2,
we introduced the fields of activity and the main so-
cio-demographic characteristics (gender, age, educa-
tion, place of birth). First of all, the socio-demo-
graphic characteristics do not have any constant
effect on the dependent variables. Women are signifi-
cantly more satisfied with the work of the UN and
are significantly less in favor of international trade
than men. Elites without tertiary education support
international trade to a significantly lesser extent.
Age is not significantly related to any of the four is-
sues. Whether elites were born in the former GDR
or abroad does not play any significant role in their
positions on the four denationalization issues. By
contrast, elites’ political orientation is significantly
associated with their opinions on immigration, de-
velopment aid, and international trade but not with
their satisfaction with the EU or the UN. Elites on
the right side of the political scale are significantly
less likely to support immigration and development
aid and more likely to support international trade.
Next to the effects of socio-demographic character-
istics and political orientation, this first model al-
lows us to assess the extent to which elites are po-
larized on the four denationalization issues along
their fields of activity. Regarding the first depend-
ent variable, the fields of activity (controlled for ed-
ucation, age, gender, and place of birth) do not
much affect elites’ positions on the opening up of
national borders for immigrants.
Indeed, with the
exception of labor union elites, elite attitudes to-
ward immigration in the other fields are similar to
those of the business elites. By contrast, elites work-
ing in the labor union field do support the opening
up of national borders to immigrants to a signifi-
cantly larger extent than business elites. This re-
flects the German labor unions’ traditional support
for the interests of immigrants and guest workers
(Kühne 2000). Likewise, elites are not much polar-
ized along their fields of activity regarding their po-
sitions on development aid. Indeed, elites from the
field of law are the only ones to be more supportive
of higher taxes for development aid than business
elites. International trade is the issue that most po-
larized elites along their fields of activity. While
elites working in law and politics and business
elites hold similar attitudes toward international
trade, elites from the other fields of activity are sig-
nificantly less likely to support international trade
than business elites. These effects are moderate,
however, since these coefficients are only significant
at the 0.05 level. Lastly, the only field with a signifi-
cant coefficient on the supranational political insti-
tutions items is the administrative one: administra-
tive elites are significantly more satisfied with the
EU than business elites. Besides the administrative
elites, elites from the other fields are equally satis-
fied with the work of the EU and the UN.
In sum, and with the exception of their positions on
international trade, elites are not significantly
divided by their fields of activity when it comes to
denationalization issues. Moreover, the coefficients
for the various fields remain relatively small. This, in
turn, supports our interpretation that the fields do
not play an important role in the polarization of
elites. This leads us to reject our second hypothesis:
Sectors of activity do not have any strong polarizing
effect among elites on denationalization issues when
controlling for gender, education, age, place of birth,
and political orientation. Furthermore, elites from
fields with the largest conflicting interests with the
business field do not differ greatly from the business
elites in their positions on denationalization. Lastly,
and contrary to our expectations, political elites do
not oppose denationalization issues to a greater ex-
tent than the other elites. Whereas the general popu-
lation is evenly divided on these denationalization is-
sues (Table 1), political elites in their personal
positions do not represent public opinion: in fact,
they support denationalization to the same extent as
non-representative elites. All in all, our results do
not provide much supportive evidence for the postre-
cruitment hypothesis: once we control for education,
age, gender, place of birth, and political orientation,
elites from the various fields of activities share simi-
lar positions on denationalization.
Table 3 presents the results of the models including
expatriate experience, transnational contacts, and
supranational identification. The first model of
Table 3 is composed of the expatriate dummy and
the transnational contacts variable by controlling
for the effects of the fields of activity, gender, age,
266 Zeitschrift für Soziologie, Jg. 43, Heft 4, August 2014, S. 258–271
3In all models we took the business elite as the reference
category as they constitute the largest group and can be
expected to be at one extreme of the left-right dimension.
This makes it most probable to get significant results. Re-
sults do not change if we take another group as reference
education, place of birth and political orientation.
In a last step, we added supranational identification
to the models. Firstly, whether elites stayed abroad
for at least three months is not significantly associ-
ated with their positions on any of the denationali-
zation issues. Secondly, numerous and frequent
transnational contacts are not significantly associ-
ated with any of the four issues. These results con-
tradict our third hypothesis since transnational
practices are not significantly associated with dena-
tionalization issues among elites.
In the last model, we included the supranational
identification variable. Supranational identification
is significantly and positively associated with two
of the four issues: elites strongly identifying them-
selves as EU and world citizens are much more
supportive of opening up national borders to immi-
grants and providing further funding for develop-
ment aid. These results partly confirm our last hy-
pothesis: Elites with a strong supranational identity
are significantly more in favor of opening borders
for immigrants and for increasing aid in developing
countries. However, supranational identity is not
significantly associated with attitudes toward inter-
national trade, and with satisfaction with the work
of the EU and UN.
Cline Teney & Marc Helbling: How Denationalization Divides Elites and Citizens 267
Table 2 Effects of elite fields on denationalization
Immigrant Index Development
aid Index
Trade Index EU satisfaction
UN satisfaction
Model 1
Sector (ref: business)
Civil society 0.040 0.122 –0.075* 0.011 –0.029
(1.17) (1.82) (–2.37) (0.24) (–0.62)
Labor Union 0.129* 0.172 –0.099* –0.105 0.068
(2.31) (1.61) (–1.98) (–1.44) (0.96)
Law –0.020 0.138* –0.011 0.033 0.013
(–0.55) (2.06) (–0.34) (0.71) (0.28)
Politics 0.046 0.042 –0.029 0.062 0.033
(1.17) (0.59) (–0.85) (1.21) (0.66)
Bureaucracy 0.010 0.023 –0.047* 0.092** 0.005
(0.41) (0.51) (–2.15) (2.89) (0.16)
Research 0.028 0.099 –0.057* 0.027 0.070
(0.91) (1.78) (–2.02) (0.66) (1.75)
Female –0.003 0.013 –0.059* –0.019 0.083*
(–0.11) (0.23) (–2.22) (–0.51) (2.22)
Age –0.002 –0.0002 0.001 0.003 –0.001
(–1.64) (–0.07) (0.42) (1.73) (–0.56)
No tertiary degree 0.022 –0.038 –0.063* 0.024 –0.016
(0.65) (–0.61) (–2.15) (0.53) (–0.36)
East Germany 0.023 –0.091 0.036 –0.046 –0.036
(0.38) (–0.89) (0.68) (–0.61) (–0.49)
Born abroad 0.017 0.062 –0.023 0.104 –0.113
(0.27) (0.61) (–0.43) (1.34) (–1.47)
Left-right –0.013* –0.066*** 0.012* –0.013 –0.017
(–1.97) (–5.35) (2.06) (–1.44) (–1.97)
_cons 0.842*** 0.741*** 0.825*** 0.269* 0.482***
(10.59) (4.98) (11.46) (2.55) (4.61)
Adjusted R20.043 0.1489 0.070 0.014 0.032
Significances: *p < 0.05, **p < 0.01, ***p < 0.001, N = 354
Notes: OLS regressions, t statistics in parentheses.
6 Discussion
Our study is the first to empirically assess the al-
leged divide between elites from various fields of
activity and the general population in their posi-
tions on a wide range of contested denationaliza-
tion issues. Our results point to a significant elite-
mass attitudinal gap on several issues related di-
rectly to the further opening up of national borders
to various types of exchange, such as people, goods
or economic redistribution, even after controlling
for differences in age, gender, place of residence, ed-
ucation and political orientation. The elite-mass
opinion incongruence on European integration ob-
served in previous studies is thus part of a broader
ideological gap that puts societal leaders and the
general population on opposing sides with regard
to issues related to the growing permeability of na-
tional borders.
Our study can therefore push forward the debate
on the rise of a new globalization cleavage: dena-
tionalization issues not only polarize public opinion
into groups of losers and winners (Teney et al.
2013) but also create a severe divide between the
general population and elites. In line with the argu-
ments of Schimmelfennig (2001) and Calhoun
(2003), our results suggest that support for further
opening up national borders can be considered part
of the dominant ideology supported by the elites,
who hold relatively uniform positive attitudes to-
ward denationalization issues. Moreover, political
elites do not differ strongly from the other elites in
our sample in their almost unlimited support for
denationalization. Such a lack of representation
can present a serious challenge for Western Euro-
pean democracies, in fact it is often cited as one of
the sources of citizens’ increasing political disaffec-
tion and the rise of successful populist radical-right
parties in Western European democracies.
This elite-mass attitudinal divide on denationaliza-
tion is, however, likely to be more salient in Ger-
many than in other Western European countries.
Indeed, the reinvention of German identity after
the WWII trauma has been explicitly directed to-
ward European and international components. Ger-
many’s responsibility toward countries that suf-
fered from WWII, for instance, is a core component
in the supportive discourse of German elites regard-
ing the European integration project (Diez Me-
drano 2003). The normative pressure on elites to fit
a cosmopolitan ideal is therefore likely to be much
stronger in Germany than in other European coun-
tries. Assessing similar elite-mass divides on dena-
tionalization in other Western European countries
will help to shed light on the specificities of the Ger-
man case.
Although we could empirically confirm the elite-
mass gap on a wide range of denationalization is-
sues, our findings regarding a potential divide
among elites on these issues are mixed. Firstly, the
268 Zeitschrift für Soziologie, Jg. 43, Heft 4, August 2014, S. 258–271
Table 3 Effects of transnationalism and supranational identification on denationalization issues among elites
Immigrants Development
Trade EU
Model 2
Expatriate experience 0.010 0.007 0.019 0.002 –0.0001
(0.50) (0.19) (1.03) (0.06) (–0.00)
Transnational contact –0.037 –0.113 –0.005 0.013 –0.015
(–0.91) (–1.56) (–0.12) (0.24) (–0.28)
Adjusted R20.029 0.148 0.056 0.012 0.026
Expatriate experience 0.014 0.019 0.018 –0.009 0.002
(0.70) (0.51) (1.00) (–0.32) (0.07)
Transnational contact –0.042 –0.123 –0.005 0.016 –0.022
(–1.05) (–1.70) (–0.14) (0.30) (–0.42)
Supranational identity 0.166** 0.268* –0.075 0.100 0.150
(2.68) (2.30) (–1.40) (0.080) (1.81)
Adjusted R20.044 0.160 0.100 0.013 0.036
Notes: OLS regressions, t statistics in parentheses. The effects of the control variables are not reported.
Significances: *p < 0.05, **p < 0.01, ***p < 0.001, N = 354
fields of activity do not have any strong polarizing
effect among elites on contested denationalization
issues. Our results therefore do not provide any evi-
dence to support the postrecruitment hypothesis of
Putnam (1976): elites from the eleven fields of ac-
tivity hold rather consensual positions on denation-
alization issues that do not reflect the conflicting
interests of their respective fields. Secondly, trans-
national practices, such as transnational contacts
and mobility, are not significantly associated with
denationalization issues. Previous studies based on
mass survey data pointed to a consistent and signif-
icant role of transnational practices in explaining
support for denationalization issues, such as Euro-
pean integration or the opening up of borders to
immigrants. By contrast, our study is the first one
to closely investigate this relationship among top
positional elites (see also Helbling & Teney 2014).
Our contrasting findings help to refine our under-
standing of the role of transnational practices in
shaping positions on denationalization issues since
this effect cannot be generalized to apply to societal
leaders. The fact that transnational practices are
not significantly associated with denationalization
issues among elites might be due to a ceiling effect
(Kuhn 2012). Accordingly, transnational practices
might be significantly related to attitudes on dena-
tionalization issues up to a certain point. Once indi-
viduals hold regular transnational practices, this ef-
fect might become insignificant. Even if our
transnational practices variables showed sufficient
variation, elites would on average be much more
likely than the general population to have spent
some months abroad and to have regular contacts
with many people living abroad.
Another explanation might be found in the types of
transnational contacts: it might matter whether
transnational practices are based on voluntary lei-
sure activities or on professional obligations. Trans-
national practices investigated among the general
population might on average be a result of leisure
activities (such as holiday travel), while transna-
tional practices reported by top positional elites
might be mainly related to professional obligations
(Helbling & Teney 2014). Unfortunately, the data
do not allow us to further investigate this hypothe-
sis since elites were not asked to specify the main
reason behind their transnational practices.
Unlike the general population, elites might hold sta-
ble and consistent positions that are not so easily
affected by external events such as transnational
practices. According to Converse (1964), mass atti-
tudes are overall characterized by large volatility,
incoherence and inconsistency, whereas elites tend
to have stable, consistent and coherent attitudes.
Accordingly, then, external events such as experi-
encing expatriate life or being in contact with peo-
ple abroad might significantly affect the instable at-
titudes of the general population, but not the
already anchored positions of elites. These striking
results among elites open new research questions
for transnational studies to better grasp the role of
transnational practices in shaping attitudes across
different social groups.
Finally, we investigated the role of supranational
identification for elites’ positions on denationaliza-
tion issues. Our findings indicate that elites with a
strong supranational identity are significantly more
in favor of opening up borders to immigrants and
for increasing aid to developing countries. How-
ever, supranational identity is significantly associ-
ated neither with attitudes toward international
trade nor with satisfaction with the work of the EU
and UN. These contrasting results enable us to
push forward the debate on the role of collective
identities in shaping attitudes toward the opening
up of national borders: supranational identification
plays a significant role on issues related to “moral
cosmopolitanism” (Pogge 1992) but not on dena-
tionalization issues referring to neo-liberalism or
satisfaction with supranational political regimes.
Thus, a strong sense of belonging to a suprana-
tional entity is significantly linked to a sense of mo-
ral obligation toward human beings beyond the na-
tional community, as reflected by the immigration
and development aid issues. By contrast, denation-
alization issues unrelated to any concern of global
justice remain unaffected by supranational identity.
Our analysis of the role of supranational identifica-
tion thus highlights an important empirical distinc-
tion between cosmopolitan issues with a normative
component of global justice on the one hand and,
on the other hand, issues without any concern for
moral values of justice, referred to as globalism (De
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Cline Teney, geb. 1981 in Belgien. Studium der Soziologie und Ethnologie in Freiburg. Promotion in Brüssel. Von 2010
bis 2014 wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin im Brückenprojekt „Die politische Soziologie des Kosmopolitismus und des
Kommunitarismus“ am Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung. Seit 2014 Leiterin der Nachwuchsgruppe
„Winners of Globalization? A Study on the Emergence of a Transnational Professional Elite in Europe“ an der Universi-
tät Bremen.
Forschungsschwerpunkte: Migrationssoziologie, Soziologie der EU, Politische Soziologie.
Wichtigste Publikationen: Winners and Losers of Globalization in Europe. Attitudes and Ideologies (mit O. Lacewell &
P. de Wilde), European Political Science Review 2013; High Political Participation, High Social Capital? A Relational
Analysis of Youth Social Capital and Political Participation (mit L. Hanquinet) Social Science Research 41, 2012; zu-
letzt in dieser Zeitschrift: Space matters. The group threat hypothesis revisited with geographically weighted regression.
The case of the NPD 2009 electoral success, ZfS 41, 2012: 207–226.
Marc Helbling, geb. 1977 in der Schweiz. Studium der Politikwissenschaft in Lausanne und Paris. Promotion in Zürich.
Von 2009 bis 2011 wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung. Seit 2011 Leiter
der Emmy-Noether Gruppe „Immigration Policies in Comparison“ (IMPIC) am WZB. Gastforscher und -dozent u. a. in
Princeton, Harvard, New York, Oxford und am Europäischen Hochschulinstitut in Florenz.
Forschungsschwerpunkte: Staatsbürgerschafts- und Immigrationspolitik, Fremdenfeindlichkeit/Islamophobie.
Wichtigste Publikationen: „Opposing Muslims and the Muslim Headscarf in Western Europe“, European Sociological
Review 2014; Political Conflicts in Western Europe, (mit H. Kriesi et al.), Cambridge 2012; Practising Citizenship and
Heterogeneous Nationhood. Naturalisations in Swiss Municipalities, Amsterdam 2008; „Political Mobilizing, Cultural
Diversity and Social Cohesion“, (mit T. Reeskens & D. Stolle), Political Studies 2014.
Cline Teney & Marc Helbling: How Denationalization Divides Elites and Citizens 271
... The third stream comes from EU studies and explores how EU institutions and policies are discussed across national political systems (e.g. Follesdal and Hix 2006;Grande and Hutter 2016;Habermas 2007;Hix 2008;Hobolt 2009;Hooghe 2003;Hooghe and Marks 2009;Majone 1994;Marks and Steenbergen 2004;Moravcsik 2004;Risse 2010;Schmitter 2009;Teney and Helbling 2014;Zürn 2000). Located within this literature on the politicisation of the EU, is the literature which looks at how its institutions have become subject to politicisation. ...
The politicisation and depoliticisation of EU policies such as state aid are key to the legitimation and contestation of the EU. However, the existing literature tends to focus on analysing these processes either in terms of politicisation or depoliticisation, but rarely both simultaneously. Rather, this thesis conceptualises politicisation and depoliticisation as embodying a fluid-like state within Multilevel Governance (MLG) structures, such as the EU, where agents play a key role. The thesis first explores 266 state aid cases labelled "Unlawful with Recovery of Aid" (UWRA) to identify which were appealed, and to gauge the degree of news coverage that each case gained. From the analysis of the 266 cases, the dissertation selects the cases of Apple in Ireland and Ilva in Italy for sustained and detailed analysis. It explores how actors have sought to politicise and depoliticise these state aid cases in the national news media. A claims-making analysis is performed to understand how actors attempt to legitimise or delegitimise their own actions or the actions of the other actors involved (the Commission, Apple, Ilva and the Irish and Italian governments). To perform the analysis, a set of 100 newspapers were gathered from the Factiva database, including two leading quality newspapers (centre-left and centre-right) from Ireland (the Irish Times and the Irish Independent) and Italy (Il Sole 24 Ore and La Repubblica). The results show that a key moment in the trajectory of both the politicisation and depoliticisation of a state aid case is the act of appealing by the member state. More specifically, in the Apple case, TINA (There Is No Alternative) was used as a strategy to discursively depoliticise the action of appealing which, interestingly contributed to the overall politicisation of the state aid case. In contrast, other depoliticising strategies ("appeasing" claims) which intended to calm past tensions between the Italian government and the Commission were used successfully. In terms of politicisation, the Apple case showed an "international conflict trajectory" (Irish government versus the Commission) while the Ilva case raised concerns about the Italian government and the management of the corporation. Overall, this dissertation advances understandings of the differentiated patterns of politicisation and depoliticisation by illustrating that the Apple case followed the "politics against policy" route while this was avoided in the Ilva state aid case.
... We know from the literature that socializers engage in the exchange and dissemination of particular sets of concepts and behavioural dispositions that shape the ways in which people think and act (Checkel, 2005;Teney and Helbling, 2014). In our context, the negative relationship between national attachment and support for European integration (Hooghe and Marks, 2004;McLaren, 2006;Hooghe and Marks, 2009;Levy and Phan, 2014), and the positive association between European identity and preferences for EU-level policies (Westle, 2016;Westle and Segatti, 2016), would be paralleled by a positive association between a cosmopolitan identity and EU support (Cosmopolitanism). ...
The question whether elites contribute constructively to the process of European integration has become more crucial today in times of increasing Euroscepticism and populist opposition to the European Union in the member states. In this article we venture off beaten paths and focus on a hitherto much less investigated segment of society, business elites, and particularly on their attitudes towards the process of European integration. For this purpose, we focus on a cross‐national survey of business elites with data from ten European countries. We show that levels of support for European integration are uneven across countries. At the same time, applying regression analysis, we find that the ways in which business elites shape their attitudes towards the European Union are not so different from those of public opinion, as individual‐level factors are more influential on their attitudes than are the structural properties of their companies.
... For example, Avdan (2014b) finds that transnational terrorism affects visa policies, but that this effect declines with increasing levels of economic interdependence between involved states, suggesting that other considerations (for example, gains from economic integration) also matter. Similarly, the political elite tends to be much more cosmopolitan than the 'common people' and thus less susceptible to possible security threats due to transnational terrorism and migration (Teney and Helbling 2014). For instance, Lahav, Messina and Vasquez (2013) show that the immigration attitudes of members of the European Parliament were not affected by the 9/11 terrorist attacks. ...
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This article provides an overview of the literature on the relationship between terrorism and migration. It discusses whether and how (1) migration may be a cause of terrorism, (2) terrorism may influence natives' attitudes towards immigration and their electoral preferences and (3) terrorism may lead to more restrictive migration policies and how these in turn may serve as effective counter-terrorism tools. A review of the empirical literature on the migration–terrorism nexus indicates that (1) there is little evidence that more migration unconditionally leads to more terrorist activity, especially in Western countries, (2) terrorism has electoral and political (but sometimes short-lived) ramifications, for example, as terrorism promotes anti-immigrant resentment and (3) the effectiveness of stricter migration policies in deterring terrorism is rather limited, while terrorist attacks lead to more restrictive migration policies.
... Die Wahrnehmung und Bewertung von Europa und der europäischen Integration unterscheidet sich auch nach Themenfeldern: Beim Denationalisierungstopos sind Eliten deutlich häufiger als die übrige Bevölkerung bereit, nationale Grenzen abzubauen bzw. weiter zu öffnen (Teney & Helbling 2014). McLaren (2006) (Decker et al. 2014, S. 55). ...
... While the EU still has firm support from mainstream political parties and their voters, it is more the extreme parties on the right and the left as well as their supporters who are Eurosceptical. This U-shape reflects a growing divide between elites and the broader public regarding the EU, with the elites strongly in support (Hobolt 2009;Hooghe 2003;Teney and Helbling 2014). It is this socio-structural difference in support of the EU project that anchors most explanations of politicization. ...
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The current literature on politicization can be separated into three groups: politicization within national political systems, of the EU, and of international institutions. In spite of speaking about a similar phenomenon based on a common definition, these three strands of literature do not interact with each other and display, beyond the definitional consensus, significant differences. The focus on different political levels also leads to various assessments. This contribution compares these three strands of literature with the goal of showing that it is necessary to simultaneously look at all three levels to understand the dynamics of politicization and de-politicization. There is a significant potential of analyzing different (de-)politicization processes in an integrative framework to provide fresh insights for each of the fields. In fact, some of the differences between the three kinds of literature can be resolved only by looking at the three levels in parallel.
... While this is a useful starting point in distinguishing varying conceptual uses, the scheme falls short in theorizing the democratic legitimacy, not only by leaving out voters and their policy preferences, but also the process that channels their preferences into policies. Those that take the democratic process into account have studied policy congruence (Leruth and Taylor-Gooby, 2018;Teney and Helbling, 2014), policy representation (Freeman, 1995;Hobolt and Klemmemsen, 2005;Statham and Geddes, 2006), policy responsiveness (Jennings, 2009;Morales et al., 2015), and the effect of party ideology on migration outcomes (Gudbrandsen, 2010). ...
Much of the literature on migration policy has proclaimed a gap between what parties say and what parties do. The “gap-hypothesis” expects political parties to deliver “tough talk” and “weak action” on the issue of migration. This article tests this idea empirically by asking whether political parties keep their electoral promises in migration policy. The analysis of governments across 18 West European countries between 1980 and 2014 makes use of a new cabinet-based data set of migration policy outputs and two different data sets measuring parties’ preferences on migration. The results show that governing parties enact systematically more liberal policies on immigration and integration than their electoral manifestos would suggest. The purported democratic deficit in migration policy is substantially the result of a limited fulfillment of the electoral mandate by governing parties. Nevertheless, governing parties act upon their electoral mandate dependent on the governing constraints and the electoral incentives. Overall, governments tend to deliver on their integration policy positions but not on their immigration policy positions. The manifesto–policy link is stronger in the domestic policy dimension where governments face fewer external constraints.
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The global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 brutally exposed the vulnerabilities of hyperconnected just-in-time production networks. It was met by prominent calls by business and political leaders to prioritize resilience over efficiency and to reshore global production. About one year later, this commentary provides an early assessment of the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the political economy of globalized production. Rather than fundamentally changing the structural organization of multinational corporations, it is argued, the pandemic highlighted and accelerated important trends that were already well underway before the outbreak of the pandemic. Even though the COVID-19 crisis has not fundamentally altered infrastructures of global production, there are indications that transnational production networks may be in the process of bifurcating further into US- and China-centered spheres—with more cross-border integration within but less across the two—in the years to come.
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Focusing on one specific aspect of immigrant political integration—how authorities deal with their political right to demonstrate—we show in a large-scale survey experiment that liberal policy decisions permitting demonstrations lead to a polarization in attitudes: citizens who agree with a permission become more sympathetic, while those in favor of banning become more critical of immigrants. This notion of opinion backlash to policy decisions adds a new perspective to the literature on immigration attitudes which has either assumed a congruence between public opinion and policy or ignored political sources of anti-immigrant sentiment altogether. By exploring the unintended consequences of policy decisions, we provide an alternative view and demonstrate the inherent dilemma of balancing citizen opinion and minority rights.
Cambridge Core - Political Sociology - The Struggle Over Borders - edited by Pieter de Wilde
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Economic, cultural and political systems formerly bounded by the borders of nation states are increasingly globalized. Politicians, civil society and other societal actors engage in publically debating issues related to globalization. Whether conflicts consolidate to form a stable cleavage depends among other factors on the extent to which they become ideologically underpinned. As the basis for such an underpinning, we identify philosophical debates about justice between globalists and statists and between universalists and contextualists as raw material that political entrepreneurs active in the public sphere can draw upon. On this basis, we identify four major bones of contention that could provide the core of such ideological underpinning: the permeability of borders; the allocation of authority between levels; the normative dignity of communities; and the patterns of justification. One ideal typical combination of those four components can be labelled cosmopolitanism- combining arguments from globalists and universalists; another communitarianism, combining statist and contextualist arguments. The more these two ideal types feature as political ideologies in public debate, the more do debates about globalization solidify into a new cleavage. We develop a conceptual framework which can subsequently be used in support of empirical research analysing the ideological foundations of globalization conflicts.
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It has been widely acknowledged that the process of European integration and unification was started and is still pursued as an elite project, designed to put an end to debilitating conflicts and rivalries by consolidating a common power base and by pooling Europe's economic resources. Nevertheless elites have remained the known unknowns of the European integration process. The present volume is designed to change this. Based on surveys of political and economic elites in 18 European countries, it is a comprehensive study of the visions, fears, cognitions, and values of members of national parliaments and top business leaders underlying their attitudes towards European integration. It also investigates political and economic elites' embeddedness in transnational networks and their ability to communicate in multicultural settings. Our book strongly supports the view of an elitist character of the process of European integration on the one hand, while challenging the idea that European national elites have merged or are even merging into a coherent Eurelite on the other. As the 11 chapters of this book show, the process of European integration is much more colourful and even contradictory than concepts of a straightforward normative and structural integration suggest. In particular this process is deeply rooted in and conditional on the social and political settings in national contexts. The empirical basis for this book is provided by the data of the international IntUne project, which has for the first time created a comprehensive database combining coordinated surveys of Europe-related attitudes at the elite and general population level.
This book provides a major empirical analysis of differing attitudes to European integration in three of Europe's most important countries: Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom. From its beginnings, the European Union has resounded with debate over whether to move toward a federal or intergovernmental system. However, Juan Díez Medrano argues that empirical analyses of support for integration--by specialists in international relations, comparative politics, and survey research--have failed to explain why some countries lean toward federalism whereas others lean toward intergovernmentalism. By applying frame analysis to a unique set of primary sources (in-depth interviews, newspaper articles, novels, history texts, political speeches, and survey data), Díez Medrano demonstrates the role of major historical events in transforming national cultures and thus creating new opportunities for political transformation. Clearly written and rigorously argued, Framing Europe explains differences in support for European integration between the three countries studied in light of the degree to which each realized its particular "supranational project" outside Western Europe. Only the United Kingdom succeeded in consolidating an empire and retaining it after World War II, while Germany and Spain each abandoned their corresponding aspirations. These differences meant that these countries' populations developed different degrees of identification as Europeans and, partly in consequence, different degrees of support for the building of a federal Europe.
Eliten zeichnen sich durch ihr Mitwirken an zentralen Entscheidungen aus, welche die Gesellschaft als Ganzes betreffen (Higley/Field/Grohölt 1976: 16).
Seit der Öffnung der „Mauer”, vor allem aber seit der deutschen Vereinigung im Jahre 1990 steht immer auch die Frage nach der politischen Kultur als geronnene Wert- und Überzeugungssysteme (Kaase 1983) der wieder vereinten Deutschen zur Diskussion. Hat die mehr als vierzigjährige Sozialisation in völlig gegensätzlichen Gesellschaftssystemen unterschiedliche Werthaltungen und politische Einstellungen hervorgebracht? Konnten kulturelle Gemeinsamkeiten die Phase der staatlichen Teilung überdauern? Werden vielleicht sogar mit der Betonung der Differenzen zwischen Ost- und Westdeutschen tatsächliche Ähnlichkeiten in den Vorstellungen vom gesellschaftlich Wünschenswerten (Kluckhohn 1951) zu wenig perzipiert? Oder ist für uns Deutsche ein beschwerlicher kultureller Anpassungsprozeß unausweichlich, in dem regional mobilisierte Friktionen und Konflikte eher die Regel denn die Ausnahme sein werden? Wird die politische Kultur der neuen Bundesrepublik in Zukunft eine fragmentierte oder eine in ost- und westdeutsche Subkulturen gespaltene sein (Gabriel 1996)? Fragen, denen sich der vorliegende Beitrag nähern will. Dabei wird anhand empirischer Befunde zu Werthaltungen und politischer Problemwahrnehmung von Eliten und Bevölkerung gezeigt werden, daß die Qualität der gesellschaftlichen Integration fünf Jahre nach der deutschen Einheit differenziert beurteilt werden muß.
Europe has experienced the most radical reallocation of authority that has ever taken place in peacetime over the past half-century. However, the ideological conflicts emerging from this development are only now becoming apparent. This collection brings together an authoritative group of scholars of European and comparative politics to investigate patterns of conflict arising in the European Union. The contributors to the volume conclude that political contestation concerning European integration is rooted in the basic conflicts that have shaped political life in Western Europe for many years.