How Cognition and Affect Link Ideas to Preferences
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The present work utilizes both quantitative and qualitative techniques to extract the cognitive and affective elements of national identity from political discourse. However, a focus on national identity tends to depict the group as undifferentiated, obscuring the significant diversity which exists within the political community, at least in terms of how political objects are interpreted. Accordingly, another objective of this work is to investigate the diversity of interpretative schemes among different classes of individuals in the same political community. Another key argument is that discourses obscure undesirable political realities, domestic and international, at least temporarily. Apropos this thesis, the euro was sold by some elements of the ruling class in miraculous terms, as some sort of ‘savior’ that would solve all of Italy’s problems. This obscured the fact that only Italians, and not the euro, could lead to the real and sustained political and economic modernization that Italians desire. In the international sphere, the euro was sold as a policy that would help end Italy’s marginalization in Europe of second-class status (compared to the first-class status enjoyed by Germany, France, and the UK). This obscured the fact that the determinants of status in the international system are rooted in other variables, most of which have little to do with whether a country adopts a common currency like the euro. The case study to explore the validity of these arguments is the European Monetary Union (EMU), specifically, the links between national politics and EMU. Two countries were selected: Italy, which initially wholeheartedly supported EMU, and the UK, which overwhelmingly rejected the common currency from its inception in 1999.