Laura Odasso


Employing a sociological actor-centred approach, this article explores the interrelations between individual and organisational dynamics by investigating how national civil society organisations’ (CSOs) leaders, board and rank-and-file members’ views of Europe(s) contribute to the CSOs’ process of reaching consensus about going European. Bottom-up Europeanization and social movement studies are employed to analyse the case of a French CSO joining a European network of national CSOs in order to defend the rights of binational couples. These couples, composed of a European and an extra-European citizen, have been particularly affected since mid-1990 by restrictive policies that the EU has attempted to harmonise, but that remain nationally rooted. Thanks to an in-depth ethnography and drawing on the ‘usages of Europe’ and the ‘Europeanness’ literature, three views of Europe, arguments to use or not to use Europe in CSOs, have been identified. These views, defined as instrumental, pro-European and Euro-sceptical, depend on individuals’ generation and education, as well as on their motives for engagement and their roles in the CSO. The national CSO leadership and board have to negotiate with this plurality of views before defining activities. In so doing, they have to consider economic and human resource shortages. Thus, beyond divergent positions towards Europe, consensus is reached on the possibility of using Europe as an instrument for national policy changes and CSO visibility. Such dynamics, employed to harmonise disparate views of Europe, are reproduced once national CSOs are acting in the European network and tend to create a weak experience of Europeanization, mainly based on the transnationalisation of the CSO's activities.


Article Keywords

Usages of Europe;, actor-centred approach, Transnationalisation;, national CSO, Europeanization;, views of Europe, Europeanness;, usage of Europe, Vocabulary of motives;, family migration policies, Family migration, transnationalisation, Europeanisation, France, vocabulary of motives, internal democracy, members-leaderships

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