Adina Akbik

Senior Assistant Professor of European Politics


Credit photo: Peter Schrank in The Economist (2020)

The Impact of Cultural Stereotypes in European Multi-Level Policy Enforcement

Funded by the European Research Council, Starting Grant 2023
Principal investigator: Adina Akbik
Amount: 1,5 million euros
Duration: 2024-2028
Cultural stereotypes are often present in the political and media discourse on European Union (EU) governance: e.g., the lazy Greeks, the tax-dodging Italians, the stingy Dutch, and so forth. Especially when stereotypes are negative, they create conflict between national governments, fuel Euroscepticism among voters, and can lead to the discrimination of citizens or Member States. Yet while stereotypes have been studied in political rhetoric and media coverage, we know little about their impact on the behaviour of national and EU officials. To address this gap, EUROTYPES sets out to investigate how cultural stereotypes impact cooperation and effectiveness in contemporary EU governance.
The project is the first of its kind because it studies stereotypes among civil servants as opposed to political elites in the EU, who often use stereotypes strategically for electoral gains. The focus is on multi-level policy enforcement, a new phenomenon in European integration which captures the participation of national and EU civil servants in joint ‘on-the-ground’ operations in border control, law enforcement cooperation, financial supervision, etc. Since they are not socialized in Brussels or running for office, such officials are much more likely to (genuinely) display cultural stereotypes.
EUROTYPES pushes the frontiers of knowledge in several directions. First, it applies an original version of qualitative content analysis to identify stereotypes relevant for multi-level policy enforcement. Second, it uses recent developments in experimental research to capture the role of stereotypes among civil servants. Theoretically, the project constructs an innovative account of stereotypes as habits and positions them vis-à-vis other explanations of political behaviour (interests, norms, ideas). The goal is to show whether and how stereotypes hinder EU cooperation and, in the long run, establish a comprehensive research agenda on cultural stereotypes in transnational bureaucracies.
Project Team
In 2024, EUROTYPES will hire two PhD students, one postdoc, and two research assistants. Details coming soon!

Should you be interested, you can download the long version of the proposal below:


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