The paper "The Power of Contact: Europe as a Network of Transnational Attachment", coauthored with Jan Delhey, Monika Verbalyte, and Auke Aplowski, has just been published online first at the European Journal of Political Research. A free pre-print version is available here.
In this article, we propose transnational attachment as a novel indicator of sense of community in Europe, arguing that this hitherto neglected dimension is substantially and structurally different from alternative ones such as cross-border trust and identification. Combining Eurobarometer 73.3 data on ties between all EU-27 countries with further dyadic data, we show empirically that the European network of transnational attachment has an asymmetric core-periphery structure centered around five extremely popular countries (the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain). In line with transactionalist theory, cross-border mobility and communication are strongly related to transnational attachment. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the network of transnational attachment is much denser among those with a higher than among those with a lower level of education. Our results suggest that offering European citizens incentives to travel to peripheral countries may help counterbalance the current asymmetric structure of transnational attachment, thereby increasing Europe’s social cohesion.