CIAO DATE: 11/00
Identity Beyond the State: The Case of the European Union
Peter van Ham
1. “Europe” Between Gesellschaft and Gemeinschaft
When we define state-formation as the creation of an infrastructure of governance based on law and a constitution, the EU has already made significant inroads. If anything, the EU is a community based on the rule of law. When we define nation-formation as the development of a European culture and consciousness within a “cognitive region”, the EU still remains rather retarded. In the history of Europe the consolidation of state and nation has in many cases run parallel, but has on occasion also run out of sync. The Polish state, for example, has not existed for several centuries, but the Polish nation has always endured. The Soviet Union, on the other hand, has survived seven decades without the development of a coherent and robust Soviet “nation”. Although history therefore “teaches” us many different things (and therefore teaches us little), it is questionable that these two processes can diverge too much. Is it not necessary for all political entities to be based on a self-conscious and active body of citizens that is capable of directing its claims to, and through, central institutions? Should not all polities be based on a certain organized community, which is bonded through a “sense of belonging”?
The debate about European identity can be brought back to the two ideal types of social organization distinguished by Ferdinand Toennies as the typology of Gemeinschaft vs. Gesellschaft. 1 The crucial distinction between these two concepts is that Gemeinschaft relates to a certain sense of belonging based on shared loyalties, norms and values, kinship or ethnic ties (“community”); it is conditioned by the feeling that this is a “natural” and organic association that is based on an a priori social unity, on the idea of “one people”, and hence a clearly cognizable demos. Gesellschaft, on the other hand, relates to the idea that people remain independent from each other as individuals, but may decide in a “social contract”, or a “convention”, to group together for the conduct of profit-making transactions (“society”); it remains an artificial construct which will only continue to exist as long as its citizens will find the contractual arrangements of common value.
Toennies’ sociological categories remains valuable for reading contemporary Europe, and the development of the Euro-polity in particular. In many respects, we could argue that EU Member States have over the decades built a European Gesellschaft, but that the EU still does not have the life-and-blood characteristics of an internal, living and organic entity; it is, in other words, not (yet?) a truly European Gemeinschaft.
These questions of a “European identity” are not academic, but have a number of practical implication. In the political and scholarly discourse on integration, the creation of a European Gemeinschaft of some kind is generally deemed to be a prerequisite for taking further steps toward a unified Europe. 2 Contemporary Europe shows a diversity of peoples and communities with overlapping points of reference regarding values, meaning and identities. Europe’s cultural and social topography is fragmented, lacking clear unifying principles and shared experiences around which people could identify. This value-free multiformity which now characterizes the western world in general, complicates notions of solidarity and democracy in a European context. The notion of “Europe” has become one of the many images that now has to compete for allegiance in the marketplace of ideas. 3
When we (conveniently) skip the examination of the exact content of Europe’s identity, but conceive it as a certain level of societal cohesiveness and solidarity, it becomes apparent that with the development of the Euro-polity, traditional political questions of the distribution of wealth will have to be addressed. 4 Europe’s monetary Union implies that vast sums of money are being transferred from wealthier parts to poorer regions within the EU. The prospective eastward enlargement of the EU will only add to the already significant transfer of resources from rich(er) to poor(er) countries and regions. For Central European countries to compete in the EU’s common market, productivity has to be enhanced significantly and infrastructure improved. This can hardly be done without cost for the current EU Member States and without more modest support for the current beneficiaries of the Structural and Cohesion Funds (like Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Greece). This implies that there must be widespread, grass-roots political support for these transfers of resources, somewhat similar to the “natural” solidarity that we take for granted within nation-states. But why would European citizens want to respect decisions if the “losers” feel they do not feel themselves as part of the same (territorial) “community” as the “winners”? The question is, therefore, how homogeneous do we need to be in European terms? What level of solidarity and “shared experience” is needed? In how far should the EU become a locus of identity for European citizens? For the further development of the European project it will be especially relevant to examine whether is it possible to imagine a movement going beyond “national” homogeneity, but toward some form of polycentric, civic form of Europeanism.
These are a number of questions that fall within the horizon of this paper. It will argue that without something resembling a “European identity”, the process of Europeanization will inevitably grind to a halt or even come to a rupture. But given the multifarious character of Europe, this developing “identity beyond the state” can only be based on a solid base of multiculturalism, acknowledging that cultural diversity is a permanent and valuable part of democratic political society.
2. National Identity: Primordial, Ephemeral?
Timothy Garton Ash has argued that the “minimal trust and solidarity between citizens that is the fragile treasure of the democratic nation-state does not, alas, yet exist between the citizens of Europe. For there is no European demos - only a European telos.” 5 Although it is not even sure that the EU has such a clear notion of its future, it can hardly be disputed that a European Gemeinschaft remains the official political desideratum as the requisite basis for further integration. A “European people” will be difficult to image, although it should also not be excluded as an absurdity, or as a contradiction in terms.
In the debate on the development of a European identity, we can distinguish two opposing conceptions: (1) those we see national identity and nationalism as primordial to human beings in the sense that we all belong as if “by nature” to some ethnic community, perhaps in the same way as we all by nature belong to a family; and (2) those who consider these notions as ephemeral, as manifestations of a modern, state-centric era that is now drawing to a close (at least in the West). 6
Regarding national identity as an almost mystical notion, as a bond between “the people” through culture, memory and fate, traces back the philosophical footsteps of German Romantics like Herder, who speaks of der Gefuehl einer Nation , and the Seele, Herz und Tiefe of a people and a nation. Herder clearly does not subscribe to the saying that “the past is another country”. On the contrary: without a clear sense of history, both the present and the future will remain intelligible and interest in the past is a clear reflection of concern for the future. But Herder’s nationalism is inclusive, democratic and anti-imperialist. As Sir Isaiah Berlin has remarked, “Herder optimistically believed that all the flowers in the human garden could grow harmoniously, the cultures could stimulate one another and contribute to a creative harmony.” 7 This is a far cry from the more aggressive nationalism which has developed after the French Revolution and has been most forcefully formulated into the Jacobin political program of fighting for the nation’s life as well as for the ideals and institutions which have given the nation its “political will”. The aggressive version of nationalism has gained currency with the thoughts of Fichte, who argued that the superiority of the German “character” and its culture form the very foundation of the German nation. Fichte was probably the first to argue that “mankind is already divided into nations by nature, and the dissemination of nationalist doctrines will resemble calls to the faithful to prayer.” 8
As a latter-day exponent of this Primordial School of nationalism, Anthony Smith has argued that the nation-state will continue to be the bedrock of world politics and that the nation and nationalism provide the only realistic socio-cultural framework in today’s world order. 9 Smith flatly rejects the popular thesis that the nation-state as we know it has had its day, and that in a world of globalization other forms of political organization are better equipped and better positioned to deal with new challenges. His argument is built around the thesis that “memory” is central to identity 10 , and that “we can discern no global identity-in-the-making, nor aspirations for one, nor any collective amnesia to replace existing ‘deep’ cultures with a cosmopolitan ‘flat’ culture. The latter remains a dream confined to some intellectuals.” 11 He goes on to explain that all members of a political community have a “pre-history” which is based on shared experiences that, by definition, sets them apart from other people and that endows them with a feeling of belonging. 12
This clearly goes beyond the “rational choice” of individual human beings of how to decide for themselves who they are, where they come from, and where they are going. Rather, as Smith argues, “beneath the public version [of nationalism] there is often a deeper religious content to the sense of value and dignity of the national community, one, which inevitably lends an air of exclusiveness to the core ethnic community of the nation. This is a sense of national dignity and chosenness”. 13 This mythical, and more often than not also ethnic nature and foundation of nationalism (which may be a reason to argue that the Westphalian states system is war-prone and inherently unstable), is considered a key instrument of mastery of the contemporary nation-state. In present-day Europe, as in most other parts of the world, most identities are constructed as cognitive boundaries, which are based on a sense of belonging. This, inevitable, assumes that “identity” is an exclusionary concept: You either “belong”, or you do not; you are either a “citizen”, or you are not. Without the Other, a regional or national sense of selfhood will be difficult to define and configure. 14
Smith therefore finds it difficult to imagine how a European federation could succeed in stamping out the deeply ingrained and historic identities and cultures of the many diverse peoples of Europe. He raises the interesting question how the European project could advance without finding truly “Pan-European” popular traditions and values, as well as their equivalent symbols and experiences. Since Smith’s definition of identity focuses on a continuum of memory-situation-fate (which requires every robust identity to have a clear notion of its history, its present as well as its future), it will be difficult to construct a “European memory” as well as notions of a “European future”. Smith posits that there is no clear, popular notion of what “Europe”, “European identity”, or “European culture”, really stand for in terms of values, ideals and traditions. He also asks why anyone would want to choose a European identity/culture over an other, most notable over his/her own national identity/culture? 15
He goes on to argue that the European project does not constitute a deep bond and no real, vibrant community of fate, since “[w]ithout shared memories and meanings, without common symbols and myths, without shrines and ceremonies and monuments, except the bitter reminders of recent holocausts and wars, who will feel European in the depth of their being, and who will willingly sacrifice themselves for so abstract an idea? In short, who will die for Europe?” 16 This brings him to conclude that in the current European political context, a truly united Europe, based on a European identity, could only emerge slowly through the formation of European memories and traditions, myths and symbols which would mirror the image of the contemporary nation-state. But it is clear that for analysts like Smith, there is “little prospect of a Europe ‘super-nation’ until the majority of each European nation’s population becomes infused with a genuinely European consciousness.” 17 Without a European Gemeinschaft-of-sorts, the way forward toward a “political Europe” will remain troublesome.
On the other end of the conceptual spectrum we find those who argue that “there are no natural links binding people to one another; people are therefore the authors of their own links, the artists of their own connections.” 18 This argument holds that national identity, nationalism as well as the nation-state itself, are little more than political and cultural artifacts. Nation-states are read as social constructs that still look powerful and robust, but which are actually both ephemeral and open to modification. It acknowledges that Europe’s nation-states are only a few centuries old, and have therefore lasted no longer than the Roman Empire. Indeed, for Europe the model of political authority has for centuries been the “empire”, rather than the nation-state. 19 From the Holy Roman Empire to the many European colonial empires (under French, Dutch, Belgian, Portuguese or Spanish dominance), the territorial, sovereign nation-state was either non-existent, or only one part of a diverse conglomerate of authority. As Alain de Benoist has argued, “the empire is not primarily a territory, but essentially an idea or a principle. The political order is determined by it - not by material factors or by possession of a geographical area. It is determined by a spiritual idea or juridical idea.” 20 In this historical context, the Herderian claim that individuals can only flourish within their own nation-state seems absurd. It also exposes nationalism as little more than a thinly veiled ideological exterior legitimizing the territorial sovereign state and its power apparatus.
This critique is part of a wider argument which claims that the nation-state and nationalism have been suitable and fitting to modern industrial society (which required mobile and literate citizens for effective performance). Nation-states have now lost much of their core purpose in a postmodern era which requires new forms of political organization that go above and beyond the contemporary states system. 21 The globalizing world, dominated by transnational firms, requires a totalizing global ideology and a more global and unified (and perhaps even homogenous) culture of mass consumerism that would respond to mass advertising. These ideas of postindustrialism are based on the assumption that new systems of mass communications and the use of new computer-based technologies will put pressure on the nation-state by eroding and undermining established national identities. 22 Rather than confined national entities, the era of globalization would call for continent-size markets regulated by one, clear set of economic and political rules and values. This is the postmodern cosmopolitan culture that some consider the pinnacle, others the nadir of human progress. It is a pastiche of cultures, rather than based on one, specific culture. It is eclectic in nature, disinterested in place and time, has no concern for ethnic or national origins and is blissfully ignorant of history. This follows the hegemonic “logic” of the parallel process of globalization and Europeanization which we have examined earlier.
From this perspective, the Westphalian states system and its confined view of “national interests” and “national sovereignty” are (or, perhaps better, have been) functional to an era that is now drawing to a close, at least in most parts of the West (and in Western Europe in particular). This reading of the European integration process is based on a conception of material and historical determinism that works slightly standardized and semi-automatic, failing to give room to explanations that draw upon psychological and cultural factors which analysts like Smith consider of such critical importance. We should recognize that over the long history of Europe, there have been a number of events that have shaped the current structure of the continent which can hardly be explained by undiluted economic determinism. Europe has been at a crossroads every other decade or so, and it is difficult to imagine how contemporary Europe would look like if Charlemagne had decided not to split up his heritage among his three sons that resulted in the separation of the west Franks from the east Franks, and thereafter to the development of France and Germany. As Philip Allott has argued, “there has been no natural and inevitable progression from the Athens of Solon to Economic and Monetary Union, there has never been a settled point-of-balance in the endless uniting and separating forces of European history.” 23
This is a crucial point that needs to be emphasized. The European integration process is a unique consummation of political will and geopolitical circumstance. The European project has in many ways been a product of the Cold War, kick-started by the integrative stimulus of the Marshall Plan, and hatched under the military wings of the US and NATO. But it has also been a voluntaristic project, based on the power of ideas and the forceful promotion of the concept of European unity and federalism. Participants of the Congress of the Hague, which founded the European Movement in May 1948, clearly agreed that the nation-state was the main source of hatred and war among European peoples that had to be overcome. This anti-nationalist tenet has been a constant in the debate about Europe’s future, initially based on the geopolitical necessity to contain Germany within a strong institutionalized European framework, later as a phlegmatic response to the pressures of globalization which continue to question the centrality of the nation-state.
In this sense, the basis for overcoming the hegemonic cult(ure) of the state is founded on the notion that European integration is a means to promote peace, rather than merely an economic program to guarantee prosperity. In many ways, the European Coal and Steel Community was not about coal and steel at all, but about the pacification of the continent, German-French reconciliation and the building of a security community. It has been a mechanical process, willed and consciously constructed by Western Europe’s economic and political elite. And for committed European federalists, it has also been a teleological process, based on the argument that the peoples of Europe may finally liberate themselves from the unnatural bonds of their nation-states and find their cultural self-realization in a freer, more open European political framework. Former British European Commissioner Lord Cockfield, has summed up this argument by noting that “[t]he gradual limitation of national sovereignty is part of a slow and painful forward march of humanity.” 24
I do not want to argue here that the “truth” can be found somewhere in the middle, as a compromise between the Primordial and the Ephemeral perspective on the nation-state and nationalism. However, it does seem rather brazen to claim the singularity of the nation-state and its indispensableness for all meaningful human political and cultural development in the light of the nation-state’s rather short historical life. In this context, one can be reminded of the story Jean Baudrillard tells of an English naturalist of the nineteenth century (called Philip Henry Gosse), who as a paleontologist was studying fossils. As a devout Christian, he argued that Creation had taken place ex nihilio and that “God thus had created at once fossils, geological sediments, exactly as they were in the 19 th century, and he had created them as simulacra, as a trompe l’oeil in order to provide humanity (...) with a history, hence a past. Therefore, God would have provided human beings with a retrospective past by creating fossils and geological sediments.” 25
In many ways, nation-states continue to author and carefully cultivate their national heritages, the cultural memories, as the indispensable fossils and sedimental sentiments for future generations to admire and “learn” from. These national fossils may no longer be politically relevant, but they do continue to serve as one of the few remaining unifying and legitimizing instruments of state authority and power. As long as socio-paleontologists have not discovered new, shiny and attractive examples of truly European fossils, the nation-state’s historical heritage is bound to remain a central part of our memory and identity. Europe is therefore certainly not predestined to unite, and the “forces of globalization” still offer certain room for maneuver for national governments to come up with a political response that may well be different from intensified Europeanization. Turning globalism into the deus ex machina for European integration would be too shallow and naive an analysis.
The presumption that an “identity” constitutes the substructure for national development should be further problematized. Should we take for granted that national selfhood is some kind of puzzle that has a hidden solution, based on the assumption that to know the “nation” is to know the hidden national Self that lies buried deep within it? But what if this national Self, this national identity, does not really exist, can not be discovered, but is actually made and continuously remade? This would render national and European identity more complex and turn it into something much looser, as an aggregate of methods and policies, of clusters of rules and regulations that ceaselessly interact in a prosaic process with the uncountable other facts of everyday life. Identity must not necessarily be considered as a gift and as an inborn and primordial quality, but as a dynamic process that requires enormous energy to maintain and that will never by fully “complete”. This would be a conception of Self that assumes the absence of totality and unity as a static condition.
Through this analytical prism, the imperfections and limitations of Europe’s contemporary identity should almost be taken from granted. No teleology, economic and social determinism or other totalizing quest for generating “identity” can explain the discontinuity of the development of a notion of European selfhood. Instead, Europe’s fragments and fractures may well be construed as one of its main values, offering unique openings and opportunities in today’s postmodern era. Perhaps the most important question should therefore not be “does national identity matter?” Rather we should ask “under what circumstances and to what extent does national identity matter” as a factor in the process of Europeanization?
3. The Multiple Bases of Europeanism
The classical distinction is made between nations that define themselves along civic or ethnic lines. Civic nationalism , which we can find in France and the United States, defines the “nation” in terms of the willingness of its people to adhere to a certain set of civic values and rules with jus soli (or citizenship by birthplace) as the norm. The focus of allegiance is the state and its institutions, which also implies a high degree of cultural assimilation as the price to be paid by ethnic groups for their integration in society. Ethnic nationalism , which we can find in Germany and Poland, defines the “nation” in terms of ethnic origin and birth; nationality is determined by jus sanguinis , that is by ancestry and blood-ties, rather than by residence, choice and commitment. In a somewhat simplified way, we could say that civic nationalism stresses the importance of the individual’s commitment to the Gesellschaft, whereas ethnic nationalism tends to emphasize the organic sense of belonging that is central to Gemeinschaft. A third alternative of nationality would be the multicultural model where the nation does allow scope for the maintenance of cultural and ethnic differences. This would make full citizenship relatively easy without the requirement of cultural assimilation. The clearest examples of this alternative are to be found outside Europe (i.e., in Australia and Canada). 26
Although the examples of France and Germany show that both civic and ethnic nationalism can be based on the dual principles of individual rights and liberty, it has proven difficult to anchor society and culture on tolerance and inclusion when allegiance is mainly invested in ethnicity. By definition, ethnicity is a permanent element of identity that is not subject to choice; it cannot be easily concealed. Ethnic nations are almost by definition rather closed societies where bloodline or skin-color may continue to brand you as an “outsider”. In sharp contrast, allegiance, the defining element of civic nationalism, is more flexible and more inclusive. In starker terms, it can be argued that collective identity can be conceptualized as secular, civic and inclusive-pluralist on the one hand, and in terms of consanguinity, religion, and ethno-nationalist exclusiveness on the other.
We should further recognize that a sense of home does not have to be based on written sources and unquestioned elements of collective memory. Rather, it depends to a large extent on enacted ceremonial performances, commemorative rituals, language and formalities that regularly charge our emotional batteries and renew our sense of belonging. Since the state has become the “standard” unit for political authority in Europe, nationalist thought has constructed a collective identity within the specific boundaries of national territory. This is how nation-states have throughout the centuries developed and cultivated the strong bonds of community. Roland Robertson has argued that during the intense phase of globalization that took place between 1880 and 1920, European states responded with an extreme form of nationalism and a “willful nostalgia” in an effort to shelter their societies and cultures from the “outside”. 27 New national symbols were developed, new ceremonies introduced and traditions (re)invented. These were new rites celebrating a “glorious past” and based on readings of traditions and culture that sought to integrate and standardize citizens’ loyalty to the nation-state and the national idea(l). Scottish nationalism, for example, is a modern phenomenon, which celebrates its clan culture through kilts and bagpipes in an effort to distinguish itself from increasing convergence with England within the United Kingdom. The fear of becoming “British” has set off an emphasis on Scottishness - real or imagined, based on history or modern fabrications. This “invention of tradition”, often going hand-in-hand with the “monumentalization of the past”, obfuscates that states are rather formal constitutional arrangements only occasionally based on a genuine collective heritage. But more often than not, states are products of the imagination, rather than “objectively” and “empirically” verifiable communities of interest and identity. 28
It is all too obvious that as the economic and social patterns of nations and states converge toward a “European” level and as cultural distinctiveness wanes, a search for identity and belonging may provoke an initial backlash of intolerance. The fear of being overwhelmed by a Europeanized culture which questions the legitimacy of national habits, mores and traditions often reinforces localism, regionalism as well as nationalism. This is clearly noticeable in contemporary Europe. Klaus Hänsch has argued that throughout Europe we can find a “renaissance of nationalism. It is a paradox. Where the nation state can less deliver than ever before in history, a growing part of our citizens focus their affections on the nation state. And that is not without logic: because man does not live by bread alone. In a time of growing alienation the abstract European institutions, remote as they seem, are unable to attract the imagination and affection of our people.” 29 In this context we should raise the question whether this “spiritual need” for a sense of belonging can only be satisfied within the confines of the nation-state, or whether we can image other, perhaps even cozier and warmer communities on a sub-national level. These alternative communities do not have to be organized on a territorial basis, but may well be within a religious community or a societal group. I see no reason why the nation-state would have the monopoly of “home”, and would be the single merchant of “belonging”.
4. European Identity/Affinity Politics
This still leaves unanswered the troublesome question what would be the alternative to visualizing Europe as a cultural entity with a shared sense of community and a measure of homogeneity? Should we conceive the European project “as a dynamic and often contradictory process the final shape or telos of which is indeterminate, rather than teleological.” 30
At least part of the problem can be found in the complex and novel nature of decision making and power in the (West) European context. Within the EU, the “classical” economistic notion of power no longer makes sense and only limits our understanding of the policy formation process. The EU is a complex composite and hybridized political entity defined by betweenness and multi-cultural diversity. But how to read this novel political entity? How to influence the direction of this process and the policy outcomes of the decision making body? Europeanization is therefore often accompanied by a certain sense of dislocation, displacement and puzzlement. This is not to say that Europe is foreign to us, particularly since all European societies are in one way or other an integral part of this political community. But it certainly problematizes our national identity and forces us to think how Europe resonates in our political understanding of the Self.
This increasing political homelessness has given rise to what has been called “identity politics”, which refers to the notion of accepting and pursuing politics in terms of gender, sexuality, race, region, state or continent, or other spatial or non-spatial terms of reference. Identity politics is based on a demand for authenticity, insisting on the right of those previously invisible and unrecognized to receive opportunities for self-realization. 31 Wendy Brown has defined this as a reaction “to an ensemble of distinctly postmodern assaults upon the integrity of communities producing identity.” 32 Although there is little doubt that identity politics has increased the awareness of marginalization, discrimination and the very notion of “difference”, it has failed to develop into a long-term tool of social and political change. Identity politics has in most cases been a strategy and compensatory technique to draw attention to underprivileged groups, and has often led to more fragmentation, divisiveness and a continuous lack of unity. 33 Identity politics has therefore been criticized since it “creates and perpetuates an understanding of public identity composed in terms of the suffering self: the oppressed are innocent selves defined by the wrongs done to them.” 34
Focussing on identity therefore tends to be a passive instrument of division, a search for the qualities and values that divide people, rather than a quest for a human essence that may unite or at least connect people. Postmodern scholars have further problematized the subjective construction of particular identities, arguing that these different factors as race, gender, class and sexual preference can not be regarded separately and that any attempt to prioritize such factors would simply be another dimension of a totalizing and dominating essentialism. 35 With “essentialism” is meant the attribution of presumably defining characteristics to a person, a group, or even a concept, assuming that some attributes can be expected to shape their relations to others persons, other groups, or other ideologies. Essentialist politics therefore views that some relations are more important than others (i.e., the Marxist assumption of class as the defining social and economic category), which have therefore to be taken into account when constructing strategies for political change. 36 The process of European integration should therefore be understood as a massive European venture of reversed identity politics: it can be read as a search for what makes it possible to think in terms of a concept of “Europe”. It is a sustained effort to invent an all-embracing “imagined community” on a continental scale. 37
In this context the argument is frequently made that changes in technology, economic relations and social institutions have led to a contradictory and almost dialectical process of simultaneous globalization and localization. Technology homogenizes time and space, creating global images that erode established categories of identity. As a result, people have begun to imagine “new communities” apart from the traditional nation-state, new “homes” based on new social epistemes (i.e., what people collectively know about themselves as well as others). 38 These new “homes” are developed along the lines of cognitive regions, whose borders are inevitably fluid but which nevertheless are defined by a shared, intersubjective understanding of culture, common identity and a commensurate sense of solidarity. 39 These new “homes” are not simply and solely based on the subjective emotions of a certain, undefinable we-feeling, but perhaps most of all on the basis of shared knowledge and a shared notion that they all inhibit a (non-territorial) space in which they can feel “at home.” 40 Since Europe’s identity will be of an disembedded quality, characterized by unsteadiness and (at least for the time being) devoid of the solidity and continuity that has been the trade-mark of the modern era and its institutions, European integration offers opportunities for new or oppressed identities to find a societal niche for themselves. It will also increasingly call for new, looser senses of political affiliation to manifest themselves on the supranational level. In this sense, Europe calls for an identity politics of affinity, rather than a parochialized, narrow sense of Self. 41
But we should be careful in imagining this new “European home”. Michael Ignatieff has correctly noted that as a matter of historical fact, “Europe does not stand for toleration any more than it stands for ethnic cleansing. The doctrine of toleration is a European invention, but so is the concentration camp.” 42 As Slavoj Zizek has noted: “When one says ‘European legacy’, every self-respectful Leftist intellectual has the same reaction as Joseph Goebbels had to culture as such - he reaches for his guns and starts to shoot out accusations of proto-Fascist Eurocentrist cultural imperialism.” 43 Clearly, Europe can look back on a checkered past and the only way to develop a “European consciousness” might well be to turn our backs to European history and develop as a community that is oriented toward the future. This raises the further question whether Europe could provide its many and diverse peoples with a new sense of belonging, probably not based on Smith’s notion of “shared memory”, but on a foundation of common sedimented experiences, cultural forms which are associated, however loosely, with a place called “Europe”? Perhaps the only way of achieving this aim is not to stress collective memory, but rather collective amnesia in an effort to collectively forget the centuries of strife and conflict among European peoples and states?
This would call for what Zygmunt Bauman has labeled a “palimpsest identity”, which is “the kind of identity which fits the world in which the art of forgetting is an asset no less, if no more, important than the art of memorizing”. It is the kind of identity “in which forgetting rather than learning is the condition of continuous fitness, in which ever new things and people enter and exit without rhyme or reason”. 44 This again follows Nietzsche’s call for “active forgetfulness”, a conscious and incessant effort to protect the human being from absolute historical memory and to burden it with so-called “historical truths”. 45 Only such a palimpsest identity may provide Europe with the freedom to generously accommodate its many cultures and multifarious senses of “we”. This would follow the postmodern understanding of culture as a superficial decoration, as a capricious and calculated play with European ethnic and folk-motifs to festoon and beautify what is in essence a scientific and technocratic culture.
Although the act of forgetting may seem a somewhat artificial and insincere method of advancing a European identity, it should be recalled that nation-states have over the centuries practiced a complex and dialectic policy of both remembering and forgetting in their efforts to produce nationalism and a sense of belonging. Ernest Renan has claimed that forgetting has been “a crucial element in the creation of nations”, and that once a nation has been established, it very much depends for its continued existence upon a collective amnesia. 46 National unity, according to Renan, has often been established through brutality and force, and the newly created “Frenchman”, “German” or “Italian” had to actively forget his local, regional and other non-national roots and past by adopting a hegemonic national identity. The history of nation-building and nationalism therefore illustrates that identity-formation by definition involves active (and often enforced) collective amnesia. Although the EU is unlikely to enforce such a collective process of forgetting, it does ask for a shift in allegiance and solidarity which ipso facto implies a weakened link between citizens and “their” nation-state.
But on what cultural basis can such a European identity rest? The view that Europe is culturally superior is offensive, and the idea that European values and norms should be spread around the world for the benefit of other cultures is in itself imperialistic and misleading. During the Middle Ages, the very term “Europe” was used mainly to strengthen a sense of solidarity vis-à-vis a common enemy, especially during the period of Crusades to recapture the “Holy Land” from the “barbarians”. This view of a culturally superior and economically supreme “Europe” became dominant with the ideas of the Enlightenment, a period in which the consciousness of Europe reached new and unprecedented heights. The industrialization of European society and the newly generated wealth, new technologies and commensurate military prowess put Europe in the position of global leadership, which has nurtured the sense of cultural aloofness and feelings of European “specialness”, if not “chosenness”. During this historic period, the myth of “Europe” was solidified. 47 But since it was exactly in these centuries of European global preponderance that most European nation-states have been formatted, sentiments of a presumed “natural” preeminence have been established in the historical psyche of many European nations.
But such a reading of history obviously excludes other cultural centers of gravity from the equation (China and the Muslim world, for example), and ignores the valuable inputs of other cultures on what we now know as “European civilization”. 48 A teleological perspective on European culture, from Homer to the Amsterdam Treaty, also conveniently overlooks the nastier bits of European history (i.e., colonialism, fascism and communism). We should also question the political consequences of a replication of the process of identity-construction and “organic community”-building within an EU-framework. There is certainly a risk that such a European Gemeinschaft will merely legitimize exclusion based on clear-cut division between “us” and “them”. This is especially the case since the social construction of identity is such an indivisible part of the discourse on security. 49 The concept of “national values” is a component of a political discourse that specifies an internal community by juxtaposing it with an external threat. Security, therefore, is also about the creation of a political identity in an “imagined community”, usually within the boundaries of the nation-state. Europe’s identity is therefore an integral part of the wider discourse on Europe’s home and outer security, inevitably implying a sense of alterity and, ultimately, enmity.
How may the discourse on Europe’s identity be kept on a prosaic, rather than a securitized, heroic level? 50 Maintaining and nurturing Europe’s local and regional cultures is such a prerequisite for developing a Euro-polity which has grass-roots support, based on a European identity that develops parallel to other identities and which does not threaten to turn the continent into a much-feared Esperanto-culture. The ethno-national approach of Smith toward the construction of a European Gemeinschaft with all the traditional paraphernalia of statehood ranging from shared myths and memories to an anthem and European flag, will not offer a genuine alternative. It may perhaps not hurt (although even that remains to be seen), but it will certainly not do the trick by itself. A civic, rather than an ethno-national approach to nationalism and citizenship, unquestionably offers a better opportunity for building an open Euro-polity. This is exactly the reason why the EU Member States have decided to set up a Europe of the Regions at the same time as further steps toward Europeanization were taken at Maastricht (in 1991). It is this appreciation of diversity that has formed, and should continue to form, the basis for a nascent European political community. This Europe will remain a cultural potpourri, even if national allegiances may face fierce competition from calls for regional and overarching European loyalties. This would also be a sound basis for a nascent European citizenship.
We should therefore accept that “the uniqueness of the European Union order in the making requires new conceptual tools and a fundamental rethinking of standard models.” 51 It also serves to indicate that we should make a serious effort to conceptualize “ordered disorder and complex syncretisms in which wholes are seen as looser agglomerations and polymers of parts, which we find celebrated in postmodernism.” 52 In other words, Europe’s identity should be based on its celebrated diversity, its openness and inclusiveness. Its identity can not be realized by talking about it, it can not be grasped theoretically, but can only be derived from practice. European identity is an act, which can experience the continuous redefinition of itself only through relationships with others. This, rather than a narrow-minded and narrow conception of “Europeanness”, should form the platform for a new, civic European identity.
Accepting this notion has, of course, significant political ramifications. Turning “Europeanness” as a postmodern badge of privilege and superiority, as a new marker of pride and dignity, would risk emulating the trappings of nationalism on a European level, rather than grasping the opportunity to develop something qualitatively new. Would it, for example, really make such a difference whether we hear “Europe for the Europeans” or “Germany for the Germans” as slogans in the discourse of the extremist Right? But if “Europe” is not for the “Europeans”, for whom is it? And, what is more, who should be the prime movers for advocating the European identity in the increasingly competitive marketplace of ideas and symbols?
5. Engineers of the European Soul
Europe’s founding fathers’ long-term goal was to unite the peoples of Europe, not only - or even primarily - uniting Europe’s nation-states. With the increasing politicization of European integration, the problem of “European identity” has become essential: unless the peoples of Europe feel some genuine attachment to the EU and the European project, the possibilities for developing an effective and democratic Union will be constrained. European policy makers have from the onset understood that further steps toward the ultimate goal of a Federal Europe would require more than incremental change. Merely keeping the Functionalist machinery of spill-over moving will be insufficient. Robert Schuman therefore argued (in 1964) that a “true community requires at least some specific affinities. Countries do not combine when they do not feel among themselves something common, and what must above all be common is a minimum of confidence. There must also be a minimal identity of interests, without which one attains mere co-existence, not cooperation.” 53
From the very beginning of the European integration process it has therefore been recognized that something more exciting than coal and steel was needed to instill Europe with a sense of mystique. Jacques Delors has famously noted that “Europeans will not fall in love with a Common Market”. Especially since European integration increasingly touches directly on the boundaries of traditional state sovereignty, there is a growing need to strengthen the public’s identification with “Europe”. Hence the official goals of fostering a European “we-feeling” and forging a “European identity” of sorts. Europe is to become one of the “imagined communities” for those who live in the EU-space. But by turning itself into such an “imagined community”, the EU depends upon its existence on a multitude of collective acts of imagining (as well as forgetting), that mainly find their expression through the media, culture as well as politics. This implies that the new Euro-polity can only exist (or come into existence) by using the means of communication to make such a collective imagining (as well as collective amnesia) feasible.
This means that in many respects, the process of Europeanization remains an elite-driven project. The regular Eurobarometer opinion polls, conducted by the European Commission, invariably register a steady and broad support among the European population for the European project in all its different facets. Although this popular support for Europeanization is an important political factor, James Caporaso already warned us in the 1970s that public opinion polls may deceive political elites since the argument could be made that “the concept of Europe is popular precisely because it is only dimly perceived and affects Europeans everyday lives only peripherally.” 54 For now, we may argue (with Trevor Lloyd) that “most people who think of themselves as ‘Europeans’ [probably] have at least a Master of Arts degree.” 55 It is clear that most European citizens do not feel that they are “Europeans” in the way that they are Danish, Roman Catholic, lesbian, or a supporter of Feyenoord Rotterdam.
This can partly be explained by the fact that until the mid-1980s, European integration has been perceived as first and foremost an economic project, not directly touching upon the core values of its constituent peoples. Through the decades, Europe’s collective identity has developed hand in hand with an institutionalized “culture of cooperation”. Organizations like the EU, in tandem with the Council of Europe, NATO, and on a more confined political space within WEU and the Benelux, have developed a real “security community” in the Deutschian sense. 56 This “culture of cooperation” is also referred to as Europe’s “embedded liberalism”, based on the routinized and widely accepted mechanism of collective policy-making through (institutionalized) networks of interorganizational linkages. But although this consociational culture is crucial to understanding contemporary Europe, and the European integration project in particular, it has ipso facto remained an elite affaire. 57 Occasionally, this “culture of cooperation” will trickle down to ordinary citizens, but it does not involve most of them in a direct way. So, as Philip Schlesinger has summarized, “if there is a plausible story of emergent Europeanness to be told, it will probably have to be rooted in a gradualist saga of growing together through institutional sedimentation, the patient outcome of the longue durée rather than the quick-fire product of technocratic rationalism.” 58
However, such an approach based on “technocratic rationalism” is unlikely to be of any help in reconstructing the European Gesellschaft in an authenticated Gemeinschaft. For example, since the 1992 Maastricht Treaty, EU nationals can now take pride in their new European citizenship, which should have added a certain civic element to the development of a new community of European peoples. But as was to be expected, there have been few signs that European citizenship has touched an emotional chord with the ordinary wo/man in Europe’s streets. In this context, Brigid Laffan has suggested three dimensions of the EU’s top-down policies designed to embellish Europe’s identity: (1) the development of rights and citizenship; (2) the politics of “belonging” and symbols; and (3) the development and support for cross-national networks and cooperation. 59 The remainder of this paper will deal with the symbolic development of Europe and its impact on an emerging European identity.
From the early-1970s onward, the notion of the cultural underpinnings of the EC has been widely discussed, also within the Brussels bureaucracy. 60 In 1973, the EC Foreign Ministers adopted a “Declaration Concerning European Identity”, followed by a “Report on European Union” (1976), which introduced the concept of a “Citizen’s Europe”. Numerous declarations to blow life in these notions have been aired during the 1980s, which resulted in the introduction of a European Flag (which shows a circle of twelve five-pointed golden stars set against an azure background), as well as an anthem (Schiller’s Ode to Joy , as set to the music in the final movement of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony), and other paraphernalia symbolizing Europe’s “identity”. 61 The European Flag has by now become a rather potent symbol of Europe. It is now visible everywhere on public buildings, and during festivities and official meetings it flies next to national and regional flags. It decorates most license-plates of cars registered in the EU and in many ways it has become a natural part of the European scenery; it can hardly be overlooked.
In itself, this flag means little, but as usual there is a deeper narrative behind even the most innocuous of symbols. In his famous work Visual Thinking , Rudolf Arnheim has pointed out that the “image of the sphere has been used through the ages to depict physical, biological, and philosophical phenomena. Roundness is chosen spontaneously and universally to represent something that has no shape, no definite shape, or all shapes.” 62 I do not want to disgress too much into semiotics, but in this sense one could argue that the European Flag does indeed reflect the indeterminate past, present and future of the continent. Initially, the twelve golden stars symbolized the then twelve EU Member States, which brings to mind the metaphor of Thomas Mann (in his novel Buddenbrooks) that stars will shine brightest when their actual power has already subsided.
The basic political (and psychological) idea behind the introduction of these European symbols is to gradually modify the consciousness of the peoples of Europe of the political entity to which they belong. 63 It are attempts to foster a banal Europeanism among European citizens, encouraging the ideological habits that have enabled established nations in the West to reproduce their authority and power. Michael Billig has made a case that this “banal nationalism” is important since “[d]aily, the nation is indicated, or ‘flagged’, in the lives of its citizens. Nationalism, far from being an intermittent mood in established [West European] nations, is the endemic condition.” 64 In order to create such a European mood, “Europe” has to be “flagged”, symbolized, remembered, heralded, seen, heard, talked about, admired, whatever it takes to keep the idea of “Europe” relevant or even indispensable. But, as Billig argues, this reminding of the West European notion of nationalism “is so familiar, so continual, that it is not consciously registered as reminding. The metonymic image of banal nationalism is not a flag which is being consciously waved with fervent passion; it is the flag hanging unnoticed on the public building.” 65 This is exactly the function of the omnipresence of EU-symbols throughout Europe.
Such a strengthening of a European identity, which would not replace national identity but would rather be one of many identities held by individuals, is a process of both top-down voluntarist management and bottom-up attitudinal changes. Attempts to create a European identity through European symbols alone seem futile. European citizens now have a standard (deep-red) passport, but anyone travelling inside the EU will experience that borders still remain relevant (if only to go outside the EU/Schengen area). What is more, apart from the standardized cover of these passports (also, significantly, still referred to as identity papers), Member States have given its interior a notably national edge: the Dutch passport, for example, shows a brief pictorial history from the Batavs to the present-day Netherlands.
The physical presentation of the Euro and the consolidation of a European foreign and security policy worthy of its name, might (just might) construct the basis for a somewhat more robust European identity through banal Europeanism. Especially the overture of the Euro has been heralded as a potentially powerful source of unity among “Europeans”: “The day the citizens of the European Union begin to pay with the same [Euro], instead of pesetas, pounds, escudos or drachmas, this new dynamic society will be more European and more of a Union on several, not only economic, levels.” 66 The argument is frequently made that banknotes and coins reflect the national values and history that are central to people’s consciousness: “Each time a Spaniard pays with pesetas, images of distinguished figures of Spanish culture get registered in his brain. Spanish poets, writers, musicians, as well as beautiful Spanish landscapes and celebrated cultural achievements.” 67 This is naturally and surely an unconscious maneuver in which currencies are part of the “national current” that are continuously recharging the batteries of nationalism.
It is important to note that the EU has been well aware of the semiotics of the Euro. In a special communication the EU has described the background of the notes, coins as well as the sign of the Euro: “Every Euro coin will carry a common European face. On the obverse, each Member State will decorate the coins with their own motifs. No matter which motif is on the coins they can be used anywhere inside the 11 Member States. For example, a French citizen will be able to buy a hot dog in Berlin using a Euro coin carrying the imprint of the King of Spain. The common European face of the coins represents a map of the European Union against a background of transverse lines to which are attached the stars of the European flag. The 1, 2 and 5 cent coins put emphasis on Europe’s place in the world while the 10, 20 and 50 present the Union as a gathering of nations. The 1 and 2 Euro coins depict Europe without frontiers.”
The Euro-notes too, have their own narrative: “The designs are symbolic for Europe’s architectural heritage. They do not represent any existing monuments. Windows and gateways dominate the front side of each banknote as symbols of the spirit of openness and cooperation in the EU. The reverse side of each banknote features a bridge from a particular age, a metaphor for communication among the people of Europe and between Europe and the rest of the world.” As for the Euro-symbol, the EU argues that “it was inspired by the Greek letter epsilon, in reference to the cradle of European civilization and to the first letter of the word ‘Europe’. The parallel lines represent the stability of the Euro.” 68 Will these reflections of non-existing buildings, unknown Queens and Kings, windows and gateways, encourage the Europeanness of the countries that participate in the Euro-zone? It is difficult to answer such a question with any degree of confidence.
However, it is to be doubted that the introduction of a European anthem, European Flag, European monuments for the “glorious dead”, European ceremonies, universities and museums for “European heroes” or Europe’s “Founding Fathers”, will generate the feeling of historicity, of common roots and belonging. Even in an era where the image has become the principal method of collective appeal and public address, the notion of Europe has so many competitors that it will be difficult to capture a market-niche in the collective consciousness of European society. It is also manifestly evident that Member States have no ambitions whatsoever to produce a standardized “European wo/man”. Politics as the art of engineering the human soul is clearly passé. Europe’s new polity has shed all illusions and ambitions to mold society and culture after some illusory ideological model, although some regrets and phantom pains of the amputated instruments of power are on occasion painfully noticeable.
Only a marginal apparatus of policy remains available for Europe’s political elite. Jean Monnet’s famous remark that “if we were beginning the European Community all over again, we should begin with culture”, has dawned upon the European Commission in the 1980s, resulting in a growing awareness that efforts should be made to turn “Europe” (i.e., the EU-area) into something like a “common cultural/communicative space”. The forces of globalization have also encouraged European countries to take a further step toward Europeanization by promoting the study of foreign languages (and especially English, German and French) at schools and universities. Educational exchange is only one element of a larger EU-project to encourage the development of a “European culture”. A dense web of youth programs now exists with special programs to increase student mobility across Europe with the explicit purpose to develop the “European dimension” of higher education programs. The European Commission’s biggest success is probably its all-European student exchange system (called the ERASMUS program). The aim of the Commission has been to significantly raise the percentage of students who may study abroad from the current level of four per cent to ten per cent in the not too distant future. The figures for 1998/99 indicate that more than 1,600 universities (or equivalent) from 24 countries will benefit from this program; the activities approved by the Commission comprise the exchange of more than 200,000 students and 35,000 teachers. It is telling that this program has as its motto “Bringing students to Europe; Bringing Europe to all students”. ERASMUS also specifically encourages teaching staff exchanges and “transnational curriculum development”.
The Maastricht Treaty now provides the EU with a clear-cut legal basis for dealing with a much wider range of cultural matters. Article 128 (paragraph 4) of the Maastricht Treaty stipulates that the “Community shall take cultural aspects into account in its actions under the provisions of this Treaty, in particular in order to respect and to promote the diversity of its cultures”. I would like to emphasize that the explicit goal of promoting cultural diversity is crucial in understanding both the limits of cultural Europeanization and the very complex nature of this effort. The Union has decided to adopt the UNESCO-definition of culture, which is a rather comprehensive one: “culture consists of all distinctive, spiritual and material, intellectual and emotional features which characterize a society or a social group.” 69 The EU therefore considers it (among others) as its role to “improve the knowledge and dissemination of the culture and history of the European peoples”, and to “conserve and safeguard cultural heritage of European significance.” This will be done (of course “while respecting national and regional diversity”) with the explicit aim of “bringing the common cultural heritage to the fore.” One manifestation has been the launching of a yearly rotating “European City of Culture”. Since 1985, the EU sponsors this annual event with the explicit objective of “bringing the peoples of Europe closer together”. It aims to promote “the richness and diversity of Europe’s cities, while highlighting their shared cultural heritage and the vitality of their artistic creation”. 70
But the Union’s cultural policies also have an important external function to play. Apart from the new responsibilities of the EU to actively support the cultural development of and among Member States, the Europeanization of culture can also be read as an explicitly protective mechanism, shielding Europe’s culture from abroad. The Commission has argued that the globalization of trade and communications networks will inevitable impinge upon cultural issues. As a result, the EU will “aim to protect the ability of the Member States to take any appropriate measure to promote the respect for cultural diversity and encourage creativity and cultural development in Europe.” 71
The Europeanization of culture therefore serves two ambitious functions: (1) to encourage a feeling of Europeanness and spiritual, emotional and intellectual belonging; and (2) to protect Europe’s culture(s) from the “tidal waves” of globalization. It should be clear that both these internal and external functions are complementary. It should also be clear that Europe’s nation-states have obviously come to the conclusion that their own, national cultures may well be too weak separately to survive the onslaught of globalization. Europeanization is therefore both a sanctuary for Europe’s culture(s), as well as an inescapable mechanism that will promote some degree of harmonization within the European cultural sphere itself.
6. Some Concluding Remarks
George Steiner already argued that only trees have roots, but that Man has legs. It is therefore first and foremost mobility and change that will offer opportunities for a European identity to develop. How this can be done and whether this may be effective, still remains unclear. This means that for the time being, the question of “identity” remains critical to the further development of the EU. Do who need “good Europeans” to proceed with the European integration process? Does the EU need its own culture and sense of belonging to assure the support for its policies? Will the EU become the new “homeland” for European citizens or just a “homeland of homelands”? Will the EU be able to transcend modern boundary-consciousness and adopt a more fluid notion of the inside/outside than the nation-state has adopted in the past? All these question remain to be answered (as well as studied) before the ultimate problem of the role of identity/Europe can be answered.
The bottomline seems to be that we are not sure what needs to come first: the nation-as-a-people, or the nation-as-a-state; whether we first need a Gemeinschaft or a Gesellschaft to accomplish the European project? After the Risorgimento, the nineteenth-century Italian nationalist Massimo d’Azeglio declared: “We have made Italy, now we have to make Italians”. 72 At the beginning of the 21 st century, European policymakers understand that there is very little for them “to make”, and that their policy tools as “engineers of the European soul” are extremely modest. What is needed first and foremost is for the dialectic process of remembering (the European) and forgetting (the national) to gather momentum without falling into the hegemonic trappings of modern nation-building. The temptation for European policymakers will be to assume that a consolidated EU is required to go through the same phases of development as the nation-state, acquiring the same characteristics and qualities, both actively remembering and forgetting. This would turn the EU in a limited, sovereign community conceived on the basis of a deep, horizontal comradeship. 73 “Europeanism” as the basis of such a consolidated EU, would then follow in the footsteps of a dwindling nationalism. As Benedict Anderson wrote on the roots of nationalism, such a Europeanism would align itself with the existing cultural system of nationalism, “out of which &-; as well as against which – it came into being.” 74
Clearly, some of this dialectic process of Europe-building will become more visible and important over the years. For the sake of European democracy and political effectivity, a more structured and cohesive EU will be required. It will be the EU that is most actively looking “for a new way of linking fraternity, power and time meaningfully together.” 75 It is, however, most likely that the development of such a postmodern, palimpsest European identity will not politically satisfy and aesthetically please those who still crave for the solid and robustness of modernity’s ambitions. At this early stage, “Europe” is likely to become what Renan has called the “daily plebiscite” that nations require and receive as a measure of their popular and voluntary support. 76 Like the nation-state, the European polity and community will have to make and daily remake its meaning in everyday, prosaic life. The nation-state may lose its central role as the territorial form of signification, as the central system of political meaning for “its” citizens; Europe is well-placed to add another tone to the kaleidoscopic identity of its citizenry. But this is bound to be an overarching Europe - embracing both West and East. Although amalgamating these two histories and narratives of Europe will be complex and troublesome, Zizek has rightly noted that “what transpires in the gap [between West and East] that separates the two perspectives is a glimpse of a ‘Europe’ worth fighting for.” 77 In the meantime, postmodernity’s discontents will continue to call for a more comprehensive and totalizing model of European order and identity. But Europe’s modest achievement is that it has now come to realize that there can be identity in “non” (or semi) -identity, that is to say in a sense of belonging that continuously shifts and overlaps. Homesick Europeans with a continued dream of European purity are therefore bound to be disappointed.
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--, The Ethnic Origins of Nations (Oxford: Basic Blackwell, 1986)
Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty, “Translator’s Preface”, to Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology (Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998 - corrected edition)
Toennies, Fedrinand, Community and Association (London: Routledge, 1974)
Wæver, Ole, “Identity, Integration and Security”, in Journal of International Affairs , vol.48 (Winter 1995)
--, “Securitization and Desecuritization”, in Ronnie D. Lipschutz (ed), On Security (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995)
Williams, Michael C., “Identity and the Politics of Security”, in European Journal of International Relations , vol.4, no.2 (June 1998)
Wintle, Michael, “Cultural Identity in Europe: Shared Experience”, in Wintle (ed), Culture and Identity in Europe: Perceptions of Divergence and Unity in Past and Present (Aldershot: Avebury, 1996)
Zizek, Slavoj, “For a Leftist Appropriation of the European Legacy”, in Journal of Political Ideologies , vol.3, no.3 (1998)
Note 3: For an overview of questions related to European identity, see Frank R. Pfetsch, “Die Problematik der europäischen Identität”, in Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte , 12 June 1998, and Thomas Risse-Kappen, “A European Identity? Europeanization and the Evolution of Nation-State Identities”, in Maria Green Cowles, James Caporaso and Thomas Risse-Kappen (eds), Transforming Europe (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, forthcoming) Back.
Note 6: For a different classification (between “primordial”, “civic” and “universal” constructions of collective identity), see S.N. Eisenstadt and B. Giesen, “The Construction of Collective Identity”, in Archives of European Sociology (vol. 56, 1995). Back.
Note 9: Anthony D. Smith, Nations and Nationalism in a Global Era (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1995). For an insightful conversation on the importance of nationalism in Central and Eastern Europe, see Anatol Lieven, “Qu’est-ce Qu’une Nation?”, in The National Interest , no.49 (Fall 1997), and the critique by Noel Malcolm of Lieven’s account in The National Interest , no.50 (Winter 1997/98). See also Godfrey Hodgson, “Grand Illusion: The Failure of European Consciousness”, in World Policy Journal , vol.10, no.2 (Summer 1993). Back.
Note 10: Smith defines an “ethnic community” as a group with a common name, a myths of common ancestry, shared memories, a common culture, a link with a historic territory or homeland, and a measure of common solidarity. See Anthony D. Smith, The Ethnic Origins of Nations (Oxford: Basic Blackwell, 1986), pp. 22-30. David Miller suggest five elements which constitute a community: shared belief and mutual commitment, extended in history, active in character, connected to a particular territory, and marked off from other communities by a disctinct public culture. See David Miller, On Nationality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), p.27. Back.
Note 15: Smith, Nations and Nationalism in a Global Era , p.128. It is therefore worth noting that Germany’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Joschka Fischer, has noted that “History is Europe’s identity. This is what makes its unification so exceedingly difficult.” See Fischer, “Europe’s Choice: Full Unity or Old Balance-Of-Power Wars”, in New Perspectives Quarterly , vol.14, no.4 (Fall 1997). Back.
Note 24: Quoted in Alan S. Milward (with the assistance of George Brennan and Frederico Romero), The European Rescue of the Nation-State (Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1992), p.2. Back.
Note 26: Mark Mitchell and Dave Russell, “Immigration, Citizenship and the Nation-State in the New Europe”, in Brian Jenkins and Spyros A. Sofos (eds), Nation and Identity in Contemporary Europe (London and New York: Routledge, 1996). Back.
Note 28: Michael Wintle, “Cultural Identity in Europe: Shared Experience”, in Wintle (ed), Culture and Identity in Europe: Perceptions of Divergence and Unity in Past and Present (Aldershot: Avebury, 1996), p.18. Back.
Note 32: Wendy Brown, “Feminist Hesitations, Postmodern Exposures”, in Differences. A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies , vol.3, no.1 (1991), pp.66-7. See also Katherine Kia Tehranian, “Global Communication and Pluralization of Identities”, in Futures, vol.30, nos.2-3 (March/April 1998). Back.
Note 38: Zdravko Mlinar, “Individuation and Globalization. The Transformation of Territorial Social Organization”, in Mlinar (ed), Globalization and Territorial Identities (Aldershot: Avebury, 1992). Back.
Note 42: Michael Ignatieff, “Nationalism and Toleration”, in Richard Caplan and John Feffer (eds), Europe’s New Nationalism. States and Minorities in Conflict (New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), p.221. Back.
Note 46: Quoted in Michael Billig, Banal Nationalism (London: Sage, 1995), pp.38-9. Renan has added that “[o]r l’essence d’une nation est que tous les individus aient beaucoup de choses en commun, et aussi que tous aient oublie bien des choses.” Quoted in Anderson, Imagined Communities , p.6. Back.
Note 47: The European myth is contrary to the reasoned logos since it is both opposed to truth (the myth as fiction), and to rationality (the myth as something absurd). See Joanna Overing, “The Role of Myth: An Anthropological Perspective, Or: ‘The Reality of the Really Made-Up,’”, in Geoffrey Hosking and George Schoepflin (eds), Myths and Nationhood (London: Hurst & Company, 1997), pp. 1-2. Back.
Note 49: Michael C. Williams, “Identity and the Politics of Security”, in European Journal of International Relations , vol.4, no.2 (June 1998), and Simon Dalby, “Security, Modernity, Ecology: The Dilemmas of Post-Cold War Security Dialogue”, in Alternatives, 17 (1992), p.107. Back.
Note 50: Ole Wæver, “Identity, Integration and Security”, in Journal of International Affairs , vol.48 (Winter 1995), and Wæver, “Securitization and Desecuritization”, in Ronnie D. Lipschutz (ed), On Security (New York: Columbia University Press, 1995). Back.
Note 56: This was defined by Karl Deutsch in the 1950s as a region in which war is no longer contemplated as a possible way of resolving disputes between states, and a community “in which there is real assurance that the members of that community will not fight each other physically, but will settle their disputes in some other way.” See Deutsch et. al ., Political Community and the North Atlantic Area (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1957), p.5. Back.
Note 61: P. Odermatt, “The Use of Symbols in the Drive for European Integration”, in J.Th. Leersen and M. Spiering (eds), National Identity: Symbol and Representation ( Yearbook of European Studies) , vol.4 (Amsterdam: Radopi Press, 1991). Back.
Note 66: Jose Antonio Jauregui, “The ECU as Vehicle of European Culture and Feelings”, in Louis le Hardy de Beaulieu (ed ), From Democratic Deficit to a Europe for Citizens (Namur: Presses Universitaires de Namur, Collection “Perspectives”, No.4, 1995), p.225. Back.
Note 71: European Commission, Explicit Integration of Cultural Aspects Into Community Action and Policy (Brussels, 1998). Article F of the Maastricht Treaty also states that “The Union shall respect the national identities of its member states.” Back.