Wished-for and Unwished-for Identities
Edited By Flocel Sabaté
A History of Europe: Identities, Languages, Nations
Joan F. MIRA
Institut d’Estudis Catalans
Allow me an initial claim before going into the main subject of this paper: the nations (defined one way or another, with some references to identity or others) are the habitat of modern societies in a shared universal habitat, or more precisely, they are “the modern form of inhabiting the world”. That is unavoidable, at least until another way, equally universal, of “being in the world” is invented to replace it. However, nowhere do I see signs of an early appearance of equivalent and substitute “fields of identity” for those that are now perceived as national: perhaps complementary, but not substitutes and equivalent. Having said that, remember also that the history of Europe, like any history, can be seen from all the angles that the professionals in the field have considered pertinent: kings and wars, treaties and frontiers, society and the economy, the life of the people and culture, or many other foci that, singly or combined, are equally fruitful and illustrative. And if, as in this Congress on Conditioned Identities, we talk about past constructions and perhaps about present processes, the subject of language may be as relevant and significant as the others. In any case, the past is an unavoidable reference, because almost nothing that happens now, and can happen, in this subject of languages, as in so many other historical and present factors that condition identities, can be understood if we do not understand at...
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