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Europe and the Other and Europe as the Other


Edited By Bo Strath

This book contributes to the debate on what Europe means by demonstrating the complexities and contradictions inherent in the concept. They are seen most clearly when Europe is viewed from a long historical perspective.
During the closing decades of the twentieth century Europe emerged as one of the main points of reference in both the cultural and the political constructs of the global community. An obsession with the concept of European identity is readily discernible. This process of identity construction provokes critical questions which the book aims to address. At the same time the book explores the opportunities offered by the concept of Europe to see how it may be used in the construction of the future. The approach is one of both deconstruction and reconstruction.
The issue of Europe is closely related in the book to more general issues concerning the cultural construction of community. The book should therefore be seen as the companion of Myth and Memory in the Construction of Community, which is also published by PIE-Peter Lang in the series Multiple Europes.
The book appears within the framework of a research project on the cultural construction of community in modernisation processes in comparison. This project is a joint enterprise of the European University Institute in Florence and the Humboldt University in Berlin sponsored by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Fund.


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Preface 11


Preface The decision by PIE Peter Lang to respond to the continuous demand for Europe and the Other and Europe as the Other ten years after it first appeared raises the question of what has changed in this decade. How relevant is the book still for today’s reflection on Europe? Some of the chapters are fixed to the time in which they were written and in that respect they illustrate how much has changed in the last ten years. However, most of the contributions including the Introduction address questions which are still with us and which have not yet got an answer. Although the concerns of too strong a European centre have declined considerably with the decline of the European capacity of government and management, the question of immigrant control at the borders of the EU and the question of a European control of volatile financial capital which does not know any fatherland are as relevant today as ten years ago. Our critical view on the concept of a European identity has not be- come less convincing. The same goes for the volume’s main idea of Europe as a discursive creation. The major difference between now and the year of 2000 is that future was judged a bit more optimistic ten years ago and that nationalism, populism and protectionism have wormed their way into also the core of Europe more than one could imagine by then. Even in the core of the member states of the EU, strong views have...

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