Edited By Bo Strath
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.
Chapter 1: The Last Identification: Why Some of Us Would Like to Call Ourselves Europeans and What We Mean by This 45
45 CHAPTER 1 The Last Identification: Why Some of Us Would Like to Call Ourselves Europeans and What We Mean by This1 Luisa PASSERINI Era un’Europa ingenua di speranza Mai più, mai più – giurava […] l’Europa mentita dove Königsberg fu Kaliningrad Giovanni Giudici, Elegie della sera, 19992 “Europe is absent”, wrote W. H. Auden in a poem of 1936, at just the same time as the civil war was starting in Spain – prologue to the European civil war of a few years later. Today, the absence of Europe is perceptible once more, although this time it takes a different form. In the 1930s Europe was a torn space and a contested idea, for some representing a void between the USSR and the USA, for others between fascism and anti-fascism. Yet this void could be taken at that time to indicate a third way, towards a future open to new forms of human relationships and love, as the poets in the Spanish civil war expressed in their poems. It was thus possible for utopians to transform the absence of Europe into a dream of peace and justice. But this 1 I am grateful to Antonis Liakos for having suggested to me the writings by Georgios Theotokas and to Augusta Dimou for having done the translation of some of them. I would also like to thank Tom Kirk and Nicki Owtram for their help with the English version of this essay. 2 The two poems quoted are “Guardando fotografie di Paul C...
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