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 8: Doing Christianity and Europe: An Inquiry into Memory, Boundary and Truth Practices in Malta 229
229 CHAPTER 8 Doing Christianity and Europe: An Inquiry into Memory, Boundary and Truth Practices in Malta1 Gerold GERBER M. I think, the Maltese are European, and the Maltese are Arab! N. Mmh. M. And they are perfectly normal people! L. Mmh. M. Eh, they have the hospitality and the warmth of the Arab people. The language is Arabic. – Ehm, – they=e::h are religious people as well. On the other hand, – e::h, they can be very:::: European, in their ways. And sometimes they are very European indeed! Interview with a Maltese and a Libyan (1997) The European Union (EU) is a paradoxical project. On the one hand, a European identity is supposed to overcome nationalisms and to ensure solidarity among the members; on the other hand, as in any 1 This essay was written after completing six months of fieldwork in Malta between 1992 and 1997. A number of people have provided comments, suggestions and all kinds of support, for which I am very grateful. Most of all, I am indebted to Prof. Bernhard Giesen. However, I would also like to acknowledge Dr. Bastiaan van Apeldoorn, Sabine Appt, Ahmed Bashir, Prof. Jörg R. Bergmann, Dr. Anita Bestler, Prof. Jeremy Boissevain, Ray Debono Roberts, Wael Dokhan, Prof. Klaus Eder, Dawn Lyon, Prof. Michael Müller, Patrizia Nanz, Dr. Niraj Nathwani, Mariella Prosperi, Prof. Helga Reimann, Prof. Horst Reimann†, Prof. Wolfgang Ludwig Schneider, Lillian Sciberras, Prof. Bo Stråth, Prof. Arpád Szakolczai, Prof. Hayden White, and Dr. Mette...
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