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 9: In-between Nations: Ambivalence and the Making of a European Identity 279
279 CHAPTER 9 In-between Nations: Ambivalence and the Making of a European Identity1 Patrizia Isabelle NANZ Foresta Nera, mia seconda Terra in quest’unica Patria europea! Vito d’Adamo (lathe operator in Kinztal)2 If we participate in the debate on “Europe” and “European identity”, it is necessary to keep in mind that, like “nation” and “national identity”, these terms offer rather ambiguous conceptual frameworks which scholars nolens volens help to construct. But to study the ambivalence and the conceptual indeterminacy that haunts the idea of Europeanness (or Germanness, Frenchness etc.) and the lives of those who live it, is also an attempt to alter the conceptual 1 This essay is an account of my current Ph.D. project. It was written after the completion of the first part of my fieldwork in Frankfurt in March 1999. I am very grateful to the thirteen interviewees who spent hours of their busy lives talking about themselves and their experiences. I am also indebted to a large number of people who provided important comments and suggestions on my project. Especially I would like to thank: Bianca Beccalli, Paola Fabbri, Gerold Gerber, Rebekka Habermas, Ron Jepperson, Dawn Lyon, Roberto Miraglia, Elisa Nanz- Piva, Emma Sinclair-Webb, Philippe C. Schmitter, Eugenia Siapera, Davide Sparti, Bo Stråth and Peter Wagner. 2 “Black Forest, My second land, in this single European country”. See Chiellino, 1989, p. 42. Europe and the Other and Europe as the Other 280 object itself3. We should not overestimate the role that intellectuals can play...
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