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 11: The Social Construction of “Europe”: Life-Cycles of Nation-State Identities in France, Germany and Great Britain 325
325 CHAPTER 11 The Social Construction of “Europe”: Life-Cycles of Nation-State Identities in France, Germany and Great Britain1 Martin MARCUSSEN & Klaus ROSCHER Introduction This chapter investigates the ways in which deep-rooted identity constructions impact on how ideas about European political order can be promoted by political elites in France, Germany and Great Britain. We seek to understand: (i) why two significant shifts in French nation-state identity occurred, one with the emergence of the Fifth Republic under President Charles De Gaulle in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the other when political elites increasingly incorporated “Europe” into their representations of the nation-state identity of the Fifth Republic during the 1980s and 1990s; (ii) why (West) German political elites have shared a consensual and thoroughly Europeanised version of German nation-state 1 This chapter presents results from a research project on the Europeanisation of nation-state identities in France, Germany and Great Britain; it is directed by Prof. Dr. Thomas Risse and funded by the German Research Association (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) and the European University Institute, Florence. We would like to thank Michael Miller, Prof. Dr. Bo Stråth, Dr. Mette Zølner, and the participants in the working group on “Europe and the Other and Europe as the Other” for their many suggestions regarding improvements. An earlier and less extended version of this chapter appeared as Marcussen et al., 1999a. Europe and the Other and Europe as the Other 326 identity since the end of the 1950s as a way of overcoming the country’s...
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