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 13: Multiple Europes: Integration, Identity and Demarcation to the Other 385
385 CHAPTER 13 Multiple Europes: Integration, Identity and Demarcation to the Other Bo STRÅTH The concept of a European identity was launched in 1973, at the European Community summit in Copenhagen (see the Introduction chapter). This concept was advanced and elaborated in a context marked by an experienced lack of identity and the erosion of interpretative frameworks and orientation. If there had been a sense of identity, there would have been no need to invent the concept as a means by which to induce new community in the Community. Exactly what is meant by the concept of a European identity is unclear (this is demonstrated by Lutz Niethammer in his chapter in this book). Significantly, the concept was scarcely employed at all during the campaign for European unification in the 1920s (see Katiana Orluc’s chapter). In retrospect, it is striking how, at the same time as “identity” was launched, attempts within the European project to intensify the process of “integration”, the watchword of the 1950s and 1960s, were running into difficulty. In a situation where labour markets and the capacity of national economies for political government was diminishing, and where the dollar collapse and the oil price shock had broken down the established international order of political economy, identity was launched by the European Council as a key concept in order to re-establish that order, and the place of Europe within it, and to shift national tripartite corporatist arrangements to a Eurocorporatist level, (see below). From our perspective today,...
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