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 14: Coal, Steel and Spirit. The Double Reading of European Unity (1948-1951) 421
421 CHAPTER 14 Coal, Steel and Spirit. The Double Reading of European Unity (1948-51)1 J. Peter BURGESS Introduction: European Reason and its Other In an often-evoked sequence from the Lectures on the Philosophy of History (1822) G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831) assembles all the major figures of world history into a single, unified movement of dialectical rationality. From Napoleon to Charlemagne, to Caesar, to Alexander, to Genghis Kahn, all collaborated knowingly or unknowingly in one selfsame human drama: the unification of existing “civilisation” through the deployment of Universal Reason in the concrete reality of ordinary lives. Or, to put it in a more Hegelian fashion, through these world-historical individuals the movement of Reason rediscovers itself in humanity’s evolving historical self-rationalisation. The universality of Reason becomes real through its inscription in the particularity of human experience, the particularity of experience playing a decisive role in forging the concrete form for the ultimate and inevitable triumph of Reason2. 1 Many to thanks to Miguel Vatter, Ola Tunander, Pinar Tank, Marianne Takle, Bo Stråth, and to members of CIRG (Collectivity Identity Research Group), in particular Theo Barth, Erik Tängerstad, and Prof. Shmuel Eisenstadt for comments on earlier versions of the essay. 2 Hegel, 1970-1979 [1832-1845]. Bd 5-6. Europe and the Other and Europe as the Other 422 In the century and a half since Hegel’s death both the audacity and the arrogance of his theory of universal reason have been exhaustively explored. In many regards the Hegelian system may be understood as...
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