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Imagining Europe as a Global Player

The Ideological Construction of a New European Identity within the EU

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Christoffer Kolvraa

This book argues that since 2001 the primary discursive context for articulating a European identity within the EU has increasingly become the idea of a common foreign policy for Europe. A new grand project of making Europe a true global player is being put forth and it is this as yet unrealised ideal that European citizens are now being asked to identify with.
The author examines European identity as an ideological construction that seeks to elicit emotional and affective attachment to the political project of realising a utopian ideal. He unravels the discourses involved in the construction of European identity by drawing on theories and methods from discourse analysis, the study of political myths, narratology and psychoanalysis. The European Neighbourhood Policy is studied in detail, with a focus on the dynamic challenges that ensue when grand ideological statements have to be implemented in a concrete and specific context.

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PART III - GLOBAL PLAYER EUROPE

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PART III GLOBAL PLAYER EUROPE 121 CHAPTER 5 Waiting (in Vain) for the Barbarians And now, what’s going to happen to us without barbarians? C.P. Kavafis 1904 The title for this chapter is a paraphrase of the poem “Waiting for the barbarians” by C.P. Kavafis1 (Kavafis 1904). The poem relates the situation in a town where the citizens have become aware that a horde of barbarians is going to arrive that very same day. On receiving this news, the routines of daily life and political administration give way to a series of frantic activities in anticipation of the barbarian arrival. As Castoriad- is puts it, the townspeople “awaited the arrival of the barbarians, hoping that, at last, something was going to lift them out of their boredom, their ‘mal de siècle’” (Castoriadis 1991: 199) As night falls on the communi- ty of citizens, poised and mobilised, in the face of the barbarian pres- ence, word comes that the barbarians have left the area and the poem ends with the lines; “And now, what’s going to happen to us without barbarians? They were, those people, a kind of solution” (Kavafis 1904). Read through the lens of the theoretical framework employed here, the problem to which the barbarian presence is “a kind of solution” is of course no other than that of how to infuse affect into politics, how to move from the “boredom” of political administration to the enjoyment of political identification. The anxiety which Kavafis conveys in the last...

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