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European Identity National Identities


overall aim is to answer the question 'Is European Identity possible?' politics, history, sociology, IR, social ... situational sensitiveness. nested identities ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: European Identity National Identities

European Identity / National Identities
  • Lecture Series
  • European Studies
  • Autumn 2007
  • Markku Jokisipilä

The Lecture Series
  • basic practicalities
  • 4 ECTS, 24 hours
  • Mondays 14-16
  • no lectures on 17.9. (opening session), 1.10.,
  • exams on 10. and 17.12.
  • overall aim is to answer the question "Is
    European Identity possible?"
  • politics, history, sociology, IR, social
    psychology, geography...
  • complex and multifaceted question
  • no definitive answers
  • many possible angles
  • controversial issues
  • interaction of theory and practice
  • first time lecture series
  • experimental and tentative nature
  • comments and suggestions welcome
  • PP-slides made available

The Core Questions
  • rise of a new kind of non-national identity
  • post-Cold war and globalisation era predictions
  • new world order
  • end of history and ideological struggle
  • weakening of nation states
  • cosmopolitan perspectives
  • crisis of national identity?
  • postmodernism and fragmented realities
  • interconnectedness on global scale, new
  • IT-revolution, spatial and temporal shrinking
  • new virtual platforms and non-territorial
  • institutionalization of European integration

European Identity why ?
  • further integration necessitates stronger common
  • democracy deficit
  • no sacrifice without legitimacy
  • institutional vs. mental integration
  • lacking sense of "Europeanness"
  • preventive and restrictive nature of national
  • we the Europeans
  • mere economic integration is not enough
  • stronger legitimacy of EU through identification
  • defining the meaning and boundaries of Europe
  • resisting potentially aggressive and dangerous
  • strengthening the global position of Europe

Meanings of Europeanness?
  • 'unity in diversity'
  • mild common identity
  • Europe as 'a family of nations'
  • mutual recognition of national special
  • common European traits in philosophy, politics,
    culture, science, religion
  • criticisms too vague and fuzzy, too
  • constitutional patriotism
  • roots in Habermas's postnationalism and
    discursive democracy
  • universal principles of human rights, democracy,
    rule of law
  • culture and religion as private matters
  • people united by same political and civic values
  • critics too abstract, imposes values

What is identity anyway?
  • ambiguous and often fuzzy concept with no
    clear-cut definition
  • no objective existence
  • self-undertanding rooted in society with
    collective and individual components
  • anchor to the world who we are, who are the
  • relatively stable, change slowly
  • individual can have many overlapping and
    concentric, even contradictory identities
  • situational sensitiveness
  • nested identities
  • identities with exclusive claims compete and
    conflict with each other

Traits of identity
  • interpreted sameness with local and temporal
  • differentiation and continuity
  • centrality of existence of 'the Other' as a point
    of comparison, adversary, often also enemy
  • fear of outside threat towards one's culture and
    national existence
  • identities do not exist independently, they have
    to be constructed and invented
  • imperatives of internal cohesion and
  • significance of shared symbols and idea of a
    common past
  • rejection of the Other as a unifying force

Problems with history
  • common and shared European history?
  • strong and resilient national myths, symbols and
  • traditionally strong grip of nationalism in
  • historical burdens and lines of division
  • lack of all-European historical points of
  • efforts of creating European nationalism
  • flag, anniversary, common currency, passport
  • common European memory?
  • without experience of shared past Europeanness
    lacks historical depth and emotional power
  • future of nationalism?

Whose Europe?
  • European identity as an elitist project
  • rhetorical emptiness of Europeanness
  • Europe as a gigantic capitalist market area
  • democratic Unites States of Europe vs. Europe
  • colonialism of Western European values?
  • ethnic overtones, fortress Europe
  • who is included, who is excluded?
  • Eastern Europe
  • national minorities
  • Turkey
  • genuine universalism or political tactics?
  • who defines 'European' values?
  • risk of (Western) European self-righteousness

Problems with European narrative
  • inbuilt vision of inevitable progress towards
    European Union
  • teleological and deterministic view of constant
    progress is in contradiction with history
  • dominant 'story of Europe' is a classical case of
    winners' history
  • selective and purpose-oriented interpretation of
    the past as legitimator
  • European past as death and destruction
  • world wars
  • communism, fascism and national socialism
  • imperialism and colonialism
  • definition of Europe
  • scope, boundaries, nature, identity, internal
    tensions, relationship with the rest of the world

Collective Identity
  • from individual to national identity
  • many foundations of national identity
  • ethnicity
  • language
  • geographical territory
  • administrative system
  • sense of togetherness
  • shared convictions
  • common history and culture
  • identity implies the existence of an entity, real
    or imagined
  • form of active self-recognition through symbols,
    language, myths, narratives etc.
  • shared belief of belonging to a same whole more
    important than resemblance and kinship

Imagined Communities
  • term coined by Benedict Anderson
  • imagined vs. actual, face-to-face communities
  • "nation is an imagined political community that
    is imagined as both inherently limited and
  • mental affinity within a group of people
  • "the members of even the smallest nation will
    never know most of their fellow-members, meet
    them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of
    each lives the image of their communion"
  • role of declining legitimacy of religion and the
    advent of print capitalism

Invented Traditions
  • term by Eric Hobsbawm
  • ritual or symbolic practices promoting certain
    values and norms
  • fictitious continuity with the past achieved
    through repetition
  • selective use of suitable elements of the past
  • strategic tools in dealing with present situations
  • three functional varieties
  • establishment of social cohesion and collective
  • legitimising institutions, social hierarchies and
  • socialising individuals into particular social
  • oriented towards present (cohesion) and future

History and Identity
  • history tells us who we are, where we came from,
    also where we should be going
  • historical identity has both individual and
    collective elements
  • searching the roots of today from the past is an
    ancient human practice
  • history as explainer and a giver of meaning
  • history provides shared materials for individuals
    to construct and narrate stories about identity
  • although history deals with the past, it is
    always written and consumed in the present
  • history as an identity political resource search
    for the Golden Age and heroes

History and National Identity
  • nation is an abstract, an artifact that needs to
    be defined
  • history is central in constructing national
  • history creates legitimacy by depicting the
    origins, development, special characteristics and
    destiny of a nation
  • history defines nations place in the world, its
    friends and enemies, its successes and failings
    and gives it a strategy of survival and
  • how to integrate mistakes, even crimes into the
    national story?
  • Europeanization of national histories?

Collective Memory
In the previous episode Good vs. Bad Europe,
possible other interpretations...
  • term by philosopher Maurice Halbwachs
  • one of the most influential trends in recent
    social sciences and humanities
  • collective vs. individual memory
  • the perceived ability of a community to have
    shared memories
  • cultural memory bank
  • memories carried, passed on and constructed by a
    group, society or culture
  • socialization and customs provide the individual
    with a set of conceptions of the past that are
    not personal
  • manifestations individual thinking, museums,
    monuments, curricula, rituals of remembering,

Symbolic Struggles
  • collective identity and memory are contested
    representations of community
  • symbolic struggle over power of inclusion and
  • us/them, members/non-members, winners/losers,
  • collective identity sharing a past that others
  • CI and CM are not constant and fixed but
    snapshots of permanent social struggles
  • memories are malleable they can shrink, extend,
    disappear and be invented
  • control of memories is about symbolic power
    making one narrative of the past obligatory for
    all members of community

Possibility of Collective European Memory?
  • controversiality of European memory
  • national lines of division
  • different experiences, e.g. Holocaust, WW I II,
    Cold war, globalization
  • responsibility for the dark sides of history?
  • lasting power of national identities and
  • still primary frame of reference for people
  • lack of necessary symbolic power
  • EU does not have the tools of nation-states to
    impose its version of the past
  • incentives for European history?
  • diversity within Europe
  • are there any basis for a strong collective
    European identity?

Constructing European Memory
  • Bernhard Giesen's three ways of assimilating
    memories into a collective identity primordial,
    traditional and reflexive
  • primordial mode of European identity construction
    relies on mythology and "Greek excellence"
  • elitist, superficial and imperialist project
  • traditional mode constructs triumphant histories
    of heroic Europe
  • proudness of Europe's cultural contribution,
    social model and integration
  • based on systematic distortion and selective
    retelling of the past
  • effort to duplicate nation-state model on
    European level

Trying to have it all in the same story
  • reflexive approach to European history
    incorporates both positive and negative elements
  • integrating and learning from different memories
    of perpetrators and victims
  • culture of guilt, mercy and forgiveness as the
    common ground for reconstructing memory
  • bridging the gaps between former enemies
  • highlighting the fates of collective victims of
  • engaging diverging memories (Eastern vs. Western,
    Northern vs. Southern Europe)
  • requires European public sphere as an arena for
    reflexive communication
  • potential starting point for strong European

20th Century as a European tragedy
  • two world wars with 80 million deaths
  • age of totalitarian ideologies, democracy was not
    the norm until after the Cold war
  • technological and scientific revolutions coupled
    with unforeseen levels of violence, hatred and
  • 1914-1991 as a civil war of ideologies with
    Europe as the epicenter
  • legacies of colonialism
  • European history still has a lot of deliberate
    silence and unfinished business many uneasy
    ideological, cultural, political, economic and
    social fault lines despite the EU

Defining Europe Mission Impossible?
  • Europe is a multilevel phenomenon
  • history, culture, politics, ethnicity, geography,
  • Atlantic Ocean to the West, Arctic Sea to the
    North, Mediterranean Sea to the South
  • Eastern border of Europe?
  • geographical, political and cultural boundaries
  • 40 states in total, European Commission
    definition of 34, membership of EU 25
  • Russia, Turkey, Israel, Kazakhstan...
  • besides states also regions, stateless people,
    supranational organs (EU, NATO, OSCE...)
  • Europe is more than a list of constituent units

Who are the Europeans?
  • again, contested issue
  • CIs have core groups, who define the criteria of
  • Europeans can be
  • those accepted by core group
  • those considered by others to be so
  • those considering themselves to be so
  • criteria might be different for 1, 2 3
  • three-layered definition of Klaus Eder
  • EU passport holders as the core group
  • not-yet Europeans
  • potential Europeans
  • Europeanness as a interactive collective learning
  • "We" as political community of free and equal
    people democratic Europe

Historical legitimation of Europe
  • shared heritage of positive European values
  • Greek philosophy
  • Christian love
  • Roman justice
  • civilization based on science and technology
  • Enlightenment notions of liberty, equality and
  • Faustic curiosity, expanding one's horizons
  • today's favourable situation
  • renouncement of violence as a conflict-solving
  • ceasing of ideological struggle, end of
  • triumph of liberal democracy
  • European social model
  • Europe as a source of culture

Potential Foundations for European Identity
  • civic vs. ethnic nationalism, adherence to
    democratic institutions and practices
  • Europeanness as democratic problem-solving
  • possible targets for identification
  • liberal democratic governments and
    constitutionalization of basic liberties
  • European institutions and practices
  • rights guaranteed by European Court of Justice
  • economic achievements of the European Union
  • especially in comparison to the US,
    problem-solving through deliberation
  • peace and tolerance
  • does this amount to a genuine identity?

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Civic nationalism
  • a.k.a civil nationalism
  • political legitimacy based on citizen
  • state as a embodiment of the will of the people
  • from Rousseau and theories of social contract
  • "a community of equal, rights-bearing citizens,
    united in patriotic attachment to a shared set of
    political practices and values"
  • membership in civic nation voluntary
  • part of liberal tradition
  • significant in the development of representative
  • contrast between 'good' civic nationalism and
    'bad' ethnic one
  • from national to rational belonging
  • from legacy to choice

Ethnic nationalism
  • 'nation' defined by ethnicity
  • membership based on kinship and descent
  • shared culture and history, often also language
  • based on the idea of the right to
    self-determination of each ethnic group
  • a.k.a ethnocentric or tribalist nationalism
  • exclusive form of nationalism with strict
    boundaries between members and non-members
  • political legitimacy derives from offering a
    homeland as a place of shared culture
  • links to extremism, racism and violence

Constitutional patriotism
  • by German philosopher Jürgen Habermas
  • integral to theories of post-nationalsim
  • citizenship based on voluntarily accepted shared
  • rejection of common history and ethnic origin as
    basis of identity
  • centrality of liberal democratic practices
  • attachment to universal moral principles
    crystallized in constitution
  • "universalist constitutional morality"
  • seen as a possible anchor for European identity
  • criticized for its abstract nature and hidden
    (West-German) particularism
  • risk of the emergence of intolerant and militant

Habermas' theories of Europe
  • Europe as a postnational constellation
  • constitution as a way to overcome national
    divisions and to create a more viable democracy
  • connection between law and democracy
  • democratization rooted in communication and
    discursive practices
  • importance of the public sphere
  • emerging European polity defined by rights and
    citizenship, not nationality
  • becomes of memories of war and division, European
    community of fate is impossible
  • unity in attachment to higher principles of
    political order than nationality

Europe as a network society
  • Manuel Castells horizontally connected Europe
    (Information Age)
  • informational economies based on knowledge
  • space replaced by flows (economic, cultural,
  • European integration as a reaction to and
    expression of globalization
  • vertical connections replaced by multidirectional
  • networks connecting local and regional levels to
    global level
  • diminishing importance of nation-states
  • potential for more open and democratic social

The Idea of Cosmopolitan Europe
  • European Constitution 'cultural, religious and
    humanist inheritance of Europe', 'universal
    values of inviolable and inalienable rights of
    the human person, freedom, democracy, equality
    and the rule of Law'
  • culture as dynamic and creative process ?
    European society creates itself
  • Europeanized public spheres, Europe as a social
    reality (e.g. education)
  • state-led vs. social Europeanization
  • not restricted to EU
  • European society is not a supra-state replacing
  • multiple identities and complemetary attachments

European vs. national identity
  • misunderstanding of Europeanization as a
    transnational expansion of nation-state
  • necessity of a more complex understanding of the
    concept of identity
  • abandonment of the paradigm of national identity
    as prerequisite for thinking about European
  • does Europe even need a traditional collective
  • current battleground of European identity
  • relation to national identities
  • challenge of globalization
  • emerging new identities
  • shift towards identity mixes and hybrid identities

Different understandings of European Identity
  • constitutional meaning
  • Document of European Identity (1973)
  • international, economic and cultural independence
    of EC/EU
  • idea of Europe
  • constituted from texts and rhetorics of
    intellectuals and politicians
  • large body of literature
  • cultural practices
  • creation and maintenance of meanings of Europe
  • myths, anniversaries and holidays, museums,
    heroes, flags etc.
  • realm of inveted tradition
  • level of individual identities
  • personal attachments of people
  • feeling European

Europe A Gesellschaft or a Gemeinschaft?
  • EU far as an infrastructure of governance, not as
    a cognitive region
  • European sense of belonging and cultural
  • Ferdinand Toennis' two ideal types of social
  • "natural" idea of "one people" vs. social
    contract of independent individuals
  • key question for EU is redistribution of wealth
    possible in a society?
  • transfer of resources from rich to poor
    necessitates widespread grass-roots political
  • how much homogeneity, solidarity and shared
    experience is needed?
  • possibility of non-national, polycentric and
    civic Europeanism

Primordial conception of national identity
  • currently two opposing opinions, primordial
    (native, original) and ephemeral (short-term,
    provisional) conceptions
  • primordial view people belong by nature to some
    ethnic community
  • J.G. Herder "national feeling", "soul, heart and
    depth of people and nation"
  • J.G. Fichte and aggressive nationalism "mankind
    is already divided into nations by nature, and
    the dissemination of nationalist doctrines
    resembles calls to prayer of the faithfuls"
  • exclusive and divisive
  • clear-cut criteria for and boundaries between
    'us' and the others
  • Anthony D. Smith's theory of premodern nations

Ephemeral conception of national identity
  • ephemeral view no 'natural' links that bind
  • identity is a product of rational individual
  • national identity as a mere cultural artifact
  • nation-state as modifiable social construct
  • youngness of contemporary state system
  • nationalism as ideological legitimation for
    territorial state power
  • diminishing relevance of nation-states in the era
    of postmodern realities
  • emergent forms of political organization above,
    beyond and under state system
  • postindustrialism, global mass consumerism, new
    ICT undermining national identities

Civic vs. ethnic revisited
  • primordial view on NI linked to ethnic
  • inescapable communities bound by ethnic origin
    and birth, jus sanguinis (right of blood)
  • allegiance based on ethnicity
  • (often) hostile towards tolerance and inclusion
  • ephemeral view and civic nationalism
  • voluntary societies based on shared values and
    rules, cultural assimilation
  • jus soli (right of soil), centrality of place of
    birth and living)
  • allegiance towards state and institutions
  • third alternative multicultural model, allowing
    cultural and ethnic differences

Anthony D. Smith and persistence of national
  • most renowned proponent of the enduring relevance
    of nation-states
  • centrality of memory to identity
  • no emergent global identity, no cosmopolitan
  • religious sense national dignity and chosenness
  • exclusiveness of identity as cognitive boundaries
  • "Without shared memories and meanings, without
    common symblos and myths, without shrines and
    ceremonies and monuments, except the bitter
    reminders of recent holocausts and wars, who will
    feel European in the depth of their being, and
    who will willingly sacrifice themselves for so
    abstract an idea? In short, who will die for

Smith and European Identity
  • deeply ingrained and diverse historical
    identities in Europe
  • members of political community have a pre-history
    of distinct shared experience
  • no 'European' popular values, traditions and
    memory ? no 'European' future
  • no European continuum of memory-situation-fate
  • obscurity of 'Europe', 'European identity' and
    'European culture'
  • mythical and ethnic foundation of nationalism
  • genuine EI only possible through
    nation-state-like European memories, traditions,
    myths, symbols
  • EI cannot compete with national values, ideals
    and traditions for a long time

Exclusive vs. multiple identities
  • primordial view of exclusive/dominant singular
    national identity
  • ephemeral view of overlapping, shifting and
    multiple identities
  • identity theorists individuals can choose either
    exclusive or inclusive-multiple identities
  • what affects these choices?
  • public debate on EI has the in-built and unspoken
    assumption of the hierarchical superiority of
    primordial exclusive identity resulting in
  • appreciation of diversity instead of
  • allowing multiple identities
  • new conceptual tools and rethinking of old models

Towards multi-layered identities
  • individualization and globalization widening
    range of identity options
  • postmodern turn multiplication and fragmentation
    of self
  • experimental and playful identity projects
  • questioning the coherence and continuity of
    personal identity as misleading and even dangerous
  • fragility and ambivalance of identity
  • multiplicity of referents always present (e.g.
    family, subculture, region, nation, sexual
  • situational dependency
  • processual identity ? continual balancing of
    conflicting and competing identity claims

Co-existence of national and European
  • empirical studies conflicting attachments exist
  • European and national identity are not
    (necessarily) opposed
  • multi-level identity with local, regional,
    national and global references
  • situationally varying importance of different
  • overcoming dangers of nationalism doesn't require
    abolishment of nation-state
  • nation-states have not become obsolete because of
  • integration as a rescuer and invigorator of
  • stonger democracy through surrending sovereignty

Growing relevance of politics of difference
  • societies more tightly linked, interconnected and
    multicultural than ever
  • growing concern for identity and recognition of
    uniqueness and equality
  • individuals, localities, nations, regions,
    groups, transnational communities etc. seek
    recognition of their particular and unique
    identity, of their difference
  • does Europe allow diversity of identities or does
    it try to replace it?
  • is identity-formation a zero-sum game or
    inclusive by nature?
  • tension between politics of difference and claims
    for equal dignity
  • how to reconcile different identity-based claims
    for difference/recognition?

Identity politics
  • originally meant political action by groups
    suppressed or marginalized because of their
  • raising consciousness "personal is political"
  • today refers often to any deliberate effort of
    creating and sustaining a particular identity
  • aims at defining community and making its members
    accept definition
  • exercised from individual to transnational level
  • increasingly important with fragmentation of
    social realities
  • gender, ethnic, regional, sexual etc.
    identification compete with NI

Recent European identity politics
  • importance of the Berlin declaration of 25 March
    2007 in reviving European constitution, analysis
  • Draft Treaty amending the Treaty on European
    Union and the Treaty establishing the European
    Community agreed upon 19 October 2007
  • to be signed on 13 December 2007
  • major effects more majority decisions,
    circulating commissionary portfolios, empowering
    commissioners versus member-states, more power to
    the European Parliament
  • although regarded as abandonment of the
    constitutional approach, similirities to the
    earlier constitution draft significant, value
    basis in Berlin declaration

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  • Kolbe works as the professor of European history
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  • leading and internationally renowned Finnish
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Equality/difference-tension in the EU four ways
too see Europe
From Jon Erik Fossum Identity-politics in the
European Union
Europe of co-operating nation-states
  • intergovernmental principles central
  • key position member state level
  • no need for common European identity
  • civil, political, social and economic rights
    anchored in national legislation
  • indirect legitimacy through the cooperative
    willingness of member stae
  • EU as subsidiary organ dealing with issues
    remaining after national decision-making
  • main focus in enonomic integration
  • few incentives to create a genuine Euro-polity
  • national identities as relevant as ever
  • not particularly relevant in post-Maastrict
    treaty European reality

Return of Nationalism?
  • EU as intergovernmental organization of
    protectionist nation-states
  • sanctity of national cultures and identities
  • explicit rejection of European identity
  • strictly restricted scope for supranational
  • typical among eurocritics
  • search for exemptions and opt-outs (Denmark, UK,
    Sweden, France, Ireland)
  • national opposition has slowed integration but
    not stopped it
  • current trend more majority decisions, new
    policy areas, deeper integration
  • group-based vs. national politics of difference

Europe of deep cultural diversity
  • supranationalism that allows a wide range of
  • competing national, regional and group-based
    claims for recognition
  • sanctity of diversity
  • legitimacy of EU based on flexible inclusiveness
  • existence of many simultaneous attachments
    tolerated and fostered
  • common citizenship based on thin European
  • plurality of ways of belonging
  • symbiosis of EU, social movements and regions
  • reducing stateness of European polity
  • entrenchment of national identities as a tool to
    foster European identity (convergence over time)

Rights-based democratic EU
  • supranational EU fostering equal dignity of
  • constrains national identities and fosters new
    postnational ones
  • federalism and constitutional patriotism
  • democracy, basic rights and institutions forge
    new European political culture
  • cultural difference allowed insofar it doesn't
    undermine allegiance to common values
  • powers of member states limited for this purpose
  • direct legitimacy of EU
  • historical roots of "legitimation through
  • need for European identity

Current trends in identity-formation
  • the decreasing relevance of collective identities
  • questioning of the feasibility of collective
    identities as potentially dangerous (history)
  • fragmentation of the self, the spread of
  • individual identity-formation as a voluntary,
    almost shopping-like process
  • increasing importance of subnational and
    -cultural identifications
  • the effects of globalization and supranationalism
  • the alleged crisis of national identification
  • emergence of new non-territorial mechanisms of
  • virtual identities
  • is 'European identity' old-fashioned?

Backlash against globalization
  • 1995 book Jihad vs. McWorld by Benjamin Barber
  • McWorld unregulated economic globalization
  • Jihad any form of reactionary traditionalism
  • struggle between globalized corporate interests
    and traditional values
  • the excesses of the first produce extremism
    (nationalism, religious) from the other
  • neoliberal market forces encounter and instensify
  • central explanation given to the rise of
    religious fundamentalism
  • topical for Europe for several reasons

Deterritorialization of identity?
  • diminishing importance of geographical location
  • compression of distance, space and time by the
    new ICT innovations
  • destruction of cultural identities by global
    hegemonizing consumer culture?
  • loss of cultural diversity, destablized
    localities and displaced people
  • globalization as Western-capitalist cultural
  • abandoning traditional territory-based identities
    for new non-territorial ones
  • mushrooming of various global communities
  • popularity of virtual communities and identies
    (Facebook, YouTube, blogging)

  • internet undermines traditional identities,
    especially national
  • internet as a new 'placeless but real' form of
    sensory reality
  • netizens, global village, digital neighborhoods
  • will it become imporssible to uphold collective
    sense of national identity?
  • can internet replace old identities with new ones?
  • both weakening and strengthening trends
  • internet as a vehicle of nationalism
  • deterritorialized and flexible communities
  • transformation of sense and ways of belonging
  • will internet become to postnational identity
    what print technology was for nationalism?

What is left for history?
  • familiar problems Europe means both tolerance
    and Auschwitz
  • nurturing European legacy or proto-fascist
    Eurocentrism and cultural colonialism?
  • is the European past usable at all for
    identity-formation purposes?
  • forgetting the past as a way forward?
  • constructing Europe as a distinctively
    future-oriented community
  • active forgetfulness istead of absolute
    historical memory and historical truths
  • collective amnesia instead of collective memory
  • identity-construction is always about both
    remembering and forgetting

The role of national histories
  • nationalist origins of scholarly history,
    history-writing as nation-building
  • tight link between history and legitimation of
  • history as one of the most important sources of
    "national knowledge" and collective
  • power of national stories and myths
  • controversy about origins of nations constructed
    or historical?
  • conflicting trends academic vs. popular history,
    (Western) Europe vs. rest of the world
  • European re-emergence of national histories as
    political tools 1990s-
  • language issues

Europe in national histories
  • national historiographies didn't develop in
  • implicit/explicit influences, cross-border
  • national histories implied a concept of Europe
  • from adaption and assimilation to European
    history to producing national versions of it
  • European project intrinsic to various nationalisms
  • "European history" prioritized certain parts of
    national history and marginalized others
  • implicit canon of European history, accepted,
    constested and modified by national histories
  • national urge accomodate with European history

Common past in European historiography?
  • shared European history
  • tensions between national, European and world
  • national history as a strategy of writing a
    nation into European / global history
  • negotiation between national and European norms
    and values
  • simultaneous recognition of distinctiveness and
  • despite similarities particularity of historical
    backgrounds has prevented the rise of common
    European perception of the past
  • national histories are not mutually exclusive ?
    common platform exists

Prospects of European history
  • three simultaneous trends
  • discourse of European integration and
    co-operataion embedded in European institutions
  • 'creeping' European unification and interdepence
    on deeper cultural and economical level
  • resurgence of intolerant and inward-looking
  • European history as an alternative framework, not
    as a sum of national cases
  • dangers second term of Europeanization of
    history / legitimating European exceptionalism
  • feasibility of reproduction of national identity
    on continental scale?
  • does history have to be a legitimator?

Requirements of European history
  • withdrawal from the competition between different
    national heroes and achievements
  • is it possible to reach non-nationalistic
    perspectives without losing the national past?
  • promising efforts in European community of
    scholars (programme Writing National Histories In
  • detachment from nationalism would help us to see
    both the universal and particular traits of
    national histories
  • recognizing the value of national experience
    without letting it dominate
  • cosmopolitan perspective with ability to see also
    the particularities
  • avoidance of political and /or academic elitism

  • lacking willingness of historians to engage with
    "European" issues
  • "European Studies" largely dominated by social
    scientists, not historians
  • need for transnational critical effort
  • finding a way to address national histories
  • importance of not surrending to political
    pressures from the EU
  • striking a balance between local, national,
    regional, continental and global histories
  • future of nationalism and nation-state?
  • role of scholarly history?
  • from 'truth' to multitude of experience

Results of the questionnaire - most influential
  • Adolf Hitler (39)
  • Napoleon (28)
  • Josif Stalin (26)
  • Winston Churchill (21)
  • Karl Marx (20)
  • Charles De Gaulle (15)
  • Martin Luther (11)
  • Otto von Bismarck (10)

8. Benito Mussolini (10) 8. Platon (10) 8.
Michail Gorbachev (10) 12. Jean Monnet (9) 12.
Robert Schuman (9) 14. Konrad Adenauer (8) 14.
V.I. Lenin (8) 16. Julius Caesar (7)
Results of the questionnaire - most important
period in European history
  • Second World War (33)
  • Enlightenment (30)
  • End of Cold War (20)
  • French Revolution (16)
  • Industrialism (14)
  • Cold War (13)
  • Reformation (9)
  • Integration (7)

9. Colonialism (5) 9. Creation of SU (5) 11.
Crusades (4) 12. Renaissance (3) 12. Recovery
WWII (3) 12. Greek-Roman civilization (3)
Results of the questionnaire - most important
event in European history
  • Maastricht Treaty (23)
  • Fall of Berlin wall (20)
  • Building of BW (16)
  • Founding of EU (9)
  • Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (8)
  • 5. Treaty of Versailles (8)
  • 7. French Revolution (7)

8. Congress of Vienna 1814 (5) 8. Collapse of SU
(5) 10. Paris Peace Conference 1947 (3) 10.
Holocaust (3) 2 votes e.g. Westphalia, Normandy,
Euro, UN, Kyoto, October Revolution, German
Results of the questionnaire - adjectives for
  • diverse (14)
  • democratic (12)
  • multicultural (7)
  • 3. historical (7)
  • 3. rich (7)
  • 3. safe (7)
  • 7. liberal/free (6)
  • 7. divided (6)

9. cultural (5) 9. educated (5) 9. cooperative
(5) 12. tolerant (4) 12. bureaucratic (4) 12.
complex (4) 3 votes e.g. civilized, philosophic,
powerful, big, undefined, multinational,
Results of the questionnaire - your
identification (1strong, 6weak)
  • national 2.02 (20 times first)
  • local 2.64 (15 times first)
  • European 3.40 (5 times first)
  • transnational 3.48 (3 times first)
  • subnational 3.74 (1 time first)
  • global 4.63 (3 times first)
  • In sum very representative of more general
    European patterns of identification as found by
    Eurobarometer polls

European and national
  • current (elite) patterns of thought seem to
    pursue Europe modeled after the nation-state
  • the need to understand the deep transformation of
    the concept and content of "collective identity"
  • extremely complicated identity-political playing
  • do we even need European identity in the form of
    traditional collective identity?
  • European history as a lesson of potential
    dangerousness of thinking in collective terms
  • separating the needs of individuals from those of
    European Union

Present-day identities
  • growing pressures for national identities
  • individual, local, regional, transnational,
    cosmopolitan, diasporic, global, virtual,
    postmodernly creative
  • the fragmentation of social world and experience
  • lessening grip of nation-state and weakening
    relevance of national experience
  • the future of any collective identity
  • do we need them?
  • is European identity in its current form feasible
    and realistic?
  • on individual level mixed evidence in Europe
    strengthening of BOTH postnational and national

Europeanness and history
  • is there a shared European past?
  • how to deal with differing interpretations?
  • European identity based on history or detached
    from it?
  • who has the power to define European history?
  • compatibility of collective views of the past and
    the intellectual pluralism?
  • collective Europe-project runs the risk of
    repeating the mistakes of primordial-ethnic
  • only ephemeral-civic-postnational European
    identity realistic
  • Europeanness can only be a loose and shallow
  • lesson from European history this is not a bad

Final thoughts
  • is the era of collective identities drawing to a
  • if so, what do we need European identity for?
  • European history as a shared lesson of dangers of
  • Europeanness not as an ideology but as a comment
    for peace, tolerance, human rights and equal
    rights for all individuals
  • Europeanness as a moderator of national
    identities and as a protector against their