Political and cultural diversity in contemporary Europe can be encountered on many levels and in a variety of forms. The significance of such political and cultural diversity is, however, differently understood, and conceptualized, and not always sufficiently appreciated in distinct perceptions of Europe. A variety of perceptions of Europe have played a role in the project of Eastern enlargement, even if a communitarian/unitarian vision of a single European identity seemed to prevail. Such a vision was not only promoted by Western European political forces, but also actively endorsed by some of the new-comers themselves, who, in a way, embedded the unitarian understanding of European identity in their local self-identification as 'Central Europe'. A unitary vision of Europe was, however, at odds with a number of connotations associated with the myth of a distinct Central European identity as it had emerged in the 1980s. The article identifies three understandings of the idea of Central Europe as they have historically emerged, and suggests their contemporary relevance for the European integration project. Subsequently, the usage and understanding of Central Europe will be briefly looked at in the context of the fifth enlargement project. Finally, the future of political and cultural integration in the post-enlargement era is hypothesized. While the unitary vision of European identity remains an important marker, a diversity-sensitive, post-national, and deliberative understanding of European identity seems increasingly important, an identity that can significantly build on an emancipatory reading of Central Europe. Copyright © 2008 Sage Publications.

Europe 'united in diversity': From a Central European identity to post-nationality?

Blokker, Paul
2008

Abstract

Political and cultural diversity in contemporary Europe can be encountered on many levels and in a variety of forms. The significance of such political and cultural diversity is, however, differently understood, and conceptualized, and not always sufficiently appreciated in distinct perceptions of Europe. A variety of perceptions of Europe have played a role in the project of Eastern enlargement, even if a communitarian/unitarian vision of a single European identity seemed to prevail. Such a vision was not only promoted by Western European political forces, but also actively endorsed by some of the new-comers themselves, who, in a way, embedded the unitarian understanding of European identity in their local self-identification as 'Central Europe'. A unitary vision of Europe was, however, at odds with a number of connotations associated with the myth of a distinct Central European identity as it had emerged in the 1980s. The article identifies three understandings of the idea of Central Europe as they have historically emerged, and suggests their contemporary relevance for the European integration project. Subsequently, the usage and understanding of Central Europe will be briefly looked at in the context of the fifth enlargement project. Finally, the future of political and cultural integration in the post-enlargement era is hypothesized. While the unitary vision of European identity remains an important marker, a diversity-sensitive, post-national, and deliberative understanding of European identity seems increasingly important, an identity that can significantly build on an emancipatory reading of Central Europe. Copyright © 2008 Sage Publications.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/676785
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