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Re-mapping Europe: Collective memory and identity in an enlarged European Union

Eurostudia, vol.1, no. 1, June 2005
Deutsch | français
Oliver Schmidtke, University of Victoria
This article addresses the status of and the challenges to an emerging European identity. The argument is developed that a collective identity at the European level is of critical importance to the current stage of European integration. In particular with respect to the reproductive logic of democratic rule and the (re-) distribution of material resources at the European level a collective identity is described to be indispensable in terms of generating a sense of political community and legitimacy. The challenges that a European identity has to face are discussed with respect to two points that have become particularly pertinent with the Enlargement of the EU: the inability to simply reproduce a national, ethnically coded form of collective identity at the European level and the task to overcome the historically deeply ingrained political and cultural divide between Western and Eastern Europe. Addressing these issues promises to open the road towards a new, distinctly political re-definition of political community and its underlying sense of collective identity. .