"Who Wants to be a European?" Community and Identity in the European Union. 'Human Affairs', (2004) Vol. 14, no.2, pp.141-51. ISSN: 1210-3055
This article, which was published in 2004, addresses the extremely topical issue of the future development of Europe and the European Union. In line with the rest of my research, the article examines the extent to which globalisation is shaping the European project. Indeed, this article became the basis of one of my chapters in my book Living with Globalization, published in 2006.
Since the project of European economic and political integration began there has been an ongoing debate about whether this will lead to the development of a pan-European identity. In this article the prospects for the formation of such an identity are examined, which entails analyzing how globalization is providing both the context for and much of the momentum behind the EU and the attempt to disseminate Europeanness (a theme developed further in submission 2). But the article also examines counter-tendencies, like growing regionalism, ethnic nationalism and the rise of the far right, as well as the arguments raised by writers who consider the development of a collective European identity faces insurmountable obstacles, most notably the enduring strength of existing national identities. In order to address this vast topic, the author uniquely synthesizes a range of disciplines and disciplinary insights, including history, political philosophy, economics, international relations, sociology and cultural studies, as well as drawing upon the ideas of leading European thinkers from Hegel and Kant to Habermas. The argument of this article is original, namely that if a pan-European identity or sense of Europeanness is to emerge it will largely have to be a post-national project, containing both modern and post-modern aspects. More specifically, the political principles of universal citizenship, democracy and the constitutional state, associated with the Enlightenment and modernity, will need to be combined with the postmodern insistence upon multiple identities and pluralism.
The importance and topicality is borne out by the fact that the European Commission sponsored an essay competition during the German presidency of the EU between January-June 2007 on the very question addressed by the article: ‘Who wants to be a European?’ (http://london.daad.de).