A critical analysis of the idea of Europe and the limits and possibilities of a European identity in the broader perspective of Inventing Europe Delanty, Gerard. I{ETlllNKlNC IRTSH HISTORy (with patrick O’Mahony). Inventing Europe. Idea, Identity, Reality. Gerard Delanty. Senior LÄ›crurer in Sociology. U niversity of Liver . Inventing Europe: Idea, Identity, Reality, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke,

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The crux of the problem is the relation of Europe as a cultural idea to concrete forms of collective’ identity-building and its structuring in the geo-political framework which we call Europe.

But I do not appreciate the considerations on the “Mitteleuropa” concept, based on some invfnting and mistakes: While a collective European identity existed at least as part of elite culture in some form since the sixteenth century, European identity as part of personal identities did not exist until the late nineteenth century though it had gradually evolved since the Enlightenment. Thus, when the idea of Europe emerged as a cultural idea it geraard associated with structures of power and their identity projects.

Since the distinction between Europe as an idea, identity and reality is cru- cial to my argument, some further preliminary conceptual clarification is required. Though broadly agreeing invdnting Havel’s plea for a non-technocratic European identi- ty, I ddlanty to take issue with those who regard the normative basis of collec- The Ambivalence of Europe: It is important to distinguish between personal 6 Inventing Europe and collective identities.

The myth of Aeneas survived into the Invsnting Ages in the formation of a European myth of origins: Without the image of hostility afforded by Islam, the Christian West would have been unable to attain a single and high culture capable of unifying the diverse elements of European society.

One of the most strik- ing features of European identity is that the dynamics involved in its inven- tion arc not unlike the process by which regional identities were superseded by national identities in the nineteenth century.

Above all there is a need for it to be linked to a new politics ofcolleetivc responsibility based on post-national citizenship. Between about and 1 a whole new civilisational pattern based upon feudal- ism expanded as far west as Ireland and as far east as Jerusalem, bringing with it a uniform society Bartletl, It was significant that this occurred at a time when the Latin West was also put on the defensive against the rising tide of Muslim power in Asia Minor.


Inventing Europe: Idea, Identity, Reality

No trivia or quizzes yet. An indictment of an entire civilisation, this celebrated work of the ‘Frankfurt School’ of critical theory poses the question of the very possibili- ty of a European identity europee the wake of the Holocaust.

Scholarly and Reference Division, St. The European idea is quite simply a political football.

It was this divide that outlived the crusades which had effectively divided Europe internally as much as externally. To the Greeks the concept of Asia was more firmly linked to a specific territory than Europe, which remained a vague area to the north of Hellas.

In comparison to China it was technologically backward Needham, The politicisation of the idea of Europe in fact amounts to a definition of Europe not as what itspcoplcshavc in common but in what separates them from the non-European world, and, indeed, very often amongst themselves. Oct 31, Ann Saks added it. Christianity was the principal identity of the crusaders. The crusades were a collective mobilisation of Christendom and gave a strong sense of territorial identity to medieval Europe.

This is because the idea of Europe, since it became an institutionalised discourse in early modern Europe, served as a kind of legitimation for the politics of the secular and territorial state.

[ Gerard Delanty] Inventing Europe 1995

What is real is the discourse in which ideas and identities arc formed and historical realities constituted. It must not be forgotten that the nation-state is also not the unified and autonomous enti- ty it is often portrayed to be, but is characterised by the same divisions with which Europe is often equated.

The Greek, or Byzantine, church became increasingly identified with the Orient. As the geo-political name for gerwrd civilisation, Europe also signified its cultural value spheres. Pope Pius II frequently used the word Europe in the context of the Islamic advance, though the traditional notion of Christendom was more fre- The Westernisation of Europe 37 quently employed, and we find such expressions commonplace in the lan- guage of diplomacy: It also made sense to replace Christendom with the word Europe since it was obvious that not all of Europe was Christian.


The most significant of these were the wars against the Muslims in Spain which, like the crusades that were to follow, were conceived of as Holy Wars against the herard. Virgil’s great epic poem. Lying at the core delajty the idea of Europe is a fundamental ambivalence about the normative horizons of collective identity in the modern polity.

Europe can be inveenting as a discursive strategy which is aniculated Ky stifl- ing signiflers in relational contexts.

A Theoretical Introduction This book is about how every age reinvented the idea of Europe in the mir- ror euroep its own identity. The idea of Europe was not central to the crusades; in fact it was proba- bly its negation. The fissuresof the conflict between Europe and Orient were slowly becom- ing apparent in these far-reachingdevelopments. With Bodin in the rurope 38 Inventing Europe century, a shift is evident that Europe was in the process of replacing Christendom Fritzemeyer,p.

Sunni Islam had finally won a major victory over the Christian world. It was fateful that this was to be largely a German identity. It appears the distinction between these two continents was more significant than the singularity of Europe against Asia Hay,p.

With the rise and consolidation of this Muslim world-system, the West was put on the defensive. Inventiing battle was of major significance for the future of Europe.

Inventing Europe: Idea, Identity, Reality by Gerard Delanty

Paperbackpages. Sicily had for long been a crossroads of the two civilisations and it was from there that inventng ideas entered the two worlds.

Christ was Europeanised and the crucifixion, after the tenth century, became the universal symbol of European mastery.