Accepted paper:

'Strong European Emotions': European citizenship and visual pleasure

Authors:

Senka Bozic-Vrbancic (University of Zadar)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper I analyse the ways visual images about ‘European emotions’ produced by the EU mobilize the pleasures of fantasmic identifications with embodied agents of love and sex that viewers have enjoyed as consumers of popular culture, how these pleasures are linked to the processes of supranational identity building

Paper long abstract:

In 2007, the EU MEDIA Programme, first launched in 1991 to promote cultural diversity in European audiovisual sector, produced 5 video clips that capture the feelings of Europeans (clips could be seen on EUtube). The first clip is titled MEDIA/Cultural heritage and the other four show 'Strong European emotions' (i.e. Friendship, Love, Joy and Sadness) as presented in European films and cinemas. In addition, there is a clip titled 'Love 2' which presents a selection of sexual scenes from different films. Behind the message of strong European emotions is, of course, the message that Europeans, despite their many differences, have similar emotions and express these emotions in their unique way. Clips have gained considerable interest. They have been seen by 5,015,758 Europeans, more then any other EU video clip (for example, the clip titled 'What will the European Union be in the future?, speech by Jose Manuel Barroso was seen just by 7,346 people). In this paper I analyse the ways such images mobilize the pleasures of fantasmic identifications with embodied agents of love and sex that viewers have enjoyed as consumers of popular culture and how these pleasures are linked to the processes of supranational (European) identity building. In doing so, inspired by Sara Ahmed's work on the cultural politics of emotions and Yannis Stavrakakis's work on dialectics of enjoyment, I open a set of questions about the libidinal character or the affective dimension of identification which texts/images employ or attach to themselves in order to construct identity formations.

panel P13
Senses and citizenships: contestations over national and global identities, resources, and forms of belonging