Europe as an imagined Utopian project of the EU institutions
Tatiana Bajuk Sencar (ZRC SAZU)
Paper short abstract:
This contribution will assess the role and evolution of a post-national utopian vision of Europe as a discourse of identity and practice among the first generation of Slovene Eurocrats within an evolving European Union.
Paper long abstract:
This contribution will assess the role of a post-national utopian vision of Europe as a discourse of identity and practice within the EU institutions. The project of "building Europe" through integration has for decades provided EU officials or Eurocrats with a frame for day to day activity as well as the foundations for an official identity. Existing anthropological research has critically engaged this utopian concept, emphasizing its ambiguous, open-ended nature, identifying the moral historiography and categorizations of identity upon which it is based, and shedding light on the particular cultural and historical circumstances of its construction. The analysis to be presented will focus instead on the evolution of this utopian concept and its range of operation in the context of an expanded and evolving European Union. It is based on field research conducted among the first generation of Slovene Eurocrats in Brussels. The author will examine the ways that this utopian concept is experienced at the ground level by this particular group of newcomers who, in fashioning a space for themselves within a new institutional framework, negotiate the ambiguities and limits of "Europe" as an institutional project on a daily basis.
Realism, imaginary, and ambivalences of utopia