EASA, 2006: EASA06: Europe and the world

Bristol, UK, 18/09/2006 – 21/09/2006

(W043)

European integration: an anthropological gaze

Location Wills G32
Date and Start Time 21 Sep, 2006 at 11:30

Convenors

Anna Horolets (University of Warsaw) email
Monika Baer (University of Wroclaw) email
Mail All Convenors

Short Abstract

This workshop aims to put the processes of European integration into an anthropological perspective and collect accounts of their local and practical meanings.

Long Abstract

The anthropological study of the political usually uncovers unexpected sites of the relations of power as well as casting new light on the symbolic and cultural groundings and connotations of the major political processes such as democratisation and Europeanisation. The aim of this workshop is to put the processes of European integration (which can be called a grand narrative of contemporary Europe) into an anthropological perspective. The knowledge of the cultural dimensions of these processes is becoming increasingly more detailed with the research of Abélès, Irène Bellier, Sharon Macdonald, Marion McDonald, Cris Shore, Thomas Wilson and other anthropologists. At the same time, European integration is popularly addressed in political, social and economic terms far more often than in terms of the cultural process it triggers and is led by. This in its turn has specific cultural effects. Thus, more accounts of the local and practical meanings of European integration from most recent and ongoing to most remote in time are needed. We would like to invite papers that include but are not limited to the following issues: everyday discourses of European integration; media narratives of Europe; mythmaking and storytelling in the process of European integration; humour in European integration processes; local impact of and local resistance to Europeanisation; functioning of borders and borderlands during and after accession; symbolic politics of European integration; supra-national organisations and projects in the creation of the European identity; the role of popular culture in European integration; the Other of the European Union; official symbols of the European Union and their local interpretations; memory and history of the European Union; evolutionism in Europeanisation policies; and European integration as the object of anthropological study.

Chair: Anna Horolets
Discussant: Monika Baer

Papers

Towards a common (in)security identity in an enlarged Europe: the case of German-Polish border police cooperation

Author: Alexandra Schwell (LMU Munich)  email
Mail All Authors

Long Abstract

The concept of Europe has always been most concise where it was not defined out of itself, but in contrast to something else. After the end of the Cold War old enemies could no longer be used to construct a (west)European identity. Furthermore, the accession of parts of the former "enemy camp" to the EU has been a great challenge to both security and identity policies of the EU-15. The new member states were not only not granted full member status, but became degraded to Western Europe's insecure other and to a little trustworthy frontier zone.

At the German-Polish border, the interface of the inner-European East-West dualism, the idea of Europe is put to the test. With Poland's EU accession Polish and German border guards are no longer spatially separated, but jointly control travellers, go on joint patrols and share contact point offices. Both border polices in a common effort endeavour to provide security to the "area of freedom, security and justice". The official rhetoric, however, cannot conceal that the asymmetries that are predominant in the European security field are also being reproduced on the micro level of German-Polish border police cooperation and hinder identification with a common European project.

Drawing on field research in German and Polish border polices, the paper will discuss the framing of micro level interactions by institutional constraints and will argue that Europe as a security community has a much more tangible meaning and finds much larger support than the so far anaemic concept of a cultural identity.

'From the Soviets to the Europeans?' European integration in Narva on the Estonian-Russian border

Author: Elena Nikiforova (Centre for Independent Social Research)  email
Mail All Authors

Long Abstract

'From the Soviets to the Europeans?': European Integration in Narva on the Estonian-Russian border

The official landscape image of Narva, an Estonian border city populated overwhelmingly by non-Estonians is undergoing a dramatic makeover, from an international proletarian town—an image constructed during the soviet period—to an Estonian and a European city, serving as 'the easternmost outpost of the west' —based primarily on images drawn from a pre-soviet past. New cultural representations of Narva include history museum exhibits, the displacement of Soviet monuments with statues and alternative commemorative sites glorifying a pre-soviet, 'western' past, and cultural events celebrating the city's pre-soviet and pre-Russian history. Along with Europeanisation of the cultural landscape, life trajectories of the inhabitants of Narva are also influenced by European integration - due to high unemployment in Narva and weak positions of Russian-speaking Narvans on the Estonian labour market, labor migration of Narvans to other European countries is ever increasing.

This paper seeks to explore the changes brought to Narva by the Estonia's entry into the EU and to analyse the Narva's ways of integrating into Europe, focusing in particular on transformation of the cultural landscape of the city and on the impact of Europeanisation on life trajectories of the Narvans.

The research for this paper was done in the course of the project "Cultural Politics of Memory: Reimagining the Past to Reclaim the Future in the Estonian-Russian Borderlands", conducted in collaboration with Dr. Robert Kaiser, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. The fieldwork for this research employed a series of inter-related qualitative methods, including in-depth interviews, critical discursive analysis of written texts as well as other texts such as cultural landscapes and the ways they have changed since 1991. Finally, we conducted participant observation of the performative ways that place and identity are narrated and enacted through cultural events and festivals.

Paysages et itinéraires dans la politique culturelle de l'Union Européenne

Author: Franco Lai (University of Sassari)  email
Mail All Authors

Long Abstract

Il apparaît avec évidence au cours de ces dernières années que la construction de l'Union Européenne repose non seulement sur une série de mesures institutionnelles, économiques et juridiques mais aussi sur la politique culturelle comme le montrent d'autre part des travaux tels que ceux de Chris Store (Building Europe, 2000). Dans mon intervention, je voudrais montrer que dans la politique culturelle européenne les paysages et les itinéraires servent à véhiculer une représentation spécifique de l'identité et à la rendre fonctionnelle à une intégration progressive des citoyens au sein des institutions européennes. L'image de l'identité que le discours politique entend véhiculer s'insère dans une plus ample stratégie politique de construction de la citoyenneté européenne. Je voudrais aussi montrer que ces choix se reflètent en quelque sorte dans des thèmes du discours politique de certains états européens. Comme le montre l'exemple italien, même au niveau régional et local, paysages et itinéraires sont en fait au centre des politiques portant sur le patrimoine.

Le discours politique se veut persuasif sur un point quand il utilise les paysages et les itinéraires touristiques: l'histoire européenne est sillonnée de conflits, de guerres, de différences ethniques, linguistiques et religieuses, mais au-delà de ces différences, se profilent des traditions communes autant sur le plan religieux (le Christianisme, l'Hébraïsme, l'Islam) que culturel (Les Lumières). Et l'histoire de l'espace européen porte la marque profonde des différences, au point d'en caractériser l'organisation territoriale même au niveau micro-régional. Ces «  différences » qui se manifestent à travers de multiples aspects (culturel, esthétique, environnemental…) sont considérées comme une grande richesse. Le discours politique tend, en somme, à forger l'image d'une Europe constituée de nombreuses différences qui sont cependant le résultat d'une histoire commune. Le fait que l'Union Européenne reconnaisse les chemins de Saint Jacques de Compostelle et de la Via Francigena qui traversent l'espace continental du nord au sud et d'est en ouest est emblématique à ce propos. Je crois que l'idéologie qui apparaît à travers la politique semble vouloir éloigner de ce « super Etat » nouveau , l'image d'une Europe ressemblant à une « forteresse », fermée et monolithique, symbolisant la peur des élites politiques et des couches sociales face au risque d'ouverture au monde arabe et méditerranéen. L'image d'une Europe cosmopolite et tolérante envers les différentes traditions culturelles semble être davantage liée aux secteurs de l'opinion publique qui, craignant la formation au sein des organismes politiques communautaires d'une forme inédite de nationalisme, ont considéré comme souhaitable que l'édifice institutionnel soit plus proche des peuples et des régions que des états nationaux.

Journalistic metaphors in understanding Turkey-European Union relations

Author: Erkan Saka (Istanbul Bilgi University)  email
Mail All Authors

Long Abstract

Particularly inspired by Chris Shore's study of metaphors in the context of European Union (EU), this paper focuses on metaphors that are used by Turkish journalists to describe the ongoing membership negotiations. The particular attention is given to the period after the 16-17 December 2004 EU Summit when the EU officially declared to start membership negotiations with Turkey. Although this presentation basically uses interpretative and textual analyses, these are supported by data collected from my ongoing fieldwork among Turkish journalists. Therefore my interpretative work is embedded into a social context of media producers. Gendered embodiments in Turkey-EU relations, haunting tropes of concession (mostly related to Cyprus), hope, being modern or spatial metaphors related to slow-going negotiations could be keywords of interest.

Love of Europe in Polish media narratives

Author: Anna Horolets (University of Warsaw)  email
Mail All Authors

Long Abstract

Referring to structural anthropology one can speak about the "morphology" or else "internal structure" of the media narratives (Propp, Greimas, Levi-Strauss, Leach). Media narratives about Europe can be treated as stories about the contemporary events, whose deep layers of meaning tell about the struggle between good and evil. Partly being the means of symbolic politics, the "European narratives" in Polish media have mythical orientation as well (Rothenbuhler, Carey; cf. Barthes). In the broadest sense they aim at the search for meaning and order in the transforming social reality and in the state of cultural liminality.

In my presentation I would like to draw particular attention to one figure of such mythical narration that is the figure of love (and hate) of Europe. Polish press news and opinion articles will be considered as well as other media forms such as talk show "Europe can be loved". Luisa Passerini (2004) has suggested accounting for love in history and mythology of relations between Europe and its Others by means of historical analysis. My intention is to provide the discourse analysis of media narratives and media forms that present the Polish relations with Europe through the figure of love (and hate). I will treat love (and hate) figure as the symbolic means of confronting/constructing Europe as a meaningful Other. The role of the dichotomies - such as male and female, domination and subordination, rationality and irrationality - in the discursive and symbolic making of Europe will be considered.