EASA, 2006: EASA06: Europe and the world

Bristol, UK, 18/09/2006 – 21/09/2006

(W056)

Lived Europes – lost Europeans?

Location MVB 1.11
Date and Start Time 21 Sep, 2006 at 11:30

Convenors

Ullrich Kockel (Heriot-Watt University) email
Rajko Mursic (University of Ljubljana) email
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Short Abstract

The panel discusses how 'different Europes' shape everyday life in a variety of contexts, examining different institutional/political Europes, the often widely diverging perceptual ones, and the interplay between the two. (A joint SIEF/EASA Europeanists panel)

Long Abstract

The panel will assess impacts on everyday life of different Europes at play, and their frame(s) of reference. Europe is being lived (out) plurally. How is this reflected in Europeans' daily practices? Behind the institutions' policies are ideas about what constitutes Europe, and the way it should develop. At the same time, everyday actors, the subjects of these policies, have their own ideas about Europe, and where it should go. The federalisation of Europe may create a new Empire built on cultural as well as commercial protectionism or engender a network of networks. What are the values guiding these processes? There are already multiple Europes of exclusion and diversity, Europes of minorities with or without territories, and layers of progressive and backward, subsidised and subsidising Europes. We invite papers on how 'different Europes' shape everyday life in a variety of contexts, examining different institutional/political Europes (including European organisations and NGOs), the (often widely) diverging perceptual ones, and the interplay between the two. Is there a hierarchy of Europes emerging, and what are its criteria? Were Haynal and Gellner's delineations anticipating the delimitation of a European internal stratification? While migration, borders and regional identities are key contexts for considering how different Europes are being lived out in practice, we are keen to encourage papers on other areas of everyday life, such as religious beliefs and practices, ecological awareness and nature preservation, patterns of leisure and related consumption (especially different kinds of tourism), the high/low culture binary (is there a European low culture?), cultural transfers and exchange, and the glocalisation of popular culture, both in the spheres of the culture industry and in its underground alternatives. We anticipate producing a publication, and may invite contributions to complement those selected from submitted abstracts.

Chair: Ullrich Kockel
Discussant: Rajko Mursic

Papers

'Returning Europeans'? Changing patterns of neighbourhood on the EU's new eastern and south-eastern borders

Author: Ann Kennard (University of the West of England)  email
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Long Abstract

Throughout the period of the Cold War, the republics of the Soviet Union bordering on what is now the eastern border of the EU, were generally considered in the West not to belong to Europe and to be something of a culturally amorphous mass and largely without any independent identity. Attitudes towards the former Yugoslavia were more attenuated, but even here, little distinction was made between its constituent states. Today it is clear that not only are the states which have emerged, so painfully in former Yugoslavia, culturally very different, but each of them is also culturally and ethnically mixed. Nowhere is this latter phenomenon so evident as in the border regions, most especially those which are now adjacent to the EU's new member states.

This complicated neighbourhood situation, the result of many historical events and compromises, has served gradually to bring societies which were ignored by the self-appointed dominant west European states, back onto the European stage. The EU's new neighbourhood strategy is an attempt at an inclusive policy, which seeks to 'prevent the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged EU and its neighbours'. Specifically the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), with its proposed movement 'from cooperation to a significant degree of integration' together with new funding regimes to aid this process, aims to be a catalyst in the blurring of dividing lines. New institutions can help to re-establish old cultural links, to renew the material culture on both sides of respective borders, as well as to enable the removal of old tensions which may exist between the two sides. The paper will use interviews with cross-border actors to determine the extent to which these new institutions can encourage the re-emergence of old transboundary cultural phenomena.

Europe in Croatia: heterogeneity and hybridization

Author: Tomislav Pletenac (Faculty of Philosophy)  email
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Long Abstract

The aim of the article is to analyze metaphor of Europe in Croatian public discourse. There are many different ways of shaping Europe and every one of them have its own history dating back at least to sixties and seventies of the last century. They depict and point social and cultural splits in contemporary Croatia and as such talking about Europe is sort of social self-classification and strategy for identity construction. In prospect of such claim it is interesting to see that euro-skeptics, which are mostly positioned at the right political specter, took the same textual and cultural tool to represent Europe as those used by the most rigid communist ideologists before 1990.

But in spite of differences of every representation there is a common ground for all of them embodied in form of secret knowledge of what Europe is and revelation of that secret knowledge to the common people. In such a way all representations struggle for the power over interpretation of the society. Reception of Europe as heterogenic from abroad as likely from the lower European cultures, provincialise Europe more then it is already provincialized through postcolonial theory. Can we then think about Europe as a colonial entity or is its permanent crisis of identity (sometime seen on legislative, economic and political level) sign of search for different identity politics such as continual negotiation and hybridization?

Post-socialism as a form of Orientalism: building of a new Europe

Author: Rajko Mursic (University of Ljubljana)  email
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Long Abstract

Travelling through parts of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia may sometimes confirm the cliché of 'times that have been stopped' or stimulate different kinds of déjà-vu. Conserved forms of popular music in different Eastern-European popular music venues - old jazz or cabaret - may well confirm "backwardness" of the Eastern Europe. On the other hand, the kitsch pop culture from Eastern Europe, be it successful acts on the Eurovision Song Contest or various regional ethno-pop phenomena, e.g. turbo-folk, chalgia, arabesque, or polka, further confirm stereotype of "the East".

Even the ordinary people, not only politicians and media, from former socialist states, considered various forms of post-socialist liberalisation, privatisation and "mediasation" as forms of Europeanisation. Processes of "building a New Europe" were both spontaneous and initiated activities. After accession of the first Eastern-European countries to the EU, it is time to assess the processes of "transition" from various pints of view.

The author shall discuss some examples of "Europeanisation" - and "counter-Europeanisation" - in Poland, Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro, derived from his ongoing study of popular music venues and scenes.

Invisible foreigners: transnational migrations between Argentina and Europe

Author: Jaka Repic (University of Ljubljana)  email
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Long Abstract

The author will address some implications of relatively large scale and invisible recent and ongoing transnational migrations between Argentina and Europe through the perspective of European multiculturalism. Recent economic migrations between Argentina and Europe are essentially connected to migration flows in the first half of the 20th century and the contemporary relationship between Europe and Argentina is therefore strongly characterized by an inversion of roles. When migrating to Europe, many Argentines are entitled to a citizenship of a European country, since they are descendants from European emigrants, who left Europe because of poverty and political instability, and sought prospective opportunities in 'the new world'. This is for example apparent in the recent transnational migrations between Argentina and Slovenia. Argentines of Slovene descent, whose parents left their homes in Slovenia for political reasons directly after the Second World War and settled in Argentina have been migrating (back) to Slovenia. After migrating to Argentina, Slovenes lived in a highly organized (ghettoized) translocal community with a formal central association, local community centres and schools, allowed by an Argentinean multicultural context that enabled the persistence of numerous different immigrant or national groups and recently fuelled the process of 'national revival'.

The inclusive multicultural context in Argentina differs immensely from an exclusive (multi)culturalism found in Slovenia or Spain for example, where there is an apparent distinction between Argentines, many of them formally Europeans, and other groups of immigrants. In Spain, immigration is most often connected to an ideology of (multi)culturalism, which enables exclusion or hidden discrimination in the name of cultural persistence of distinctive national or ethnic immigrant groups and as such represents a continuity of nationalism, ethnocentrism and even racism. Argentines are normally not even considered real immigrants nor perceived as cultural foreigners. In this sense, by comparing the situation of Argentinean transnational migrants to other immigrants in Spain, we can explore the mechanisms of constructing significant differences and identities in the dialectical relations between European societies and their cultural foreigners.

Transmigration and cultural transfers: the case of Lithuanian migrants

Author: Neringa Liubiniene (Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas)  email
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Long Abstract

In the era of migration and mobility "new" Europeans (citizens of East European countries that joined EU) exercise possibilities of free movement and take chances of taking up occupations in different countries of West Europe. East Europeans move not only physically, but also culturally, that is, from their native countries they bring along various cultural items - ideas, beliefs, values, rituals, and objects that are either conserved or remade under influence of acculturation process. And this is true in the case of contemporary Lithuanian migrants in Europe. But this process is not so simple and one directional, as far as such migrants are used to move back and forth between home and host countries, and by doing so they transfer new or/and hybrid, fragmented, global, local, and reworked cultural patterns and items. Still there comes a question if these mixed and fragmented cultural items are recognized by migrants and, similarly, how they are perceived by migrants.

This paper is based on empirical data and explores the influence of transmigration experience on selection, sharing and reshaping of cultural items by presenting analysis of Lithuanian transmigrants' case in United Kingdom and Ireland.

Building Europe by dwelling on the ethnic frontier? Some thoughts

Author: Ullrich Kockel (Heriot-Watt University)  email
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Long Abstract

An obvious pun on Heidegger's "building-dwelling-thinking", the paper also plays with semantics to illuminate processes of both everyday lived experience, and the ways in which we as theorisers of culture (whatever we may call ourselves in terms of discipline) analyse that experience. In this age of increasingly diagnosed post- and trans- modes of being, it is worth pausing to reflect on how much of this actually is lived experience (and whether that experience is always such a positive one), and how much is merely an analytical flight of fancy. Europe is predicated on the free mobility of persons as labour. Taking the postulate of a borderless Europe as a starting point, the paper discusses how and why it is contributing to the destruction of a European vision on two counts - not only through globalisation, but through Europeanisation itself.