EASA, 2006: EASA06: Europe and the world

Bristol, UK, 18/09/2006 – 21/09/2006


The idea and the image of Europe in the world

Location Wills 3.32
Date and Start Time 19 Sep, 2006 at 11:30


Andrés Barrera-González (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) email
Eleni Papagaroufali (Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences) email
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Short Abstract

The aim of this workshop is to investigate the ideas and images attributed to Europe, as conveyed in the writings of intellectuals and great novelists, via the plastic arts, in travel literature and cartography, and in folklore and ethnographic sources.

Long Abstract

The aim of this workshop is to investigate the ideas and images attributed to Europe, throughout different historical periods and in diverse Western and non-Western contexts. Drawing on the assumption that group images and collective identities emerge from dialectical processes where a We is set against diverse Others, we propose to examine how Europeans have perceived themselves, what ideas and images they have construed and projected of themselves, in contrast to other peoples and regions of the world around them - tangible or imagined regions such as the Americas, The Orient, Africa and India. Conversely, we propose to investigate and interpret the images and ideas that peoples from other regions and continents, close or far away, such as Russia, China and the USA, have held of Europe and the Europeans up to the present day. We would expect individual papers presented in this workshop to explore the issue in any of its manifold dimensions or faces, and by relying on the widest and most plural set of sources. We aim to elicit images of Europe as conveyed in the writings of intellectuals, philosophers and great novelists, via the plastic arts, in film, in travel literature and cartography, and in folklore and ethnographic sources. The approaches taken to investigate the different issues might be quite diverse, therefore, and by necessity multi- or interdisciplinary. However, anthropological and ethnographical perspectives are to be favoured.


Images of Europe and of (Ancient) Greece: ideas of originality and aboriginality in the West

Author: Eleni Papagaroufali (Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences)  email
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Long Abstract

Greece, more than any other country, has been revered as the ancestor of Europe. At the same time, however, even the most fervent admirers of Classical culture, whose political support was decisive to the establishment of an independent Greek state in the early 19th century, saw Greece as the locus of European "aboriginality" rather than as an integral part of modern European "originality" (Herzfeld 1987). As a consequence, Greeks' aspiration for recognition as a modern (i.e. free of 'oriental' flaws) European nation has always clashed with European claims of Greek Otherness.

This paper investigates the ways in which contemporary Greeks, in their capacity as members of the European Union, try to subvert this uneven relationship: under the pretext of "town twinning", they return to former ancient Greek colonies in Europe (e.g. Marseille/France, Emporio/Spain, Magna Grecia/Italy), reclaim their ancestral relations with the locals, and project their ancestors' (colonial) gonernmentality as a "model for the European Union's development"! It is argued that such practices reproduce rather than eliminate the European (colonialist) tradition of dividing the world into originals and aboriginals.

The image and the idea of Europe and the building of Romanian cultural identity

Author: Georgeta Marghescu (University Politechnica, Bucharest)  email
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Long Abstract

During the last centuries the image attributed to Europe played a fundamental role in the process of building the Romanian cultural identity. This paper explores the idea and the image of Europe reflected both in the writings of Romanian intellectuals and in the Romanian folklore. We intend to investigate the role of the two sources in the building of the Romanian culture's identity.

The local and the global: in search of European identity in the Czech local community

Author: Hana Horáková (Metropolitan University Prague)  email
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Long Abstract

Reflecting upon recent debates about common European culture, Europeanness, European identity or Europeanisation, this paper, based on the anthropological research of a local community in Czech Republic, will present a comparative analysis of both global and local factors in the culture of this community in relation to European identity in the making. The assumption is that the village has been gradually losing distinct features of a former rural community; due to globalising tendencies and as a semi-autonomous formation it is becoming part of a much wider, interconnected world. The paper will raise a question of how (if at all ) are cultural dimensions of EU enlargement viewed by the locals, and will also attempt to examine the emic conceptualisation of the process of Europeanisation. More specifically, impacts of European integration on everyday life of the local people in terms of patterns of leisure, ways of popular entertainent, and community activities will be analysed to discover strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the creation of Homo Europaeus in the local setting.

Image of Europe as inverse reflection: review of comments of modern Russian intellectuals on publications in European mass media

Author: Veronica Usacheva (Russian Academy of Science)  email
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Long Abstract

The paper investigates the images, ideas, prejudices and stereotypes attributed to Europe by modern Russian intellectuals.

For centuries the image of Europe dominated in self-identification of Russia and Russians. Some Russians or Westernizers associated the future of Russia with Europe, others or Slavophiles proposed an own path of development for Russia. The both can not imagine themselves absolutely independent from Europe. Nowadays Russian intellectuals still construct Russian identity or ideology in comparison with so-called "European values".

The paper examines new reflection of the ideas and images attributed to Europe. It is a case study of the Forum's materials of the popular internet-project InoSmi.ru (www.inosmi.ru). This Internet project specializes on translation into Russian of the most striking and notable materials of foreign mass media. This site creates possibility for Russian audience to read foreign (mainly Western) mass media in Russian, and get acquainted with their main ideas and agendas.

Redactors and translators look through about 600 printed and electronic mass media per day, mostly from 28 European countries (Germany - 82, the United Kingdom - 32, France - 32, Spain - 31, Poland - 30 etc). Considerable proportion of translated materials is about Russia's politics, Russian culture, images etc. Each article provokes discussion (more or less intensive) among the Forum participants. During discussion, they not only share impressions, but create, reproduce and render images of the West, Europe, New/Old Europe, real Europe, "true Europeans values" or "real aims of Europe" etc.

Thus, the forum can be represented in a sense of inverse reflection of Europeans' perceptions about themselves, about Europe culture and values, about indication who belongs to the Europe culture and who is alien to it. It is a peculiar place of the Russian discourse about Europe. The different images of We and Other - we as a part of Europe, we as an adversarial one - are crystallizing here. The two incompatible representations of European Others (as a pattern for imitation or as enemy, which aimed to deconstruct Russian identity) confront here.

Qualitative and quantitative content-analyses of the Forum participants' messages allow to specify: dynamics of attention of mass media to different topics; main features attributing to the image of Europe and different attitudes to Europe; understanding and appraisal of the European values; changes of ideas about Europe and European countries.

The image of Europe among Russian political and intellectual elites

Author: Andrés Barrera-González (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)  email
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Long Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to look at the ideas and the images of Europe and the Europeans (and the Western world more generally) held by intellectual and political elites in Russia along the last two or three centuries. Given the limited span of a workshop paper, I will aim at just setting a general framework for the analysis of a theme which is recurrent in Russia's Modern and Contemporary history, through the selection of a sample of issues and characters in this Russian national identity drama.

Thus, the paper will elicit images and ideas of Europe and the West as conveyed in the writings of a few intellectuals and political rulers, the great Russian novelists and artists, and selected more popular or folk productions.

Moreover, in looking at the ideas and images held by Russians about Europe (and the West), we would be amassing loads of empirical evidence as regards how the Russians see themselves as a nation. For Europe (the West) is a reference of crucial importance in defining Russia's national identity in the Modern era. Consequently, this paper will also yield, eventually, a summary interpretation about Russian collective identities over time and in different contexts. Namely, as they reflect in the mirror of Europe and the diverse Western nations.