Bringing the demos back in: people's views on 'EUropean identity'

2014-10-29T09:31:12Z (GMT) by Marco Antonsich
The creation of a EUropean demos is often debated by referring to forms of ethnic or civic identities. The present article aims to expose the theoretical shortcomings of this dichotomous approach, which confines the complexity of EUrope within a simplifying methodological nationalism. By relying on empirical data collected in four different EUropean regions, the article points to the relevance of a functional or utilitarian rationale which EUropean interviewees use to justify the existence of EUrope. Although this rationale does not obliterate cultural and civic narrations of EUrope, I would argue that it invites to reconsider the traditional role played by identities in the construction of political institutions. Accordingly, I believe that scholars should take more seriously the metaphor ‘EUrope as a laboratory’ – a convenient, but often empty metaphor.