The narration of Europe in 'national' and 'post-national' terms: gauging the gap between normative discourses and people's views

2014-10-23T09:18:11Z (GMT) by Marco Antonsich
Among scholars and intellectuals, Europe is often celebrated as a post-national space, i.e. a space built around cosmopolitan values rather than culturally and/or ethnically specific factors. This view is also often sketched in normative terms, being rarely based on what people actually think of this post-national Europe. The present article essays to fill this gap, by focusing on two post-national questions: is European identity constructed in the absence of an Other? Does Europe stand for the separation of the ‘cultural’ from the ‘political’? Relying on qualitative information collected in four regional case studies in Western Europe, this article maintains that the ‘post-national’ view finds expression also among people. Yet, it coexists with a ‘national’ view, which continues to shape how people see themselves and the world, Europe included. The paper argues that it is exactly in the interaction, at times contradictory, between these two views that the normative idea of Europe as a post-national space should be analyzed.