Lost in Universalization?

Francis Cheneval

in European Stories

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199594627
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595738 | DOI:
Lost in Universalization?

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This chapter analyses the ambiguous status of the European intellectual in an integration process understood as the attempt to overcome self‐centred patriotism in the name of universal principles. Francis Cheneval shows that European intellectuals adhering to universal principles find themselves caught between the rationale of political particularity and closure on the one hand, and that of cosmopolitan integration on the other. The question is thus how intellectuals can defend European institution‐building and political consolidation when the process is in strong tension with cosmopolitan ideals. Such a conceptual incertitude between Euro‐patriotism and cosmopolitan tendencies is evident in the recent evolution of Jürgen Habermas, whose discrepancy between an initial plea for critical and rational identities and a more recent glorification of the European model might well illustrate a structural problem of integration theory faced by many European intellectuals over time.

Keywords: Jürgen Habermas; universalism; cosmopolitanism; patriotism; rational identity

Chapter.  8711 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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