Europe and its Others: Is there a European Identity?

Luisa Passerini

in The Oxford Handbook of Postwar European History

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199560981
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

Europe and its Others: Is there a European Identity?

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  • History
  • European History
  • Contemporary History (Post 1945)



For centuries, forms of European identity were built up through contrasts and oppositions, creating various forms of orientalism and occidentalism. It is useful to keep three levels of discussion distinct: that of the concrete procedure of the unification of Europe, that of the different ideas and ideologies regarding a united Europe, and that of identity. Multiculturalism has been suggested as the basis for an identity that could be recognised also by non-territorialised groups, such as foreigners or immigrants, and as the only possible basis for shaping a European political culture which could foster a European identity. In reference to Europeanness, the number and extension of currently possible cultural identities has increased. The process of globalisation, which has relativised the nation state, has led to the interpenetration of the European Union and other regions of the world. Thus it has suggested new conceptions of regional identities, in a modified vision of the relationship between self and other.

Keywords: Europe; identity; unification; multiculturalism; Europeanness; globalisation; European Union; self; other; ideologies

Article.  10166 words. 

Subjects: History ; European History ; Contemporary History (Post 1945)

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