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Europe’s Pasts and Futures | IWM

Europe’s Pasts and Futures


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The successful story of overcoming war, the divisions between East and West and the transformation from dictatorship to democracy paved the way for a reunited Europe with an astonishing variety of national cultures of remembrance. However, history also seems to have placed a limit upon solidarity in the European Union of the 21st century – as the Brexit and the ongoing dispute on the redistribution of refugees across the EU have shown.

The enlarged EU has seen the confirmation of national stereotypes, which have proven to be a barrier to the formulation of a common foreign policy, and, most importantly, a limit on the sense of European identity. Within individual European states, the emphasis on national history in a moment of pooled sovereignty has led to introspective symbolic politics with unfortunate consequences for democracy and for the larger European project.

Using insights from various disciplines (history, political science, philosophy, post-colonial theory etc.) may also prove to be a fruitful way to place the current developments in a larger context.

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