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Imagine the EU

The European Union (EU) is a novel political entity in many respects. For example, instead of the monolithic political structure of nation-states, it features a layered structure and a ‘variable geometry’. This institutional complexity has been interpreted as an indicator of the EU being a post-modern political system. This article inquires whether the EU’s institutional post-modernness is accompanied by a post-modern identity. I argue that an investigation of collective identity requires a reconstruction of how a community is imagined. As metaphors are the principal linguistic means of our imagination, I reconstruct the imaginations of the European community by analyzing its metaphorizations. How do the metaphors of EU enlargement construct European identity? It can be shown that in the German EU enlargement discourse of the 1990s, European identity was hardly constructed in a post-national/post-modern way. Rather, European identity was imagined much like a modern national identity.

Author: Rainer Hülsse is Assistant Professor at the University of Munich, Germany. He is the author of ‘Cool Turkey: Solving the Image Problem to Secure EU-Membership’, Mediterranean Politics 11(3), 2006.

Source: Journal of International Relations and Development (2006) 9, 396–421.

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