The Borders of Europe

  • Abstract:

    The aim of this paper is to show how Europeanisation should not be seen as a standing element, but rather as one of the main knots in which the global flows of culture, images and ideas crossing the European’s imagination are entangled. Europeanisation is to be considered as a discursive process through which the European identity (the so-called Europeanness) becomes part of a wider narration that includes other symbols, values, imagines etc. The paper is based on an ethnographic research carried out on the island of Cyprus after the economic and financial crisis of 2013. It analyses the rhetorical use of the adjective European by Greek-Cypriots when asked to define their ethnical and national identity as well as the way it changes depending on the different “Other” Cypriots want to distinguish from. The focus is on the strategic use of the term Europeanness which allows one same group of people, on different occasions, to recover the ones that have been pointed at as “others” or to keep them out. In particular, the paper pinpoints three main oppositions (Greek vs Turkish, Mediterranean vs European and Cypriot vs Greek), where the tool of Europeanness is used to underline the border dividing two identity categories. Eventually, it challenges the concept of Europeanisation as a process from a point of less Europeanness to one of more Europeanness. In fact, the meaning of being European cannot be understood by taking the Europeanness for granted, as a clear and sharp concept, but rather by investigating the relationship between Europe and other symbols as modernity, development, national or ethnic identity, etc., following all the different and contested meanings it can assume among people.