The European Economic Crisis: Revitalizing National Identity Through Political Cartoons and Images

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    • Presentation speakers
      • Georgios Tsarsitalidis, Uppsala University, Sweden

    Does the current Euro-crisis assist in intensifying the conflict between national and Europe’ s collective identity by triggering nationalist attitudes? Is there a cultural representation of this conflict in mass media (political images and cartoons) and what is its impact on the attempts for creating a collective Europe and a pan-European public sphere through cultural integration? In detail, the subject of this research questions whether the economic polarization between the PIGS and European northern countries (such as Germany, France, Britain) has also triggered, a cultural polarization and the detachment of Europe into ‘two Europes’, consisting of poor and rich. During the economic crisis, the increase of diminishing images and cartoons of PIGS, of those northern countries and European leaders assert a certain European cultural polarization. Examples of pictures analyzed here that depict this cultural polarization are the cover (February 2010) of the German magazine ‘FOCUS’ with Venus de Milo having her middle finger raised against Greece’s bailout, and in Greek newspapers, where Merkel is represented as a Nazi officer. Crucial is thr theorists’ position such as Gerard Delanty, Chris Shore and Jurgen Habermas concerning the European cultural integration in conjunction to the dissolution of Europe’s cultural identity and the intensification of national identity triggered by the current economic crisis. Finishing, this paper will show whether Europe responds is culturally explicit to this polarization by focusing on her suggestions for getting away from the current economic crisis, thus assuring cultural integration and the possibly creation of the ‘United States of Europe’.