Re-Negotiating European Identity in Times of Economic Crisis

  • Abstract:

    This paper analyses the recent debates on the euro-area crisis, particularly the Greek bailout discussions, with the aim of shedding light into ongoing constructions of a collective European identity. Discourses and the politics of representation surrounding the Greek debt crisis show us the invalidity of characterization of the EU as a post-modern collectivity. What is observed is the return of clear, rigid constructions of the inside/outside and Self/Other, contrary to the premises of post-modern collectivity characterization of Europe. The dominant leadership role of Franco-German ‘couple’ in recent developments and the new institutional mechanisms through which the EU interacts with its member states show us that the EU is not a true ‘multiperspectival polity’ characterized by the lack of a single center of power.

    In this respect, this paper shows how Greece is differentiated, or distanced to, if not excluded from, the collective Self, particularly by means of binary oppositions and discursive structures. The paper presents a set of binary oppositions that serve to break the homogeneity of the EU in-group, establishing power relations, a hierarchy between the core – the center, the ‘truly European’ – and the periphery – the ‘lesser Europeans’, ‘Other(s) within the Self’ – which include indebted, economically troubled, Southern European members of the Union.