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Defining 'Europe' and 'Europeans': constructing identity in the education policy of the European Union

[journal article]

Arkan, Zeynep

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Abstract The process of European integration is also a project of identity construction - for 'Europe' to be able to define its role and position in the world and for the 'European peoples' to identify with 'Europe' and its present political and social reality. As the foundations of an embryonic European state were laid down, the need to create a European demos arose more vividly than ever. The 'permissive consensus' was deemed no longer sufficient in achieving the objectives set out for the European Union. The construction and promotion of a new level of belonging, symbolised by the identity of the Union, was seen as a solution to the problems that it has been facing in terms of public support and loyalty. This study, by focusing on the education policy of the European Union, hopes to shed light on one dimension of this process of identity construction. It is argued here that education was seen as a key medium through which a common culture, shared values and aspirations were inculcated among the peoples of 'Europe'. Parallel to this, the policy discourse of the Union in this field contained clues as to how the institutions of the Union viewed its identity and that of its peoples. To explore these and their policy implications, this study applies a discourse analysis framework to analyse representations of the Union's identity in the official texts of the European Union in the sphere of education policy.
Keywords Europe; European; EU; European integration; european identity; educational policy
Classification European Politics
Document language English
Publication Year 2013
Page/Pages p. 35-46
Journal Federal Governance, 10 (2013) 2
Issue topic Federalism and identity
ISSN 1923-6158
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Basic Digital Peer Publishing Licence