This book is about how every age invented the idea of Europe in the mirror of its own identity: Europe is as much an idea as it is a reality, but it is also a contested idea and it was in adversity that European identity was constructed as a dichotomy of Self and Other. The book analyses the origins and development of the idea of Europe as a social construction from the earliest times to the present. Its challenging thesis is that the European idea has lent itself to a politics of division and exclusion, which has been disguised by superficial notions of unity. The author traces the origins of, what he calls, the discourse of Europeanism to forces lying deep in European history such as the unifying and integrating myths of medieval Christendom, the Enlightenment and nineteenth-century nationalism whose world-views have exerted an enduring hold over the European idea. The idea of Europe, Dr Delanty argues, must be judged by how it treats its minorities and not by reference to ambivalent notions of unity. Above all there is a need for is to be linked to a new politics of collective responsibility based on post-national citizenship.
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