We, the People of Europe?

We, the People of Europe?: Reflections on Transnational Citizenship

Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 312
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  • Book Info
    We, the People of Europe?
    Book Description:

    étienne Balibar has been one of Europe's most important philosophical and political thinkers since the 1960s. His work has been vastly influential on both sides of the Atlantic throughout the humanities and the social sciences. InWe, the People of Europe?, he expands on themes raised in his previous works to offer a trenchant and eloquently written analysis of "transnational citizenship" from the perspective of contemporary Europe. Balibar moves deftly from state theory, national sovereignty, and debates on multiculturalism and European racism, toward imagining a more democratic and less state-centered European citizenship.

    Although European unification has progressively divorced the concepts of citizenship and nationhood, this process has met with formidable obstacles. While Balibar seeks a deep understanding of this critical conjuncture, he goes beyond theoretical issues. For example, he examines the emergence, alongside the formal aspects of European citizenship, of a "European apartheid," or the reduplication of external borders in the form of "internal borders" nurtured by dubious notions of national and racial identity. He argues for the democratization of how immigrants and minorities in general are treated by the modern democratic state, and the need to reinvent what it means to be a citizen in an increasingly multicultural, diversified world. A major new work by a renowned theorist,We, the People of Europe?offers a far-reaching alternative to the usual framing of multicultural debates in the United States while also engaging with these debates.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2578-3
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-xii)
  4. 1 At the Borders of Europe
    (pp. 1-10)

    I am speaking of the “borders of Europe” in Greece, one of the “peripheral” countries of Europe in its traditional configuration—a configuration that reflects powerful myths and a long-lived series of historical events. Thessaloníki is itself at the edge of this border country, one of those places where the dialectic between confrontation with the foreigner (transformed into a hereditary enemy) and communication between civilizations (without which humanity cannot progress) is periodically played out. I thus find myself, it seems, right in the middle of my object of study, with all the resultant difficulties.

    The termborderis extremely rich...

  5. 2 Homo nationalis: An Anthropological Sketch of the Nation-Form
    (pp. 11-30)

    I had thought of two different titles for this presentation: “Ambiguity of the Universal,” or “Anthropology of the Nation-Form.” Either of these titles would have been too ambitious, since in the first case I would have announced the development of a hermeneutic thesis with all its consequences, and in the second, a complete explanatory model. I will therefore limit myself to trying to put a bit of order into the set of questions raised by the theoretical discourses that have been proposed (and that we sometimes hazard ourselves) concerning the nation. But at the same time, I will intersect with...

  6. 3 Droit de cité or Apartheid?
    (pp. 31-50)

    The questions of right raised by the way successive governments have envisaged the status of foreigners in France and the social questions posed by immigration policies and their repercussions in public opinion lead to a fundamental interrogation concerning republican citizenship. It might be thought that recent developments in the immigration debate, marked by laws sponsored by former interior ministers Charles Pasqua and Jean-Louis Debré, followed by its “adjustment” by Interior Minister Jean-Pierre Chevènement, under the authority and with the active support of Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, constitute a regression to an increasingly limited set of issues that, in the end,...

  7. 4 Citizenship without Community?
    (pp. 51-77)

    In order to avoid any ambiguity, I would like to make clear right away that I do not wish to attack such notions asres publica, “public space,” “public property,” or “public service,” which in one way or another imply a reference to community or to commonality. But I do intend to try to deconstruct them, as the philosopher says—that is, critique some of the fairly inveterate self-evidences they carry with them, with a view toward preparing their mutation. For it may be the case that this is the condition of their survival. It may also be the case...

  8. 5 Europe after Communism
    (pp. 78-100)

    Before beginning what can more properly be called a course of investigation than an analysis, at best a set of hypotheses, I should like to make a confession, reflect upon an experience, and make an observation.

    The confession is that, although I am well aware of the enormity of that event known as the collapse of “real socialism” in Europe over the space of few months, I am not all that distressed by it. At least not as much as I might have expected to be. Perhaps simply because we are not “on site” in Eastern Europe, or even in...

  9. 6 World Borders, Political Borders
    (pp. 101-114)

    Any reflection on the relation between politics and globalization confronts us with the possibility of a play on words based on two different meanings of the word “border.” A few years ago the economist Georg Vobruba, a specialist inWohlstandgefälle—differences in economic prosperity—between neighboring countries such as Germany and Poland, the United States and Mexico, or France and North Africa, published an article with the title, “The Limits of Borders.”¹ His idea was to show that state borders have reached a historical limit beyond which their internal and external functions are filled less and less well. But Vobruba...

  10. 7 Outline of a Topography of Cruelty: Citizenship and Civility in the Era of Global Violence
    (pp. 115-132)

    With this pretentious title, I want to continue investigating a nexus of problems, both theoretical and philosophical, that I have already touched upon several times. The term “cruelty” is chosen by convention (but with some literary references in mind) to indicate those forms of extreme violence, whether intentional or systemic, physical or moral—although such distinctions become questionable precisely when we cross the lines of extremity—that seem to be, as is said, “worse than death.” It is my hypothesis, generally speaking, that the actual or virtual menace of cruelty represents for politics, and particularly for politics today in the...

  11. 8 Prolegomena to Sovereignty
    (pp. 133-154)

    It has become common to associate the uncertainties of European unification, in the context of a new phase of globalization, with the idea of a crisis of sovereignty. But most often this formulation is taken in a restricted sense because the notion of sovereignty is identified a priori with its national form, and, at the same time, an equivalence is suggested between the crisis of sovereignty and the development of surpranational, transnational, or postnational political spaces. In my view, this restriction has three drawbacks.

    In taking the form of a binary opposition, it occludes the fact that thealternatives to...

  12. 9 Difficult Europe: Democracy under Construction
    (pp. 155-179)

    Ladies and Gentlemen, esteemed colleagues,

    It is a great and moving honor for me to find myself here among you, in one of the most ancient universities of Europe. I thank you for your invitation, and in particular thank your president, Professor Antonio Pedro Pita, whose friendship was able to overcome all the obstacles that stood in the way of this meeting. And I believe it is in this way, at least as far as what is in our power is concerned, that we will gradually be able to give the idea of European citizenship a content that is not...

  13. 10 Democratic Citizenship or Popular Sovereignty? Reflections on Constitutional Debates in Europe
    (pp. 180-202)

    You know how titles work. You choose them before beginning work on writing out the talk, both in order to be able to print a poster and to give direction to your thinking, perhaps even to set a challenge for yourself. And then you have to try not to be too unfaithful to your initial intention. The exercise is particularly hazardous when you have to try to fill in the gap between two linguistic universes that, to a point, are also two distinct intellectual traditions, two different perspectives on history and society, and when you are trying to give a...

  14. 11 Europe: Vanishing Mediator?
    (pp. 203-236)

    Being invited by the Humboldt-Universität Berlin to give this year’s first public George L. Mosse Lecture is one of the greatest honors that I have received. It is also for me a moving opportunity to return to Berlin and meet dear friends and excellent colleagues. Finally, it gives me the possibility to present before you some hypotheses on the function that European intellectuals can perform and the ideas that they should advocate in the current international situation, where the very project of a European community of nations and citizens is challenged. For all these generous gifts I want to thank...

  15. NOTES
    (pp. 237-282)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 283-291)