Towards a Cultural-Historical Theory of European Integration

Introduction When we speak of European integration, we usually refer to the European Union (Wiener et.al., 2019). Yet, cultural-historically, this is only half the story. As Kiran Klaus Patel has emphasised (Patel 2013, 2018), the EU (and its predecessors) has been one organisation of European integration among many, such as the European Free Trade Area (EFTA), the Council of Europe, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Patel’s narrative of ‘provincialising European union’ (Patel 2013) provides a new perspective as it describes the EU as a contested entity in a pluralistic spectrum of historically varying forms of …

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Mitteleuropa / Central Europe (1980s)

The notion of Central Europe as an interconnected space is one of the oldest and most controversial European ideas. The term does not denote a set geographical entity but represents a political and cultural construct interpreted by Europeans in different ways at different times. For this reason, it seems more appropriate to use the German term Mitteleuropa with its strong political overtones, since historically, Mitteleuropa – in its various manifestations – has usually described a more or less pronounced German claim to power in certain parts of Europe (Le Rider 1994). This article analyzes the conditions and circumstances underlying the …

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