Europeans only? : essays on identity politics and the European Union

Abstract: The chief preoccupation of the dissertation revolves around the European Union's project of calling forth a collective sense of "European identity" amongst people in the Union. It focuses specifically on how the European Union's identity politics plays out once the ethnic minorities with immigrant background now living in the Union are brought into view. The main purpose can be described as twofold; involving, firstly, a mapping and examination of how the EU construes and defines the identity it seeks to mobilize, and, secondly, a thorough discussion of the types of consequences or implications that stem from this endeavour.In demonstrating the strong tendency on part of the EU to articulate a common identity for the Union in ethno-cultural terms — whereby the EU is conceived as primarily a cultural community whose members are said to share the same origin, cultural heritage, religion and history — the study goes to great length in discussing the excluding implications that an ethno-cultural identity politics gives rise to. The dissertation argues that such an ethno-cultural disposition partly must be seen in light of the European Union's gradual adjustment to a largely neoliberal order; an order which has worked restraining on the feasibility of a social and political articulation of identity and citizenship in the Union.An introductory chapter outlines the discourse theoretical approach which guides the analyses in five essays. The essays mainly explore how the European Union's discourse on identity manifests in various policy areas - immigration, citizenship and education - all of which in one way or another address the issues of culture, the multicultural society, ethnic exclusion, racism and the situation for ethnic minorities and migrants. The complex of problems concerning ethnic, cultural and social exclusion in today's European Union thus constitutes a central theme engaged with throughout the dissertation.