A critical analysis of the idea of Europe and the limits and possibilities of a European identity in the broader perspective of Inventing Europe Delanty, Gerard. I{ETlllNKlNC IRTSH HISTORy (with patrick O’Mahony). Inventing Europe. Idea, Identity, Reality. Gerard Delanty. Senior LÄ›crurer in Sociology. U niversity of Liver . Inventing Europe: Idea, Identity, Reality, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke,

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[ Gerard Delanty] Inventing Europe 1995

Had the Muslims not been defeated it is not inconceivable that Christianity would have been wiped out in Europe. It is for this reason important that what I would call the ‘project of autonomy’ be disengaged from the dominant social repre- sentations that have until now prevailed and be more firmly connected to normatively grounded ideas.

The subsequent crusades that were launched failed to reverse the fortunes of the West. There is also a vast range of books and articles ostensibly about Europe, but which in reality have very little to say on it and in fact deal with other related issues, such as modernity, democ- racy, nationalism.

Uygar Karal rated it really liked it Mar 02, The cultural space for the formation of an autonomous discourse of Europe had not yet formed.

The origins of European identity can be found in the sixteenth century resis- tance to the Turks Beck, ; Schwoebel. Christianity effectively took over the ancient notion of the barbarian and applied it to non-Christians. The clas- sical revival it ushered in was not merely Frankish but cosmopolitan, with scholars coming to the imperial court at Aachen from all parts of Europe.

I shall attempt to show bow it is interpolated in concrete configurations of power and their geo-political complexes.

Inventing Europe: Idea, Identity, Reality

Lying at the core of the idea of Europe is a fundamental ambivalence about the normative horizons of collective identity in the modern polity. The Shifting Frontier 48 5. But it was a failure that was not without success.


Europe and Asia were merely geographical terms while Greece and Persia were cultural-polit- ical terms. In this transformation a new being was born: In this it is pos- sible to see how the idea of Europe would become the secular identity of the West while Christendom would be its religious identity. Europe had not been a clearly defined geo-polit- ical invenhing until it became fixed as the territory of the German rulers of the Reich. Herodotus himself, however, had no clear distinction between Europe and Asia and sim- ply called the wilderness north of the Black Sea Scythia.

Most critiques of Europe of the European Delabty generally take European identity for granted and con- centrate on political institutions Galtung. Respon- sibility for errors of fact and judgement of course remains mine. Includes bibliographical references and index. Yet something can be discerned in the greatflux of history and it is not the unity of history but adversity: The idea of the enemy outside enhanced the mystique of Europe as the crucible of Christendom. Delwnty Byzantine Empire had also reached the limit of its expansion and was unable to prevent Islam from encroaching upon its territory.

The most significant of these were the wars against the Muslims in Spain gerarrd, like the crusades that were to follow, were conceived of as Holy Wars against the infidel. In both cases the result is the same: Teodoras Zukas rated it liked it May 11, He thus exhorted the ‘nations ofEurope’ to a crusade against the Rurope Coles,p.

The gearrd were able to take advantage of a period of crisis in the Islamic world in the tenth century when the Abbasid dynasty was overthrown by the Buyids. One of the tasks of a crit- ical theory of Europe is to demonstrate that cultural and political diversity and the heterogeneity of social milieus lie beneath the dominant ideology. The dominant power in the West was no longer Byzantium.

A collective identity based on citizenship could be a starting point for delamty a reappraisal of the European idea. Virgil’s great epic poem. The heart of the empire was located in the eastern Mediterranean basin. It created the idea of a spiritual unity between Germany and Italy, Emperor and Pope.


For the eastern emperors the Holy Roman Emperors were mere usurpers and the gap between East and West widened. In Chaptcrfi I argue that European identity is very closely linked with racial myths of civilisational superiority and the construction of otherness within an adversarial system of world- views.

This idea survived into modern times as a conceptual tool in the service of Eurocentric philosophies of history for dividing the peoples of the world into races Mudimbc,p.

Inventing Europe – Gerard Delanty – Google Books

Nor did it signify cultural unity since much of erope continent was inhabited by ‘barbarians’. It was this latter notion of the Occident or West that provided continuity between Hellenism, Christendom and the idea of Europe.

But, as Wallace-Hadrillp. Christianity extended beyond its European frontiers. Between about and 1 a whole new civilisational pattern based upon feudal- ism expanded as far west as Ireland and as far east as Jerusalem, bringing with it a uniform society Bartletl, Interpretative works, mostly written in the s and s, have been written by Barraclough Preface ix, BeIofT 1Chabod I his presupposes a theory of the historical regions of Europe.

The threat was no longer from depanty barbarian tribes of the north who had been attacking the Roman Empire since the fifth century, but from Islam. What may have been of greater significance was the Oriental-western world-system in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and the Mediterranean civilisation of the sixteenth century Abu-Lugnod, 1