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Sum up of Week 1

We have reached the end of this week, congratulations! We hope you found it stimulating. We are now going to sum up some of the points we made along the week.

In the last 70 years, after the destructions of World War 2, the political integration made significant progress and gave a legal grounding to the idea of European citizenship. But Europe still appears divided. The cultural component, for long set aside, has been viewed as crucial to give a soul to the European project.

But the inherent diversity of Europe is a reality that cannot be ignored. It cannot be ignored especially because of the long lasting national traditions that each European state is not ready to give up. We have stressed the importance to analyse the various national cultural ‘luggage’ that Europe is composed of. They are a combination of different elements such as language, political culture, and customs. European people have a strong emotional bond to their national identity. And we don’t find such an attachment towards European identity.

We emphasized different aspects of diversity that Europeans inherited from the different layers of the continent’s history. We also discussed the challenges it poses for contemporary European societies, such as the logics of exclusion still existing nowadays as well as the rise of intolerant ethno-nationalist movements.

We have seen that the focus on transnational and subregional historical trajectories could be a way to challenge a merely national narrative, like with the case of the Franco-Spanish route of Santiago de Compostela.

We also discussed the relation of Europe with the rest of the world as an important part of identity construction. We listened to the argument made by Ulrike Meinhof, that European culture should integrate other cultures and view the cultural elements, artefacts, and creations coming from the outside, as potentially part of its own culture.

Next week, we will look more in-depth at how heritage and memories have shaped European identities and cultures.

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This article is from the free online course:

Cultures and Identities in Europe

European University Institute (EUI)

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