Identities in the Narratives of a European Civic Organisation
Royal Holloway, University of London
Drawing on a study conducted with an association of citizens operating in the European public sphere and applying the Discourse Historical Approach, this paper investigates how the organisation’s members construct their transnational citizenship and how they negotiate it vis-à-vis European, national, and local identities. The analysis reveals that informants often claim their transnational identities as membership of an expanded community of relevance, through the transportability of their civic engagement and through meta-narratives of spatiality and progress whereby cosmopolitan scenarios are often reterritorialised within the European space. These arguments are frequently realised through the metaphorical scenario of ‘spatial dynamics’ which makes sense of identities as emergent from unbounded social interaction, and through the indexicality of transnational narratives as specific discourses of socio-historical transformation of nationhood.
Key words: transnationalism, European identity, active citizenship, European public sphere, cosmopolitanism, Discourse Historical Approach
NGO isierung der EU-Politik? Zur Handlungsmacht von Nichtregierungsorganisationen am Beispiel von European Alternatives
LUISA MARIA SCHWEIZER
So die Forderung der EU-Kommission hinsichtlich der zukünftigen Gestaltung europäischer Politik aus dem Weißbuch Europäisches Regieren, das im Frühjahr 2001 vorgelegt wurde. Als Akteure dieser geforderten Rückkoppelungen und Netzwerke gelten unter anderem nichtstaatliche Organisationen (NGOs), die sich vermeintlich EU-unabhängig mit europaspezifschen Fragestellungen beschäftigen.
A Political Sociology of European “Anti-Politics” and Dissent
Rivista sulle trasformazioni sociali – CAMBIO
Abstract: The democratic nature of the European integration project is contested, and contestation and dissent seem to be on the increase, or at least becoming more visible, with the current economic crisis. A European project confined to transnational market-making is found wanting in terms of social competence as well as civic-democratic enablement. It seems undeniable that the attempts by the European Union (EU) to enhance its democratic standing have so far had limited success. For a political sociology of European democracy, an increasing gap between a European society and the formal-political world of the EU raises a host of significant and interesting questions. The article will tie in with some of the recent sociological studies that focus on European democracy, civil society, and social movements, and will contribute to the delineation of a specifically political-sociological approach to European democracy. The approach will link political theory with sociological insights, the latter in particular taken from the sociology of critical capacity as developed by Boltanski and Thévenot and others. Such an approach seems particularly useful in terms of the sociological exploration of different forms of critique and various repertoires of justification regarding the European polity, not least those expressed by “anti-political” and dissenting movements.
Keywords: Anti-politics; Democratic deficit; Dissent; EU; Political Sociology; Social Movements.