Link to the University of Pittsburgh
Link to the University Library SystemContact us link
AEI Banner

Our Virgin Birth or the Reinventions of Europe

Nicolaidis, Kalypso and Onar, Nora Fisher (2015) Our Virgin Birth or the Reinventions of Europe. [Conference Proceedings] (Submitted)

[img] PDF - Published Version
Download (267Kb)


    Introduction: In this chapter, we start with the assumption that while the discussion as to whether or to what extent the EU ought to be characterised as ‘empire’ is a fruitful and productive one, we can take some of the axioms developed in this book as given (see also inter alia Zielonka, 2006). We argue first that Europe as embodied in today’s EU is best characterised by its post-imperial condition, that is, the tension between its aspiration to transcend or overcome its imperial legacies on one hand, and its propensity to reproduce and project these legacies on the other; and second that in doing so, scholars need to make more explicit the relationship between internal and external imperial patterns. On both these counts, our ambition is to propose a way of framing the question that occupies the editors and contributors to this volume rather than offer a satisfactory treatment thereof. We ask how the EU has dealt with its post-imperial condition over time, and what normative guidelines could help it do so better. Revisiting our recent argument on the analogy between the 19th-century standard of civilization and the EU’s relations with the rest of the world, we suggest that the EU’s narratives and modes of actions today have only partially succeeded in dealing with its hegemonic hangover (Nicolaidis 2014).4 We do not know whether internal or external imperial patterns reinforce or mitigate each other. Thus, the definitive reconfiguration of international order away from Europe paradoxically may lead to the reassertion of imperial tendencies internally, as the great powers within Europe retrench and regroup. By the same 4 token, its ability in a number of arenas to transcend imperial habits internally can have ramifications for the EU’s engagement of its neighbours and the broader world. We first defend the idea that the EU has long embarked on a post-imperial project that is indeed grounded on a commitment to non-domination internally as well as externally. Second, we show that this project has in part failed both within and without, because old habits die hard, and because of evolving internal and external conjectural factors. Finally, we ask how the EU may best deal with its post-imperial condition – namely pursue a “decentering agenda” – by focusing on the cases of Turkey and Ukraine.

    Export/Citation:EndNote | BibTeX | Dublin Core | ASCII (Chicago style) | HTML Citation | OpenURL
    Social Networking:
    Item Type: Conference Proceedings
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > External relations > common foreign & security policy 1993--European Global Strategy
    EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > institutional development/policy > historical development of EC (pre-1986)
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 2015 (14th), March 4-7, 2015
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2018 16:07
    Number of Pages: 18
    Last Modified: 07 Mar 2018 16:07

    Actions (login required)

    View Item

    Document Downloads