The development of the European Union as a community-based project of integration with decision-making powers outside the constitutional architecture of the nation-state is the most significant innovation in twentieth-century political organisation. It raises fundamental questions about our understanding of the state, sovereignty, citizenship, democracy, and the relationship between political power and economic forces. Despite its achievements, events at the start of the twenty-first century – including the political, economic, and financial crisis of the Eurozone, as well as Brexit and the rise of populism – pose an existential threat to the EU. Memory and the future of Europe addresses the crisis of the EU by treating integration as a response to the rupture created by the continent’s experience of total war. It traces Europe’s existing pathologies to the project’s loss of its moral foundations rooted in collective memories of total war. As the generations with personal memories of the two world wars pass away, economic gain has become the EU’s sole raison d’être. If it is to survive its future challenges, the EU will have to create a new historical imaginary that relies not only on the lessons of the past, but also builds on Europe’s ability to protect its citizens by serving as a counterweight against the forces of globalisation. By framing its argument through the critical theory of the Frankfurt School, Memory and the future of Europe will attract readers interested in political and social philosophy, collective memory studies, European studies, international relations, and contemporary politics.
The Eurozone crisis, Brexit, and possible disintegration
Peter J. Verovšek
that is old enough to remember the heady days of the postwar economic miracle but young enough to have no personal memories of the wars and suffering that preceded it. This phenomenon is not limited to the political right, as some older socialists have also sought to rebrand Brexit as ‘Lexit,’ presenting it as an opportunity for the left to pursue a project of ‘socialism in one country.’ 10
Just as transnationally shared collective memories helped to drive the project of integration during the postwar period by serving as cognitive, motivational, and justificatory
n lieu of a summary restatement of the preceding chapters, it seems more
appropriate to finish by considering the role of affective politics in our contemporary moment. Much has already been written about 2016 marking a uniquely
turbulent year of political upheaval, expressive of widespread discontent with
the ‘establishment’, elites, and experts. What might a critical theory of affect
have to say in response to the ostensibly seismic political events encompassed
in Brexit, Donald Trump, and our supposedly new ‘post-truth’ age? Let us take
, ‘Fascism and Antifascism, 1920–2020: Slogan, Impulse, Theory, Strategy,’ talk delivered at Leuphana University Lüneburg, 1 November 2017.
10 E. Fromm , Escape from Freedom ( New York : Holt, Rinehart and Winston , 1941 ).
11 Berman, ‘Populism is Not Fascism,’ 41; Eley, ‘Is Trump a Fascist?’.
12 Inglehart and Norris, ‘Trump and the Populist Authoritarian Parties,’ 446.
13 M. Goodwin and O. Heath , ‘ The 2016 Referendum, Brexit and the Left Behind: An Aggregate-Level Analysis of the Result ,’ The Political Quarterly , 87 : 3 ( 2016 ).
On the sociological paradoxes of weak dialectical formalism and embedded
. This is not to say that there have been no changes
Dilemmas of contemporary statehood
in the relations between the national and transnational dimensions of law and
statehood. Whilst 1945 and 1989 can be seen to represent moments of transition, it is as yet unclear, in the light of Brexit and a number of unfolding,
unresolved issues, whether the financial crisis of 2007–2008 and its ongoing
aftermath also represent a moment of transition in this regard.1
In this study, dialectics and critical theory are enlisted in an attempt to
respond to the methodological
-Central Europe, which joined the union in waves after 2004, for recognition of their suffering under communism; (2) the growing economic problems brought about by the Eurozone crisis starting in 2010; and (3) the push towards a return to the nation-state symbolised by Brexit and the anti-European populist movements that have swept across the continent. All of these challenges have confronted the EU and the classic narrative with new interpretations of a past that has increasingly faded from experiential memory.
Chapter 4 analyses these difficulties. The postcommunist states
such ‘dating’, partly because it is less fully developed and relatively silent on such specificities.
It is fruitful then to turn to the recent work of Bob Jessop, a long-standing critical advocate of the ongoing relevance of Poulantzas's project. Jessop has cast the UK's Brexit crisis, for example, in classically Gramscian terms as an organic crisis of the British state. He has also extended Poulantzas's ‘authoritarian statism’ to the present and recent past
relation to east European national identities – at certain times, in certain places – simultaneously suggests solidarities across difference. Commenting after the 2016 Brexit referendum on so-called ‘post-referendum racism’ (rising street harassment and violence against white EU citizens, often Polish, and people of colour), for instance, Akwujo Emejulu argued ‘whiteness, even in discussions about racism and anti-racism, can … seemingly de-prioritis[e] the interests and experiences of people of colour’ who were already protesting against ‘institutionalised Islamophobia
Looming constitutional conflicts between the de-centralist logic of
functional diff erentiation and the bio-political steering of austerity and
treaties. The predominantly strategic and instrumental nature of the European
debates surrounding Brexit offers an interesting case in point. One must therefore bear in mind that there are a plurality of possible ways of differentiating
law and politics, politics and economics, economics and law, and so on, and
that some of these will not necessarily produce a constellation in which politicisation results in populist mobilisation that engenders official demands to
privatise as the only way to de-centralise and to de-politicise as the only way
to safeguard an
the part of manifold local actors in
diverse national societies. For a comprehensive overview of the debates on this
thesis with specific reference to the present and future of the EU, see the chapters
included in Outhwaite (ed.), Brexit: Sociological Responses and Kjaer et al. (eds),
Financial Crisis in Constitutional Perspective.
Re-thinking inclusion and mediation
10 Dani Rodrik remarks that to most observers, Yanis Varoufakis and Wolfgang
Schäuble would seem to represent utterly irreconcilable positions on questions of
public debt, austerity, and the