Americanism and Europeanism in the Age of Globalization: Hannah Arendt’s Reflections on Europe and America and Implications for a Post-National Identity of the EU Polity

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The article examines Hannah Arendt’s analysis of ‘pan-nationalist Europeanism’ and anti-Americanism which may serve inherently problematic identity-generating functions for the European project. For Arendt, this specific form of Europeanism is often intimately linked to mobilizations of widely spread fears of global sociocultural and economic modernization, which is frequently perceived as ‘Americanization’. In addition, however, those fears may reflect self-referential politics of ‘Americanism’ abroad and also originate in ‘objective’ structural international imbalances. According to Arendt, then, Americanism on one side and Europeanism on the other side of the Atlantic should be challenged as two ideologies facing, fighting and, above all, resembling each other as all seemingly opposed ideologies. In light of the current transatlantic cleavages, it is argued with Arendt that it is in the EU’s best interest to avoid binary, culturalized legitimizations of Europeanism and (anti-)Americanism. Instead, it is the eminent political task to positively resignify the EU as a new, truly post-national project and polity in its own right. Adapting and expanding Arendt’s framework, conceptual and normative implications for a self-reflexive, unique and future-oriented EU political identity and response to globalization are indicated and discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)139-170
Number of pages32
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Theory
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1-Apr-2006
Externally publishedYes

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