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View Full Version : [culture] What is the perception of European identity of non-European Europeans?



Michael Folkesson
04-03-12, 17:22
This seeming oxymoron and tongue twister came to me as I read the earlier thread called "European Identiy", discussing the existence of a common European identity. It seems as if peoples personal identity and perception of themselves is more complex than we often think about.

Culture, physical constitution, ethnicity, nationality, gender, choice of diet, political view, sport interests and team support, geography, education, level of wealth and clothing fashion are some of the many aspects of how we define and express ourselves and how we are viewed by others.

Any use of the word we implies that there is a commonality that bind a group of people together for any number of reasons, be it more tangible and common aspects of family, friends and coworker but also the abstracts of belonging to a perceived set of values like culture and nation. It can also be in a situational context as in ... [we] who are about to die salute you!.

I think that the question of a European identity is an important issue and fundamental for the future success of European integration, but it also opens up an interesting frame of questioning, which in part include the matter of where Europe ends in the east and the future of enlargement of the Union. That is both a cultural and a political question.

But I think that a European identity could be viewed in a much greater global context. Where does Europe end anywhere and how does it apply to non-European Europeans?

How much of a European cultural identity do Canadians feel? Or Americans? People from different parts of South America? Afrikaaner? Is an Australian or New Zealander Asian, European, both or neither?

What do you think?

Carlos
04-03-12, 17:29
I think Spain will win the Eurovision Song Contest and of course neither Merkel nor Sharkozy Spain will get a captive.

If you want Europe, will have.

Cimmerianbloke
05-03-12, 02:55
The current situation is reminding us that there is no "we", but there is a collection of nations, some constituted of people having different languages, religions, creeds, and a handful of politicians that want us to believe we are in fact an homogenous continent. The current crises (debt and Eurozone) are pulling that tale apart. As for non-european europeans, I have rarely seen nonsense so elegantly formulated.

Michael Folkesson
13-03-12, 00:43
You'll have to forgive me as I tried to formulate a trail of thought. Maybe just a simple "To what extent do people of European descent outside of Europe, see themselves as European?" would have been better.

I don't see being European as dependent on a political union. We are a collection of nations and states in Europe, and some states themselves - as the UK, Spain, and Switzerland - contain nations. Even if we are not a homogenous continent - and we likely never will be - we share a great deal of those cultural values and traits you speak of, where the nations are being part of a mosaic make up of a European civilization built on kinship, common history and shared ideas. This cultural sphere is often referred to as Western culture.

To me as as a Swedish European, it is not obvious how people in the New World see themselves.

L.D.Brousse
14-03-12, 14:43
I think our European culture in my mind is a Great culture we come from explorers inventors and great soldiers. I think the European culture shares some of the same basic values no mater if your in Spain Sweden America Germany I feel most Americans identify with their European roots I know I do. Non Europeans in America most adapt and embrace the American ways Others don't much the same as your non Europeans in Europe

Cimmerianbloke
16-03-12, 00:59
The great thing that made America is that from a collection of outcasts and minorities, they managed to build a common identity, mainly around one language and one flag. As for how they credit their European roots for who they are now, it must be asked to them. There is another thread in the forum that is underlining what makes the US and Europe so different, you might find some elements there too.

LeBrok
25-03-12, 09:18
Good points Cimmerianbloke. It is amazing how Europeans in America could find more commonalities between different groups to build United States, but many Europeans in Europe are so keen in finding "irreconcilable" differences to stay divided.

It is very interesting why Europeans have to emigrate to US or Canada to enjoy personal, political and economic freedoms, the equality and inclusiveness, in general the ideas that were born in Europe, but were faster adopted by European emigrants in english speaking new world.

It sickens my heart when looking at old continent I see plethora of old nations treating their neighbours with disrespect and hatred. I can't wait the time when new generations will treat neighbors as equals, friends, and will truly believe in unified future of all continent. Is there any other way?

hope
25-03-12, 18:01
I think it is now as it was in history..relgion. Religion in Europe, in my opinion, is "repressive", it can dominate all aspects of life and cannot always be said to be tolerant of other "beliefs". Openly we say we are, but I`m not sure if in reality this is always so. In Canada and America also Australia, it is not the same, accommodation is made.

Aindriú Pádraig
09-04-12, 06:19
Irish people are probably less euro-sceptic traditionally than our English neighbours. However I'll be flying home to vote no to the austerity treaty in May in between working in Berlin and studying in France. I personally don't buy into the propaganda that being a European citizen should come at any cost, whether it's the robbed fisheries or energy supplies of Ireland by European corporations, the enslavement of the south our country by banking forces and central European governments to pay bank debts we don't owe, or the continued occupation of the North of our country by the English. I say this knowing full well to express your Irishness is to be labelled anti-European. I have had the misfortune of German 'friends' telling me that my country doesn't exist because the 'nation is an imagined community'. So was the Roman empire.

Now I'm multilingual, and very much admirable of the French, German and Polish languages and cultures having studied all three. I'm not a ranting xenophobe(though any 'non-European' opinion with some German friends was called nationalism if you can believe the brass neck considering how they are treating the Greeks) I just don't think my dad and others like him back home should slave away to pay European, English and Irish bank debts while the rest of us are carted off to Australia as though Cromwell was back in charge. The attitude of Frankfurt and Berlin seems to be 'You're Irish, the banks are Irish, so you're all guilty'.

Cimmerianbloke
10-04-12, 13:30
I lived in Galway for 10 years, and had the opportunity to live the high life when Ireland was the first of the class European economy, the one every other country wanted to emulate. The current crisis has to be blamed on the politicians in charge throughout the 2000es (Bertie Ahern and co). The Irish have a part of responsability in the fact that they borrowed blindly and IMO irresponsably without thinking that banks are not charities and that money you borrow has to be repaid at some stage. But that is also true for most European countries too... I also never understood why AIB, which has been ripping off its customers for years and has been cited in many scandals over the years, has been able to continue to stay in business with the government's blessing.
The Irish have one of the strongest feeling of patriotism I have ever experienced, even though their general lifestyle, language and culture has been highly diluted by British and American influences. Having benefited so much from European funds, Ireland has felt belonging to the EU a positive experience (even though the government broke every law on competitiveness and was fined millions of euros on these grounds). When the money tap was turned off, politicians started complaining and blaming Brussels, the Poles, the Czechs, the Brits, everyone but their own lack of hindsight.
As for the Germans talking about Ireland, I think they still think the Irish are still at the stage Heinrich Böll found them in the 20es, I would not bother about it. As you can tell from the last 10 years, the wheel turns, and who is on top today can hit the bottom tomorrow... I definitely back your decision to vote No, even though, like you, I am a person who has benefited a lot from the opportunities the EU has opened.