Inventing Europe: idea, identity, reality. Front Cover. Gerard Delanty. Macmillan, – History – Bibliographic information. QR code for Inventing Europe. I{ETlllNKlNC IRTSH HISTORy (with patrick O’Mahony). Inventing Europe. Idea, Identity, Reality. Gerard Delanty. Senior LÄ›crurer in Sociology. U niversity of Liver . Inventing Europe: Idea, Identity, Reality, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke,

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Following’ Durkheim, I believe it can be seen as a collective or ivnenting representation encompassing within it a heterogeneity of cultural forms Moscovici7T98I, The Ambivalence ofEurope: Chapter4 deals with the enclosure of the idea of Europe in west- ern Europe.

The Byzantine Empire never tried to monopolise the notion of Europe, which came to be applied, but never exclusively, to the former western empire after its restoration by the Franks and their Germanic successors, the Ottonians. In this movement the idea of Europe supplanted Christendom as the cultural frame of reference for new processes of identi- ty formation and the rise of new centres of power. The spreading of Christianity was not only halted but was put on the defensive; and within Europe itself a wedge had inveting driven between the Latin west and the Niventing cast.

[ Gerard Delanty] Inventing Europe 1995

When the Other is recognised as such, difference is positive, but when the Other is eurppe as a threatening stranger, difference is negative. The borders of Charlemagne’s empire coincided to a remarkable extent with those of the original EC and it has frequently been observed that the border between West and East Germany was not very different from the line of Charlemagne’s advance into Germany Scion-Watson,p.

The Orient was no longer merely Persia, but was gradually coming to designate Asia Minor. The wars Charlemagne fought were in the name of Christianity. Take unity for instance.


In its colonising thrust across the Atlantic a myth was created. Eurkpe eventual collapse of the empire left its shell, Europe, more or less intact, but nonetheless, not unified. In this transformation the Roman citizen became a Christian subject. Europe is as much an idea as it is a reality, but it is also a contested idea and it was in adversity that European identity was constructed as a dichotomy of Self and Other.

This idea survived into modern times as a conceptual tool in the service of Eurocentric philosophies of history for dividing the peoples of the world into races Mudimbc,p. Finally, in Chapter 10, by way of a conclusion I argue that it is important that the ethno-cultural idea of Europe be separated from normative consid- The Ambivalence of Europe: Herodotus himself, however, had no clear distinction between Europe and Asia and sim- ply called the wilderness north of the Black Sea Scythia.

As a geographical dleanty Europe was a product of the break-up of the civilisation of the Mediterranean.

Inventing Europe – G. Delanty – Google Books

Yet, even these suffer from a lack of contemporary relevance and often tend to be uncriti- cal. By its very failure to expand, Christianity gave felanty Europe its ‘ identity. It had surpassed its limits and was living on borrowed time into the second millennium; and the comparative backwardness of the The Westernisation of Europe 33 West was a sign of the transition to the feudal mode of production.

It created the idea of imventing spiritual unity between Germany and Italy, Emperor and Pope. The collapse of the Carolingian empire led to the emergence of a number of independent Christian kingdoms from the ninth century.

Nothing could alter the fact that Christendom was beleaguered by Muslim power in the east in Asia Minor, in the south from the southern shores of the Mediterranean and in the west in the Iberian peninsula. Europe, Asia and Africa. A collective identity based on citizenship could be a starting point for such a reappraisal of the European idea. When such unreconstructed cultural ideas are translated into institutional practices by political identity projects, the polymorphous delqnty of reality will ensure their divisive appli- cation.


Following the ascendancy of the papacy, the idea of Rome had been broadened to include Europe with the consequence that a Greek was seen as a non-European and a Roman Christian a European Ullmann. The official and codified version of European culture has nothing to say r to the silent Europe of minorities.

As the geo-political name for a civilisation, Europe also signified its cultural value spheres. But even this notion of Europe as the Occident had not yet become a unifying idea of consequence. Tt is significant that the identity of the Byzantine empire was constructed by the state which fused the sacred with the secular. The consolidation of the idea of Europe and the formation of an identity focused on it is the theme of the next chapter. Whilst this is convincing, it is also little that is ne Delanty admits in his preface that his book is meant more for political scientists than it is for historians but I found his over exaggerations and lack of historical nuance hard to read.

It must be said at the outset that inveting I have heavily drawn on Foucaulfs a; b notion of discourse and Said’s concept of cultural construction. Bede, in his Ecclesiastical History, suggests that Britain is separate from Europe. While the word ‘Europe’ did exist, the term ‘Europeans’ was rarely used in ancient times.