May 1, 2019

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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Much discussed in recent times is the question of ‘European unity’, yet little thought is actually given to the meaning of the term Europe and its rela- tionship to problems in contemporary political identity. If this is so, then a European identity, unless it is to be a contradiction in terms, could only be formed on the basis of intractable disunity and the democratic plu- ralism that this entails. Its challenging thesis is that the European idea has lent itself to a politics of division and exclusion, which has been disguised by superficial notions of unity.

Inventing Europe: Idea, Identity, Reality

By a ‘European identity’ I mean essentially, by defini- tion, a collective identity that is focused on the idea of Europe, but which can also be the basis of personal identity. Europe and Asia were merely geographical terms while Greece and Persia were cultural-polit- ical terms.

Political and legal conceptions should not be made outof unreflecti ve cultural identities. 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.

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 created the idea of a spiritual unity between Germany and Italy, Emperor and Pope.

Full text of “[ Gerard Delanty] Inventing Europe “

Europe was not yet a highly politicised concept. The myth of European civilisation was thus given substance. But this early division did not reHect the later civilisations of Orient and Europe. The situatipnjs not very different today: This new framework inventinng what we call Europe: Ptolemy, in the second century ad, used the term Sarmatia and distinguished inventihg Sarmatia Europea and Sarmatia Asiatica with the River Don sep- arating them Halecki,p.


Europe does not exist any more naturally than ‘ do nations. Deoanty suggests that Europe was not a highly differentiated concept. Significantly, one of the first refer- ences to Europeans was the army with which the Frankish leader. The idea of Europe then inevitably becomes a basis of division and a strategy for the construction of difference. What we are therefore witnessing, in the period under discussion in this chapter, is the transformation of the idea of Europe into a European identi- ty whereby Europe refers not merely to a geographical area but a system of ‘civilisationaT values.

From then on the greater division between West and East took on the character of a moral-religious divide with the Occident signifying civilisation and good- ness and the Orient barbarity and erope.

Until the late fifteenth century the idea of Europe was principally a geo- graphical expression and subordinated to Christendom which was the dom- inant identity system in the West. In this peri- od the idea of Europe became reflected in the personal life histories of indi- viduals as well as movements. It was out of this feud that t the idea of Europe began to take on the increasing coherence of a cultural frame of reference for the northern princes.

I shall bring ‘Europe’ into focus as a cultural con- struction and argue that it cannot be regarded as a self-evident entity: After the Roman Empire had shaken off the barbarian menace by shifting to Constantinople, and later the Persian threat, it was confronted by Islam.

For instance, European kings had their representatives at the Mongol court. The idea that it was the destiny of the West to inherit the burden of Oriental civilisation is central to the myth of the origins of Rome. No trivia or quizzes yet. The thesis I should like to propose, then, is that it is important that the idea of Europe be separated from Universal ethical validity claims disguised as an essential ist ethno-culturalism.

A critique on the idea of Europe is long overdue.

Chapter 5 looks at the delantt of the western system of nation-states and the formation of a political concept of the idea of Europe as a debased normative standard in the Concert of Europe. The limits of Europe in the crucible of Christendom were set by the Muslim advance and Christianity became ihe territorial identity of medieval Europe.


The notion of Europe as a geographical term became increasingly applied to the Christian parts of the West. In gen- eral we may conclude that the Greeks did not always consider themselves Europeans.

Rome and the Christian church after the fourth century. According to Hayp. It is a mistake, as Rrnsl Trocltsch It is important to appreciate that the idenuty of Europe was not only formed in opposition to Islam, but was also shaped by tensions within Europe, which was never a homogeneous geo-political entity.

[ Gerard Delanty] Inventing Europe 1995

The official and codified version of European culture knventing nothing to say r to the silent Europe of minorities. At about this time the earlier twofold division of the world between Asia and Europe, or Persia and Greece, gave way to a threefold division: The Carolingian Renaissance was also a ‘European’ movement.

In contrast, the Byzantine east suffered less from these set- backs and, in fact, ejrope a period of growth in the fourteenth century. Values, in contrast, are particularistic, they do not V f carTV lhc sanic claims 10 universal validity that we attach to norms. From the early third century the notion of a Christian age had been established as the basis of historical chronology, while Islam established its own system of dating after the euro;e of Muhammad in Herrin.

Since the idea of Europe is not a mysterious substance float- ing above the real world of society and history.

I also wish to thank Annabelle Buckley and Anne Rafiquc for delantt editorial assistance. Europe then begins to shed itself of its association with Christendom and slowly becomes an autonomous discourse. For over a thousand years the sycophants at Rome succeeded in maintaining the dualism of civilisation ver- sus barbarism as an antithesis between Christians and infidels. Yet, the West did not finally surpass the Orient until the seventeenth century, furope ihe roots of its advance did lie much earlier.

The world of antiquity was oriental not west- ern.