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Study of two significant others to the european construction in a historical perspective; the cases of Eastern European Communism in the 1950s (Sickle) and Islamism (Crescent) in recent years


European construction has been a complex process. Much has been written on the problem of potentially conflicting national and supra-national identities in the EU, but less so on the importance and impact that external significant Others have (had) on the shaping of a common European identity.

How has the political identity of Europe been influenced and potentially shaped by the presence of significant Others? What does a historical analysis of such external influences tell us about the nature of the European project? The project intends to shed light on the impact of two different significant Others at two crucial moments of European construction in a cross-historical perspective and in a multidisciplinary manner.

The first external presence under scrutiny is the threat embodied by Eastern European communism during the first years of the European construction. The second is the current debate about the integration of Muslim majority Turkey into the EU and of the challenge that, according to many, Islamist ideologies represent to the political order of a democratic and secular Europe. The significant Others for the Europe construction might have been symbolized by the Sickle (of the communist flag).

Now it could be argued that the liminal threat is that of the Crescent (symbol of Islam). This multidisciplinary research would link together a historical research about the past of European construction/integration and current debates about the political identity of the European Union, through the analysis of 1) intellectual discourses, 2) media representations, and 3) public opinions about these two Others.

This is a topic of burning actuality for Europe (Turkey into the EU? Religious values in the European Constitution?). The study of these two Others, indirectly, should also shed some light on the nature and content of a European political identity based on the commitment to democracy.

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Via dei Roccettini, 9

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