"Making the Europeans": cultural identity and cultural policy between institutional narrative and banal Europeanisation
Department of Sociology University of Sussex Brighton, England
The paper presents and discusses the cultural policies of both the European Union (EU) and of the Council of Europe (COE), that in this field has often acted as a forerunner and think-tank for the EU itself. These policies are here conceptualised as key loci to interrogate current narratives and representations of European identity and culture, having been put forward to create what had long been diagnosed as lacking: a European society and its citizens, properly formatted according to the annexed cultural identity. Not only is the often difficult and evolving relationship of the EU and COE thematised, highlighting shifts in notions of Europe, culture and identity, but so too is the role of the various local subjects and networks active in the sector that they have helped emerge, given their strategy of fostering the European cultural space mainly through trans-national co-operation. The paper is based both on a comprehensive analysis of the institutional narratives themselves, and on results from in-depth qualitative research on prominent examples of EU and COE cultural actions implemented locally, such as the European City of Culture Programme (EU) and the European Landscape Convention (COE). This provides a perspective on the relationship between the institutional production of the narrative and the recipient?s spaces of interpretation and actual use within what can be termed "banal" Europeanization. The conclusions involve a consideration of the reach of public, institutional narratives of (European) identity beyond the level of Euro-elites and on the nature of the emerging cultural Europeanization.