Europe: A state of mind beyond cultures and identities

Palazzo Té webinar Series

RIVA KASTORYANO - Science Politique and Harvard
STEFANO BAIA CURIONI - Director Fondazione Palazzo Te

What is Europe? A geographical space or a civilization? An economical project or a political one? A new historical reality or a philosophical thought? All these questions, and many more go along with our understanding of Europe and its transformative power on identities – diverse and multiple – that have been consolidated within nation-states.
States and societies involved in the formation of a European state of mind try to express their “will to live together” (Renan on the definition of citizenship). Historians try to find a common past justified by a shared history of civilization, a common path for political modernization and economic development. The goal is to transmit a European identity to young generations considering the role of history in the definition of the future of the nations and a new identity with boundaries to be defined. As Edgar Morin a French sociologist and philosopher pointed out: “Europe – called our community of faith – does not emerge from the past which contradicts it. It emerges hardly from the present because it is imposed by the future”
The past refers to identities that have been constructed with the process of nation building. Hence debates on the effect of the Union on national, regional, linguistic religious identities and of course on a European identity that will cover them all. The question I would like to explore is how to articulate multiple and complex membership of individuals, groups, of peoples in order to form a common identification that would be European, rather how to
create a new identification with Europe as a new space for mobilization and claim. Europe is plural de facto where all national cultures impose themselves. A European state of mind requires new model of society, naturally plural, based on principles redefined with regard to new articulations in order to create a common culture beyond nations and states.

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