Peace and Unity: Imagining Europe in the Founding Fathers’ House Museums
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Successive attempts to unify Europe have been characterized by unprece dented levels of violence – ranging, for example, from the wars of religion in the 17th century to struggles for territorial and racial unification since the 18th century. It is therefore not surprising that a peace-narrative, i.e. a narrative of nonviolent unification, has been present in the project of European integration since its inception in the immediate post-war years. Yet, this narrative has often taken a background role vis-à-vis an emphasis on economic utility. Since the late 1970’s and due to weakening legitimacy and lack of popular appeal, the issue of constructing a popular European identity has, however, been placed on the agenda of what is now the European Union (EU). Thus, an increasing shift from grounding the legitimacy of European integration in economic benefit towards a self-perception of the project as one of peaceful unification can be witnessed. The post-war unification of Europe is, in other words, portrayed as the victory over violence and war, something which was acknowledged when the EU received the 2012 Nobel Peace prize for transforming ‘a continent of war into a continent of peace’ (Nobel, 2012).
KeywordsEuropean Union European Integration Founding Father Narrative Identity Political Project
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