An Investigation of The Constitution of a European Union Identity Through The Practice of Othering

Henry Jones

Abstract


This article adopts the premise that the European Union (EU) is a realist power that seeks to create and maintain a strong identity to establish itself as an effective policy actor. The article offers a critical assessment of the EU’s identity project, arguing that it has relied on processes of othering, and the creation and imposition of new ‘borders’ inside, outside, and at the physical borders of the EU. The article advocates that this identity project is discursive, and has become an embodied, performed and enforced reality through the securitisation of actors and the creation of new physical borders and barriers. The discursive construction of an EU identity builds upon colonial discourses of European-ness, and legitimises the hegemony of categories such as the white European. The article shows that the securitisation and the reduction of ‘non-European’ bodies is as a result of the EU, and EU member states’ identity projects, and these ‘nonEuropean’ bodies form a ‘necessary other’ through which the new EU identity is constituted.

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