We, the people of Europe? : reflections on transnational by Étienne Balibar, James Swenson

By Étienne Balibar, James Swenson

étienne Balibar has been one in every of Europe's most crucial philosophical and political thinkers because the Nineteen Sixties. His paintings has been drastically influential on either side of the Atlantic during the humanities and the social sciences. In We, the folks of Europe?, he expands on subject matters raised in his prior works to provide a trenchant and eloquently written research of "transnational citizenship" from the viewpoint of latest Europe. Balibar strikes deftly from nation idea, nationwide sovereignty, and debates on multiculturalism and eu racism, towards imagining a extra democratic and not more state-centered ecu citizenship.

Although eu unification has steadily divorced the strategies of citizenship and nationhood, this procedure has met with ambitious hindrances. whereas Balibar seeks a deep figuring out of this severe conjuncture, he is going past theoretical matters. for instance, he examines the emergence, along the formal elements of eu citizenship, of a "European apartheid," or the reduplication of exterior borders within the type of "internal borders" nurtured by way of doubtful notions of nationwide and racial id. He argues for the democratization of ways immigrants and minorities quite often are taken care of by way of the fashionable democratic country, and the necessity to reinvent what it ability to be a citizen in an more and more multicultural, varied global. an enormous new paintings by means of a popular theorist, We, the folk of Europe? bargains a far-reaching substitute to the standard framing of multicultural debates within the usa whereas additionally enticing with those debates.

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Generation,” which seems to me to play a determinant role: it is an essential aspect of nations that they configure time by instituting the connection between generations). ” It seems to me that the general rule is that historical nations at a given moment put to work one of the existing possibilities for uniting populations in the framework of the same institution. ), insofar as nations are sets of codified relations between state and society, political community and individuals, social groups and public sphere, they can certainly acquire in the course of history a singular collective “identity” (what Rousseau went so far as to call a “common self ” endowed with life and will)11 but only on the condition of being reproduced as such.

Republican nationalism cannot simply be conflated with such a discourse, as was seen at the time of debates on the reform of nationality law, or the insistence of many republicans 37 D R O I T D E C I T E´ O R A P A R T H E I D ? that French citizenship has a broad capacity to integrate immigrants. But given the way it sacralizes nationality, identified with a process of assimilation to the dominant culture of political and intellectual notables (“republican elitism”), or projected onto the multiplicity of cultures existing in France by a demagogic populism,14 the least that can be said is that it does not pose much resistance to those who would invert its criteria of inclusion and assimilation into criteria of exclusion and purification.

We must be prudent here, because linguistic thresholds also translate dividing lines in public opinion on which the future of our political freedoms depends. What “national preference”13 means today is that immigrants, beginning with foreigners in irregular situations or who can easily be rendered illegal, are deprived of fundamental social rights (such as unemployment insurance, health care, familial allocations, housing, and schooling) and can be expelled as a function of “thresholds of tolerance” or “capacities of reception and integration” that are arbitrarily established according to criteria of “cultural distance”—that is, race in the sense the notion has taken on today.

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