Rethinking belonging: a Mediterranean disaffection

by Carme Colomina

21 Feb 2020
Journal of the British Academy
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Number of pages
8 (pp. 45-51)

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Abstract: The consensus on what the EU is or should be is broken. In the present time of the politics of emotions, belonging is an individual experience. Where do we feel we fit in? Where and who do we feel attached to? The EU’s political identity is always in-the-making because citizens’ feelings of belonging have been evolving. Was there any kind of peripheral identity during all the years of the economic crisis? Were the different understandings and perceptions of the 2008 financial and political crunch influencing the construction of identity? And did they do so in a contradictory or opposite way in different parts of the European territory? In the public discourse (media and politics), the economic crisis was always framed as somebody else’s crisis. Explained by internal divides: North and South, debtors and creditors, core and periphery. However, within this dual narrative, the EU Southern political representatives did not attempt to build a common Southern identity. The peripheral countries of Mediterranean Europe were blamed as all of a kind, but their governments were unable to construct a common front.

Keywords: Identity, belonging, narrative, legitimacy, South, periphery, austerity, ‘indignados’, otherness, sovereignty.

Article posted to Journal of the British Academy, volume 8, supplementary issue 1 (A Mediterranean Perspective on European Union and Disunion).

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