Accepted Paper:

A cosmopolitan Europe? On the politics of culture talk in the rescaling of governance in the EU  


Katharina Bodirsky (University of Konstanz)

Paper short abstract:

This paper engages with publications on the cosmopolitan character of Europe. It examines the role of 'talk about culture' - including writings on a cosmopolitan recognition of cultural difference - in relation to changing governance forms in EU-Europe, with a focus on Turkey's accession process.

Paper long abstract:

Recent years brought a flurry of publications on the 'cosmopolitan' or 'postnational' character of the European Union (EU) (see Beck 2004, Beck & Grande 2004, Delanty 2005, Habermas 2001, Rumford 2005, 2007). Cosmopolitan approaches to the EU characteristically argue that Europe is already cosmopolitan in some respects and propose ways through which Europe should become (more) cosmopolitan. The recognition of (cultural) difference is described as a defining element of such a cosmopolitan Europe. However, in public and political debates around Turkey's possible membership in the EU as well as the position of Islam in Europe more generally, 'Culture Talk' (Mamdani 2004) rather than 'toleration of the other' appears as the characteristic feature of the politics of the moment. How do such, apparently diverging, talks about culture articulate with processes of changing governance relations in EU-Europe? This paper examines cosmopolitan theories in light of the increasing concern with 'cultural diversity' in political philosophy on the one hand and the transformation or 'rescaling' of governance structures in EU-Europe on the other hand. How are normative visions of Europe constructed through talk about culture? What do such normativities accomplish in struggles around the expansion and transformation of governance structures in an increasingly neoliberal EU-Europe? The paper broaches these questions through the lens of Turkey's accession process to the EU.

Panel W055
Critical perspectives on the persistence of 'culture talk' in the making of Europe