Accepted Paper:

The Integration of "East" and "West": Slovene Eurocrats and shifts in European identity within the institutions of the European Union  


Tatiana Bajuk Sencar (ZRC SAZU)

Paper short abstract:

The proposed paper will explore how an anthropological study of the integration experiences Slovene "Eurocrats" can allow for an ethnographic discussion of the significance that the categories of "East" and "West" can have in contemporary Europe in light of the European Union's institutional integration of the European continent.

Paper long abstract:

The proposed paper will explore how an anthropological study of the first generation of Slovene civil servants of the European Union, or "Eurocrats", can shed light on the way that the European Union's expansion affects notions of "Europeanness." It is interesting to note that virtually no anthropological attention has been paid to the ways that both old and new generations of Eurocrats have negotiated European Union's significant expansion to the "East" and how this expansion has affected established systems cultural categories. This paper will explore shifts in the understanding and dimensions of "Europeanness" through an ethnographic investigation of the integration experiences of a relatively new group of (Slovene) Eurocrats who have recently migrated to Brussels and who have assumed a new professional identity at Europe's "center." How has the new position of Slovene Eurocrats (presumed shift from "East" to "West") informed their notions of their own identity? What sort of markers become significant for them and what is their provenance? What sort of meaning do they accord to the categories of "East" and "West" from their position within the EU institutions? In what terms do they articulate their identity in relation to their professional colleagues? Exploring these questions will allow for a grounded discussion on the way that a particular cultural group is negotiating the integration of Europe on multiple levels and on possible significance of the categories of "East and "West" in contemporary Europe.

Panel W012
'West' and 'East'. Dreaming, writing, imagining, and practicing Europe