Stiftelsen för forskning inom områden med anknytning till Östersjöregionen och Östeuropa

Narratives of Europe: Perspectives from its North-East Periphery

Ämne: Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap
Projektledare: Johan Fornäs
Startår: 2012
Projekttyp: Projekt

This project investigates how Europe is identified in narratives from the greater Baltic region. It focuses on how “Europeanness” is fabricated and narrated in one of Europe’s dynamic peripheries. Focusing on the region’s philosophical, political, literary, musical, art and media discourses, a systematic and comparative analysis is made of how European identity is articulated differently depending on national context and narrative genre. The project thus makes comparisons in three dimensions: how does the narration of European identity vary (1) between centre and periphery; (2) between national subregions of the Baltic area; and (3) between narrative genres of communication. 

In the relatively peripheral greater area surrounding the Baltic Sea, neighbouring countries with divergent experiences have chosen distinct paths vis-à-vis the European project of unification, offering excellent clues to the diverse facets of ongoing refigurations of what Europe means. The project mainly focuses on Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, Romania, Finland and Sweden. In this region, concepts of Europe are intensely cultivated and debated, challenging the notion of the Baltic and East European region as the Eastern “Other” and suggesting that they in many ways tend to be more active Europeans than many in Central or Western Europe. Discursive tensions will be scrutinised between “Fortress Europe” and Europe as communicative node, unity and diversity, stability and mobility, universalism and particularism. There are variously emphasised traces of Christian heritage, colonial history, Enlightenment ideas of progress, experiences of war, or reference to old and new transnational connections.

Six subprojects deal with European narratives in (A) phenomenological philosophy (Cederberg); (B) political movements (Kaun); (C) literature (Jonsson), (D) visual arts (MacLeod), (E) popular music (Fornäs); and (F) contemporary media genres (PhD candidate to be recruited). The project will organize annual workshops and result in individual articles and a joint anthology report. It links core disciplines within the Critical and Cultural Theory research area of Södertörn University (Media and Communication Studies, Philosophy, Aesthetics and Art Studies), and make them imminently relevant to the Baltic area studies of BEEGS and CBEES.