Instilling the Idea of ‘Double’ Identity

JVF Conference Papers

One of the important, yet still unachieved goals jointly proclaimed by the governments of the European Union relatively long ago is to shape the feeling of collective identity of EU citizens.

It is certainly a long and profound process, and it does not presume to oust the national consciousness of Europeans and supplant it by a “post-national cosmopolitism.” The idea is to create a “double” European identity, which seeks to preserve particular national identities while at the same time cultivating the feeling of belonging to a larger European community. In its essence, such a goal is by no means new, and it would therefore be helpful to recall similar practices of the past.

For instance, the government of the Austro-Hungarian Empire also faced the problem of instilling a double identity in its subjects, aiming to foster the feeling of belonging to both the great fatherland and to a smaller particular homeland.

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