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Learning to Be (come) A Good European: A Critical Analysis of the Official European Union Discourse on European Identity and Higher Education
Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

During the year 2007, when this thesis was completed, the European Union could look backat fifty years of collaboration, which began with the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957and which has developed from being mainly economic in character to incorporating a politicalas well as a social dimension at the European level. In 2007 the European Union alsocommemorated the twentieth anniversary of Erasmus, its higher education mobilityprogramme. It is this relatively new political dimension which I have been interested ininvestigating in this thesis. More precisely it is the political construction of a commonEuropean identity which is analysed using a critical discourse analysis approach.The majoraim of this thesis has been two-fold. The first aim has been to investigate how the European isconstructed in the discourse contained within the official European Union policy documents. Ihave been interested in analysing the various structures, in the form of ideas and norms whichare used in order to construct ‘the European’. The second aim has been to explore whether therole of higher education, as constructed in the official European Union discourse, is given asimilar identity-making role as education is argued to have in the nation-state according to thetheory on national identity. I argue that there are three version of European identityconstruction, i.e. cultural, civic, and neo-liberal, with their own relationship to highereducation, present in the empirical material analysed, consisting of official European Uniondocuments. Further, this thesis is also a study of the power of modern government. I arguethat there is an increase in normative soft power where ‘The Good European’ is notsomething ‘you’ are but something ‘you’ become by being a responsible active citizen.Through the use of critical discourse analysis I illuminate the power which resides in thelanguage in the discourse analysed. Thus, I have been interested in investigating how theofficial European Union discourse on European identity and higher education works to bothinclude and exclude individuals.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2007. , 364 p.
, Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 417
Keyword [en]
identity, higher education, 'Unity in diversity', 'European Dimension', language, citizenship, activity, mobility, neo-liberalism, competitiveness, 'Knowledge economy', flexibility, 'Lifelong learning'
National Category
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-22354OAI: diva2:623656
Public defence
2008-01-18, C3, Campus Valla, Linköping, 12:31 (English)
Available from: 2013-10-22 Created: 2013-05-28 Last updated: 2015-07-01Bibliographically approved

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