From metropolis to microcosmos : The EU’s new standards of civilisation
Millennium, 2014, Vol. 42, No. 3, pp. 718-745
NICOLAÏDIS, Kalypso, VERGERIO, Claire, FISHER-ONAR, Nora, VIEHOFF, Juri, From metropolis to microcosmos : The EU’s new standards of civilisation, Millennium, 2014, Vol. 42, No. 3, pp. 718-745 - https://hdl.handle.net/1814/74822
Retrieved from Cadmus, EUI Research Repository
While some denounce the legacies of colonialism they discern in the EU’s practices and discourse, others believe these accusations to be unfounded, raising the question: how apt is the analogy between the 19th-century standard of civilisation and the EU’s narratives and modes of actions today? In this essay, we address the question by developing a ‘new standards typology’ articulated around two axes: agency denial and hierarchy. These refer respectively to the unilateral shaping of standards applicable to others, and to the salience of Eurocentricism in the way the standards are enforced and structure the international system. Ultimately, we argue that in transforming their ‘continent’ from a metropolis to a microcosmos – from a cluster of colonial capitals to an EU that contains many of the world’s tensions within itself – Europeans have only partially succeeded in transcending their colonial impulses. We conclude by suggesting that the EU’s relevance is grounded in its ability to become a post-colonial power, and that to achieve this, those acting in its name need to remember historical legacies and reflect upon the ‘standards’ that inspire their action.
Published online: 5 August 2014
Cadmus permanent link: https://hdl.handle.net/1814/74822
Full-text via DOI: 10.1177/0305829814541320
Publisher: De Gruyter
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