Political identity has become a central question in European politics. A key issue is that whilst the EU has greatly expanded its powers in key policy domains that traditionally have been the preserve of nation states, its political identity remains weak. Cultural heritage is closely linked with identity.
It played a major role in the construction of nation states in Europe. But it has a ‘dual character’ as it also has economic features. The talk will compare two policies pursued by the European Commission that correspond to its dual nature: policies to explicitly develop an EU identity; rule to govern cultural heritage markets. It will explore how both can contribute to the creation of an EU policy identity and the strengths and limits of each. It will suggest that the EU is following a different path for EU identity creation than that suggested by studies of cultural nationalism for nineteenth century European nation states, one that is related to the EU as a builder and shaper of markets.
Mark Thatcher is Professor in Comparative and International Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Professor at LUISS Universitá Guido Carli where he teaches the course ‘The politics of cultural heritage in Europe’. His research predominantly deals with the question how different forms of internationalisation affect national institutions and policy making in Europe. Recent publications include Resilient Liberalism in Europe's Political Economy (Cambridge University Press, 2013) which he co-edited with Vivien A. Schmidt, European Commission merger control: combining competition and the creation of larger European firms (European Journal of Political Research, 2014), The reshaping of economic markets and the state. In: King, Desmond and Le Galès, Patrick, (eds.) Reconfiguring European States in Crisis. Oxford University Press (2017), and State production of cultural nationalism: political leaders and preservation policies for historic buildings in France and Italy. Nations and Nationalism, 24 (1). pp. 64-87, 2018.
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