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Luisa Passerini’s essays on European identity in her book Memory and Utopia: The Primacy of Intersubjectivity set out to find grounds for affirming a ‘distance’ to a problematic European past in the interests of a more acceptable European identity for the future – to rescue from the ruins of European universalism a more modest and emotionally intelligent basis for ‘an identity investment in favour of Europe’.
At issue is the task of learning to love Europe again – not to learn again to love the words through which Europeans, hitherto, have declared their love for Europe, but to find new words in a different time.
But why Europe? Why bother. Why go through all this effort of renewal and retrieval? As Passerini notes, during the 1960s and 70s the most powerfully inspiring forms of identification ‘went beyond and against forms of European identification’. What has changed? Can Europe provide a new focus for hope in this new century? In this talk Glendinning looks at the ways in which Passerini construes European identity, and assess her desire for a Europe that might be ‘born again’.

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