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The Politics of Everyday EuropeConstructing Authority in the European Union$
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Kathleen R. McNamara

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198716235

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198716235.001.0001

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Constructing the EU as a Social Fact

Constructing the EU as a Social Fact

(p.21) 2 Constructing the EU as a Social Fact
The Politics of Everyday Europe

Kathleen R. McNamara

Oxford University Press

This chapter first outlines the importance of “cultural infrastructure” in legitimating political authority. After explaining what culture is not, the chapter argues that we should understand culture as a dynamic process of meaning making among a specific, delineated group of people who share collective identities derived from and interacting with those cultures. The chapter then links culture and identity to politics, drawing on concepts including imagined communities to describe the causal impact of nationalism and other myth-making endeavors and argues that we need to consider the EU in this light. The chapter spells out the specific mechanisms creating the EU as a social fact, locating key mechanisms of social construction in the realm of symbols (as collective representations) and practices (as lived experiences, performances, and interactions with the material world).

Keywords:   European Union, cultural infrastructure, social facts, imagined community, symbols and practices, collective identity

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