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European Integration as a Colonial Project
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, REMESO - Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2007-3736
Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies, REMESO - Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0497-473X
2018 (English)In: Routledge Handbook of Postcolonial Politics / [ed] Olivia U. Rutazibwa and Robbie Shilliam, London: Routledge, 2018, 1, p. 32-47Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

For a long time, studies of colonialism and imperialism focused primarily on once colonised societies where the traces and consequences of colonialism lay immediately open to anyone’s experience. In recent decades, and much due to postcolonial scholarship, which has disclosed that colonising societies were just as much influenced by colonialism as the colonised ones, there has also emerged an impressive body of research that traces colonialism’s influence on the national cultures and histories of a number of European states, and not just those that had explicit colonial ambitions. This research testifies to the fact that colonialism lingers on as a touchy and salient issue in national imaginaries and cultural identities, as well as in national high politics. Meanwhile, the urgency of a series of contemporary developments and projects should challenge research also to go beyond the methodological nationalism or, better, methodological colonial statism often inherent in such studies.In this chapter we attend to the ‘the European project’, or more specifically the project of European integration. Challenging received ideas in scholarship, we suggest a new point of departure for the analysis of the relation between Europe and Africa in the interwar and postwar eras. By demonstrating that the early European integration that culminated in the Treaty of Rome in 1957 in fact was a colonial enterprise that incorporated all the member states’ colonies within its institutional framework, we also point to the crucial implications that this has had for postcolonial relations between what is today the European Union and the former colonies in Africa.In reconceiving historical European integration as a colonial project, we also discuss the implications of this for contemporary conceptions of European integration. Provided that European integration in the postwar period to a large extent revolved around matters of trade, the EEC being a ‘customs union’, our intuition should tell us that such a project ought to have been deeply concerned with colonial affairs, particularly because the future of the French empire and its trading bloc seemed to hinge on France’s ability to preserve and consolidate its colonial economy. It should be equally safe to assume that the general political and geopolitical situation of the latter part of the 1940s and the 1950s, so profoundly marked by colonial crises and colonial wars, should have left a strong imprint on the various initiatives to bolster postwar Western European cooperation. To imagine that these circumstances did not affect European integration would be as counterintuitive as to imagine European integration to have been unaffected by the Cold War. Yet, this is how things are portrayed in just about all of today’s standard histories of European integration (see further Hansen and Jonsson 2014a). As a third and final task, then, the chapter seeks to clarify this puzzle and lacuna, focusing, inter alia, on the need to rethink the concepts and remodel the interpretive frames within which the history of European integration traditionally has been understood and explained.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Routledge, 2018, 1. p. 32-47
Series
Routledge Handbooks
Keywords [en]
Postcolonial Africa, Postcolonial Europe, Colonialism, European Integration, Eurafrica, International relations, Europe, Africa
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Globalisation Studies Cultural Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-148048ISBN: 9781138944596 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-148048DiVA, id: diva2:1210572
Available from: 2018-05-28 Created: 2018-05-28 Last updated: 2018-06-08Bibliographically approved

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Jonsson, StefanHansen, Peo

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