Is the EU a Failed Imagined Commnuity?

Gitte Christensen

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


After World War II, several European countries united, and formed what eventually became the EU as we know it today, consisting of 28 sovereign nation-states. Its main purpose was to promote peace and solidarity between its members, promoted through a common EU-identity, based on shared values. In this project, it is argued how the EU agenda share certain elements with Benedict Anderson's theory on "imagined Communities", concerning the social construction of nationalism, nations and national identity, but in the case of the EU, these ideas are being constructed on a supranational level. Therefore, to further investigate this claim, a critical analysis of Anderson's theory is provided, which is used to operationalize his criteria on how 'nations' are socially constructed. These operationalized concepts are applied towards secondary data consisting of the 2012 Eurobarometer survey, concerning EU citizens' identity as being either European, national or both. This will help verify whether or not the EU has succeeded in vertically construct a strong shared EU-identity, between its members. A discussion of the current emergence of anti-EU nationalist movements across the EU will also be included, with a focus on the current elections for the European Parliament, where the latest exit-polls have predicted a surge in seats for EU-skeptic parties and candidates. To gain a better understanding of how "nation-ness", as Anderson calls it, is socially constructed; elements of moderate nationalism, collective identity, inclusion/exclusion and the EU's official mission statement are included in the analysis and discussion, with the purpose of defining whether or not the EU can be defined as a nationalistic project. This proves to not be a simple yes or no answer, and from the analysis and discussion, it is concluded that the EU does not entirely fulfill all the 'nation' requirements, but enough so, to conclude that it qualifies as a form of weak supranational nation.

UddannelserKultur- og Sprogmødestudier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Bachelor el. kandidat
Udgivelsesdato26 maj 2014
VejlederePrem Poddar


  • Imagined Communities, nationalism, EU, colletive identity, Benedict Anderson