J. Peter Burgess (Ed) (1997) Culture Politics and Political Culture in Postmodern Europe, Leiden, Radopi Press.
The present volume assembles essays from a broad cultural and professional spectrum around the question of European cultural identity. The heterogeneity of the contributors their differing points of departure and methods attests to a tension in intellectual communities which today is more intense than ever. Europes identity crisis is not merely an empirical matter. It reflects a far deeper, and far older, discursive crisis. The mandate of Europes traditional intellectual institutions to preserve and police their own cultural heritage has proved incapable of evolving in a manner sufficient to account for the mutation in its object: European culture. It is not merely that Europes identity, like any identity in the flux of history, has changed. Rather, the notion of identity, the very basis of any questions of who we are, where we are going, and the appropriate political forms and social institutions for further existence, all rely on a logic of identity which has, at best, become extremely problematic. It is this problematization which provides the common thread unifying the following essays. Each contributor, in his/her own way and with respect to his/her own research object, confronts the adequacy of the concept of cultural identity. The hidden presuppositions of this concept are indeed remarkable, and the logic of cultural identity prescribes that they remain undisclosed.