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From East Europeans to Europeans: shifting collective identities and symbolic boundaries in the New Europe*

  • Economics
  • Law
  • Political Science


On 1 May 2004, Europe changed. This date marks both a beginning and an end. The enlargement of the European Union signals the beginning of a new phase in the history of Western Europe, and, for the new members from Eastern Europe, the end of a long period of exclusion and separation. Commentaries on this epochal event usually focus on hard institutional factors such as political rearrangements, legal coordination and economic readjustments, etc. I will focus more on the soft cultural and human factors; what I consider to be the intangibles and imponderables of a new, emerging Europe. I am convinced that culture really matters in social life.

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