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European identity and exclusion: The discursive construction of the ‘Judeo-Christian’ tradition (FWO Funded 2012-2015)

This project concerns the symbolic meaning of the term ‘Judeo-Christianity’ in relation to European identity formation. The goal is to investigate the roots of the relationship between the creation of the European community and the exclusion of ‘others’. My research hypothesis is that it is necessary to understand the process of identity formation in relation to the construction of enemies in order to avert violence and to develop a notion of community that is not defined by exclusion. To do so, I will consider a particular case of enemy production which has played a fundamental role in the formation of the European community and which may shed light on the current political debate on the rise of Islam in Europe. Concretely, I will (1) investigate by means of a discursive analysis how the ‘Jew’ emerged as Europe’s ‘other’ (2) examine how, and why, this once excluded ‘other’ has now come to be included in Europe’s identity by means of the term ‘Judeo-Christian’ tradition (3) aware of the significant differences between Europe’s ‘others’, one Judaic the other Islamic, I will consider how the notion of a ‘Judeo-Christian’ tradition is a carrier of new modalities of exclusion with regard to Islam.





Anya Topolski