European integration as colonial discourse

Polat N.

REVIEW OF INTERNATIONAL STUDIES, vol.37, no.3, pp.1255-1272, 2011 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 37 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Doi Number: 10.1017/s0260210510000495
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.1255-1272


A not infrequent musing on the growing European integration is that the process may signal a historic discontinuity with the logic and functioning of the modern state, forming an alternative to the Westphalian order. This article takes issue with this notion, holding that, more accurately, the interaction in Europe between the currents of post-national integration and the nation-state may have reduced the integrated Europe to a mere parody of the nation-state. In articulating this argument, the article draws on the 'hybrid' anxiety placed by Homi Bhabha at the heart of the encounter between the coloniser and the colonised - a binary perversely reproduced, the article claims, in the dichotomy between the European integration and the European nation-state. Next, through a discussion of 'catachresis' and 'time-lag', strategies of reversal introduced by Gayatri Spivak and Bhabha, respectively, the article rehearses ideas as to whether or not something of a post-Westphalian order can still be salvaged from the ongoing process of integration. Throughout, the article seeks to rely on the later Wittgenstein on meaning, especially his privileging of what is conventionally treated as secondary in meaning formation; namely appearances, difference, absence, mimesis, and the burlesque, as opposed to a transcendental essence, presence, or identity.