Deconstructing European Identity: Exploring Identity through the Prism of Cosmopolitanism and Multiculturalism

Pranjali Kirloskar, Praveen K. Shetty, Neeta Inamdar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The issue of European identity as distinct from the national identity one possesses within the European Union is a perplexing one which goes beyond the usual understanding of the domains of the geographical frontiers or cultural ideas encompassing identity. As different approaches to understanding European identity evolve, including the supranational thought of building a collective European identity, there are also strong nationalistic forces striving to maintain their respective national identities. However, with time, it appears that the national identities are being threatened, national borders are being eroded, and the changing dynamics of nation-states are leading to the emergence of a newer kind of European identity, which is characterized by a state of “a-identity.” This paper emphasizes the fluid state of European identity which changes in accordance with context. The paper seeks to discuss the unstable nature of collective identity of an individual in Europe through Jacques Derrida’s views on deconstruction. It aims at the construction of a perceptive paper based on the notion that the transient character of the contemporary European identity leads to a state of non-identity. The terms “difference” and “traces,” propounded by Jacques Derrida, are used to grasp the emergence of multiple identities in the contemporary Europe. The paper explores the possibility of this process subsequently leading to a-identity: a state of absence of the essential identity itself as an identity, which is necessarily a state of fluidity of identity.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Global Studies Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 07-05-2015


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