Progressive Nationalism? Norwegian Intellectuals and Europe

John Erik Fossum and Cathrine Holst have written the chapter 'Progressive Nationalism? Norwegian Intellectuals and Europe' in Justine Lacroix and Kalypso Nicolaïdis' book 'European Stories. Intellectual Debates on Europe in National Contexts' published with Oxford University Press.

In their chapter, Fossum and Holst find, that the most important obsession boils down to ‘the national issue’. They find that the great majority of Norwegian public intellectuals frown at the notion of Europe as a democratic anchor, and instead insist that the EU is a democratic curse, which Norway should stay away from.

The European project and European governance are seen to have profoundly negative effects on the role of politics, autonomy, agency, sovereignty, and republican ideals, and there is a strongly held conviction that Europe is a ‘rich man’s club’.

From the publisher:

European Stories is the first book of its kind in any European language. Its authors explore the many different ways 'public intellectuals' have debated Europe - the EU and its periphery - within distinct epistemological, disciplinary, ideological and above all national traditions. The chapters focus on the post-1989 era but with a view to the long history of the 'European idea' and its variants across the continent. To what extent such ideas frame the attitude of European publics is left open. But the authors assume that they matter to the European project as a whole.

While the twelve national cases have been selected for the broad range they offer, from founding to non-EU member states, they are not exhaustive as the book is meant to encourage further research. The authors of these chapters are all themselves fully immersed in their respective public spheres although generally not strongly identified with one 'camp' or another.

The expected readership is broad and interdisciplinary, ranging from political philosophy, to political science, international relations, history, sociology and the history of ideas. Beyond academia, European Stories is meant for all readers interested in the intellectual debates of our time.


"This is a brilliant book. It's highly instructive chapters on how issues of European unification have been discussed from different aspects in different countries reveal in each case the strong dependence on national contexts – and the lack of mutual concern and coordination we observe in Europe even among intellectuals."

Jürgen Habermas

"The trajectory of European integration is being decided not in Brussels but in 27 diverse nation-states. Their citizens view Europe in strikingly different ways. Brilliantly combining story-telling and social science, European Stories offers a path-breaking analysis of these disparate national visions. Indispensible for anyone who cares about Europe's future."

Prof. Andrew Moravcsik, Director, EU Program, Princeton University


Published Dec. 14, 2010 1:01 PM - Last modified Sep. 9, 2014 2:14 PM