New article: Europe's American Dream

In the last issue of European Journal of Social Theory, professor John Erik Fossum writes about what he calls "Europe's American Dream".

Recent years (pre-Obama) of transatlantic rifts should not deceive us into ignoring the great attraction that the United States has exerted, and continues to exert, on Europeans. This article, first, seeks to uncover the normative assumptions that underpin the US as an exemplar or polity model for the EU, as seen from a European perspective. Second, it briefly considers whether the traits that Europeans find attractive about the US as a polity model have much real bearing on the EU, not in terms of how Europeans would want the EU to be but in terms of how the EU presently is. The point is to get a sense of the empirical distance that Europeans would have to travel if they were to transpose what they find attractive about the US to the EU. Are the features Europeans hold up as attractive about the US also available in Europe? These two undertakings set the stage for the third and most original, endeavour, which is to consider whether there are entities that are more compatible with what we currently find in Europe. The case singled out here is another American state, namely Canada. A clarification and critical assessment of what is referred to here as ‘Europe’s American Dream’ are intended to serve as a kind of mirror for Europeans to consider whether the European project is: (a) one of emulating the US; (b) a unique experiment; or (c) an EU that is closer to Canada than the US. If the reality of Canada is more proximate to the reality of the EU, should then Canada instead serve as Europe’s American Dream?

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Published Oct. 19, 2010 4:25 PM - Last modified Mar. 27, 2019 4:42 PM