The euro crisis and European citizenship: The euro 2001–2012 – celebration or commemoration? (Respond to this article at http://www.therai.org.uk/at/debate)

Authors

  • Cris Shore

    1. Professor of Anthropology at The University of Auckland, New Zealand. He is author of numerous books and articles on the anthropology of Europe and political anthropology including, most recently, Policy worlds: Anthropology and the analysis of contemporary power (edited with Susan Wright and Davide Pero, Berghahn 2011). His email is c.shore@auckland.ac.nz
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Abstract

The Eurozone crisis has highlighted the problems of European economic integration, but what effects is it having on social cohesion in the European Union? Using symbolic, historical and anthropological perspectives this article examines the relationship between the single currency and European citizenship. I argue that the roots of the crisis lie in the euro's origins. Economic and monetary union (EMU) was an assemblage of two very different rationales: one economic and based on neoliberal assumptions, the other political and geared towards forging social cohesion among Europeans. Binding Europe through a common currency was always a risky endeavour, placing heavy expectations on the identity-effects of money. EU leaders also seemed curiously oblivious to the possible negative effects that weaknesses in the euro might have for European solidarity. Drawing on theories of money and its role as a technology of citizenship and symbolic boundary marker, I argue that the euro continues to symbolize European integration, only now it has come to symbolize the cleavages and tensions that divide Europe. Paradoxically, one effect of the Eurozone crisis is not fragmentation but an acceleration of the deepening of European economic governance. However, the centralization this entails imposes heavy costs on the EU's peripheral members and raises concerns about the future of democracy in Europe.

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