UBC Theses and Dissertations
The politics of the limit : European identity, the Denmark cartoon debate and the development of new discursive communities in the online world Dan, Matthew
With increasing cultural, ethnic and religious heterogeneity in European populations, new challenges are being posed to the "European Project" as its focus shifts from economic and juridical integration to social integration. In the wake of these challenges, traditional notions of European Identity and Europe's aspirations towards building a pluralistic society have increasingly come under attack. These tensions are exemplified through a number of struggles, including debates on the Islamic headscarf, and Turkey's pending accession to the European Union. This thesis examines one challenge facing Europe through a critical discourse analysis of weblog entries related to the September 30, 2005 publication of 12 cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in Denmark's Jyllands-Posten newspaper. Central to this examination is a critique, of the modem, Habermasian concepts of republican citizenship and deliberative democracy, through Michel Foucault's work on power and knowledge. This study looks at how online discursive communities resist and challenge "Europe's" identity as well as its historical and contemporary construction of Islam and Muslims as its inherently violent, pre-modem oppositional "Other". This is carried out by examining the limits of tolerance and intolerance, selfhood and otherness, and finally, essentialism and de-essentialism.
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