If we are to articulate a ‘politics of hope’ in contemporary Europe, then we must revisit such problematic concepts as ‘populism’, ‘democracy’ and ‘Europe’, formulating a new language that can register the fact that the coexistence of an antidemocratic Europe, and an anti-European exploitation of fears and frustrations, are two sides of the same coin.
The ritual slaughter of animals has become the last of many areas of contention that are changing the shape of our public domains. The way in which Islamophobia is becoming a part of our public ‘common sense’ has complex knock-on effects, not least for our Jewish minorities.
Europe’s civilizing mission is humanitarian - its duty to intervene to spread the good word, protecting the oppressed against local tyrants. The conditions by which this protection is granted are always dictated by the protector and never the protégé. Though this is not said, it is a given.
Nobody has raised real debates in national or supranational parliaments to discuss the excesses of the securitarian discourse. Quite the opposite: the left has adopted the security discourse wholesale as its own and entered into a kind of auction with the right.
Centre-right parties across Europe are announcing the failure of multiculturalism. We are witnessing a co-ordinated revival of Enoch Powell's idea of the aggressive outsider out to dominate the rest; only now race and immigration are being played out on the terrain of culture and religion
Right-wing populist parties tend to be anti-multinational and anti-intellectual: they endorse nationalistic, nativist, and chauvinistic beliefs, embedded - explicitly or coded - in common sense appeals to a presupposed shared knowledge of ‘the people’.
The Europe that is dying is the one that remains hostage to its past. Another Europe is not only possible but is in fact fast becoming an urgent necessity. This would be a Europe of vitality, open to connections, that has let go of its civilisational conceits
Why is widespread social anxiety fuelling xenophobia rather than criticism of neoliberal capitalism? What role has the state played? Have we arrived at the paradoxical situation where the best we can do is to call on the state to do its job?
Our guest editor introduced his special feature on the ‘Uses of Xenophobia’, on Europe Day. Here, he maps the new relevance of an open and shared commons to a continent that is once again meeting economic, political and cultural insecurity with a resurgence of aggressive political demagoguery
In Ash Amin’s guest week on “The Uses of Xenophobia”, beginning on Europe Day, 2011, the thrust of the essays has been to press for a more open and democratic European continent, which turns to face the turbulent and uncertain future together with the stranger, treated as an ally and equal.
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