EUROPE, IDEA OF A CONTINENT: THE QUEST FOR THE EUROPEAN IDENTITY
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Against a widespread scepticism with regard to the existence of a European identity, the article maintains both that there is such a thing as European culture and mentality or European 'story', and that there has to be one, if European economy, law and politics are to be successful in the longer run. The article attempts to show ideal-typically that there is quite a series of interconnected common features (institutions, practices, convictions and guiding ideas) on the European continent. This can also be made visible in the contrast with non-western cultures, and within the western cultural area with the American society and mentality as well. It is not denied that the European 'story' is often distorted by a stubborn reality (power relations, conflicts of interests, etc.). Nevertheless, it is constantly working on all levels of the European society and offers guidance to the processes at work there.
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