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Ethnicity, Xenophobia and the Boundaries of Europe

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This paper will argue that the political and economic integration of the European Union has played a crucial role in helping the spread of xenophobia and ethnic conflict across the continent. The redrawing of boundaries within the European Union and the increasing restrictions on those outside the EU does not solely involve internal policies of the EU and member nation states but also entails a process of capitalist reconstruction and globalisation. Confronted with the contradictions involved in the move towards supra-national centralisation and economic globalisation people are encouraged to reinvent their ethnicity and engage in ethnic conflict. Attempts to define Europe as a cultural entity also deepen these contradictions and official claims concerning 'Europe's civilising role' fail to appreciate the ways in which the EU has acted as a catalyst for xenophobia through a failure to confront the deepening contradictions, especially the racism which has always represented the darker side of modernity.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Anthropology, Goldsmiths' College, London


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