Imagining Europe: Internal and external non-state actors at the European crossroads

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This article studies the construction of ideals and images associated with Europe and the European Union by non-state actors (social movements, trade unions and NGOs) based outside Europe. First, we analyse the external image of Europe and the EU through the content analysis of meaning attributed to the EU and EU politics on the homepages of non-EU NGOs, trade unions and social movements within the global justice movements. Secondly, we study the perspective of non-Western European activists within the European Social Forum process as a transnational forum 'from below' for 'another' Europe. The European Union seen from outside is an ambivalent powerful political community with both a hegemonic but also a socially transformative and democratic aspiration. While internal EU organizations and groups claim the internal democratization of Europe, activists based outside the EU see it as an important external ally for the implementation of human rights and democratization (or gender equality), though they are very critical on materialistic issues, such as trade relationships.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Foreign Affairs Review
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)385-400
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007

ID: 228488013