Louise Schou Therkildsen
MA and phil. lic. in Rhetoric.
Rhetorical formations of European identity
In my doctoral thesis, I explore five examples of collective identity formations within the European Union from a constitutive rhetorical perspective. For further info, see research.
Rhetorical theory and criticism – currently focused on questions of migration, identity, and agency. Theoretically, I am working with, among other perspectives, constitutive rhetoric, temporality, and post-colonial theory.
Keywords: european union collective identity formation post-colonial theory rhetorical criticism rhetorical theory
Rhetorical formations of European identity: Close readings of constitutive rhetoric within the EU 1973-2014
Identity is ‘done’, continuously – we are always ongoingly locating ourselves in different groups, places, times, contexts. But how do we come to locate not only ourselves but others as parts of a larger collective identity? In other words, how does a subject become a collective subject?
In my doctoral thesis, I explore five concrete examples of collective identity formations within the European Union from the perspective of constitutive rhetoric (Charland 1987): A Declaration of European Identity (1973), A People’s Europe (1984-1985), Maastricht Treaty (1992), Constitution for Europe (2004), and New Narrative for Europe (2013-2014). I do this, firstly, to illuminate this specific material and its means of creating a collective European identity, secondly, to enrich our understanding of constitutive rhetoric by highlighting its challenges and potential in rhetorical criticism.
The theory of constitutive rhetoric provides the analytical focal point for my dissertation as well as a structure for the three analytical chapters: 1) The making of a collective subject, in which I focus on the different means of interpellation in the five EU initiatives; 2) the making of a transhistorical subject, where I study different and sometimes intersecting temporal imaginaries and their implications to the EU’s historiography, and 3) the positioning and constraining of the collective subject, a chapter focusing on visions of omnipresence and eternit, on rhetorical agency and the role of the EU citizen.
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