Re-Scaling Nationhood and the European Union in France and Germany

  • Claudia Wiesner (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


European integration is a regional integration process that has united formerly independent nation states into a federation-like polity. Accordingly, EU integration and its evolving supranational structures have challenged the conceptions of nationhood in most EU member states, as they have directly touched upon some of its classic markers, such as sovereignty and territory. In terms of the “scaling” approach, the integration processes have led to a re-scaling of the concept of nation in individual member states. From the beginning of integration, the changes brought about by EU integration have been argued for, defended or criticised by national politicians. Elite discourses and their ways of referring to the EU and nation state have led to the development of different national EU conceptions. This article examines how the ideas and markers of nationhood have been re-scaled in the national EU conceptions of two large founding states, i.e. Germany and France. A particular focus is placed on the constructions of “Us” and “Them” as classic markers of nationhood, and the ways in which these have been used and challenged in crucial phases of integration, namely the pre-ratification discourses of the Maastricht and the Constitutional Treaty.