A Shattered Whole? Imagining Europe in Pieces

In recent socio-political discourses and the right-shift across a number of European countries, the ideas of “borders” are increasingly invoked as harbingers of a new utopia. These borders are both “real borders” (borders of the nation state) that can be physically imposed and made visible through border controls as well as imaginary (who should or should not be able to penetrate those borders). After the fall of border barriers across Europe rendering borders almost invisible, a number of European countries, e.g. Austria and Germany, have recently started to enforce these again. They are presented in political discourse not only as necessary evil but moral good to ensure the integrity of the nation state. After decades of moving closer together, it seems Europe is shattering into pieces again. Yet, this shattering into pieces is perceived as a process of “making whole” again. This paper will attempt to explore underlying ideas and how religious Versatzstücke might contribute to the contemporary attractiveness of a “shattered whole”.

I will present this work-in-progress paper at Workshop I of the Imagining Europe: Normativity, Identity, and Diversity in Visual and Material Culture of the International Exchange International Exchange on Media and Religion.