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Founding the European political space: the logos of the territory

Marie-Eve Bélanger
University of Zurich
Marie-Eve Bélanger
University of Zurich
Open Panel

Abstract

The territorial expansion of the European Union stands apart from the classical state’s borders transformation process through conquest and violent means. Conquest is the fundamental principle of division constituting "an act of legitimacy whereby the legality of the simple law begins to make sense" (Schmitt, 2008 (1950), p. 77). The nomos of the earth as Schmitt calls it, or Benjamin’s “founding violence”, is the principle stating that the law is rooted in a pre-legal, violent moment. This (auto/lack of)foundation weakens the edifice of law and leads to the necessity of maintaining order by the continuous reaffirmation of the system’s legitimacy through conservative violence (Benjamin, 2000). The European community, does not seek “conquest”, nor does it triggers violent division of the territory. In the community space, the founding moment of creating territorial order is reversed: national sovereignty it deposed from its “competence of competence” in favour of new post-statist institutions aiming to rise above the state’s borders. In this paper, this process is defined as the logos of the territory: a moment where reason and discourse meet in an act motivated by political necessity. If the dynamics of necessity expressed in the modern state’s world by the nomos is to fight violence through violent means, the logos necessity is to use politic to break the cycle of violence, thus addressing the imperative of peace. This political gesture, the foundation of the European community, is associated with the emergence of a narrative of a “we” (the political community) as a condition of peace. The existence of that “we” gives legitimacy and reason to the act creating and enlarging the political community. Moreover, the European discourse on the community amalgamates with the community since the European political community is “the Europeans making Europe”, that is to say, “speaking Europe”. In this study, the actor (and its political action) repossesses immanent meaning instead of being granted a purely instrumental interest. Here, the political community is not considered in terms of strategy or level of socialization, but as a political space where the EU happens. From this perspective, actors of the European Union invest the construction of a legal Europe (law making process) and a legitimate Europe (peaceful Europe, extending to the borders of europeanity) instead of indulging it.