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European Union and the Deconstruction of the Rhineland Frontier

$43.99 (C)

  • Date Published: October 2008
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521707077

$ 43.99 (C)
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About the Authors
  • The Rhineland region includes the core regional economy of western Europe, encompassing Belgium, Luxemburg and parts of the Netherlands, France, Switzerland and Germany. Throughout history there have been tensions between this region's roles as a frontier and as western Europe's economic core. Michael Loriaux argues that the European Union arose from efforts to deconstruct this frontier. He traces Rhineland geopolitics back to its first emergence, restoring frontier deconstruction to the forefront of discussion about the EU. He recounts how place names were manipulated to legitimate political power and shows how this manipulation generated the geopolitics that the EU now tries to undo. Loriaux also argues that the importance of this issue has significantly affected the nature of the EU's development and helps condition a festering legitimation crisis.

    • Provides an original account of the economic, political and discursive history of the Rhineland region, showing its influence over the development of the EU
    • Combines geopolitical analysis with linguistic deconstruction
    • Uses a range of historic maps and images to illustrate the argument
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    Reviews & endorsements

    “European Union and the Deconstruction of the Rhineland Frontier is nothing short of a reinterpretation of European history since pre-Roman times. It is a work of tremendous thought and scholarship, involving research in at least four languages, that gives us an entirely new way to think about national and European identity. This book is not only brilliant, it is path-breaking, and likely to be a landmark in its field.”
    Harvey B. Feigenbaum, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, The George Washington University

    “Loriaux not only draws on the works of political geographers, international political economists, international relations specialists and historians, but integrates their insights in an approach that takes culture seriously. Challenging, interesting and illuminating.”
    Friedrich Kratochwil, Department of Political & Social Sciences, European University Institute

    “Drawing on Derrida and his notion that texts function as coups de force, Loriaux deconstructs a handful discursive coups over two thousand years of history—Caesar’s The Gallic Wars (1st c. BC), The Donation of Constantine (8th c.), the so-called works of Ossian (1760s), and a French constitutional decree dividing revolutionary France into departments—to show how these coups fractured and melded mental space in the Rhenish heart of Europe, prompted the development of the modern state and nurtured the national idea, reordered land use and commercial practice, impoverished and enriched communities, and finally made the map of Europe seem natural and inevitable. Loriaux tells this story with stunning control over his source material and unfaltering fluency. The book has a compelling narrative drive—as they say so often about pot-boilers, it’s a page turner. A radically original interpretation of Franco-German history, seen from the banks of a great river system, this book is not potboiler but a Bildungsroman.”
    Nicholas G. Onuf, Department of International Relations, Florida International University

    “Michael Loriaux has written a concise, well-judged and most useful analysis of the history, political economy, and “space” of the Rhineland frontier. It is really rare to find such a wonderful conjunction of history, geography and theory between two covers. His deeply informed and novel conception of this critically placed place and space will be essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the formation and contemporary significance of the European Union.”
    Bruce Cumings, Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor in History, University of Chicago

    "This smart, sophisticated book seeks to revise the conventional wisdom on a big question. It contains much to admire."
    Perspectives on Politics, Andrew Moravcsik, Princeton University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2008
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521707077
    • length: 350 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 153 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.56kg
    • contains: 9 b/w illus. 41 maps 2 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Myth and geopolitics of the Rhineland frontier
    2. Trans Rhenum incolunt: the inauguration of the Rhineland frontier
    3. A 'principality of priests': the inauguration of Europe
    4. Anonymity and prosperity
    5. The great antecedent cracking
    6. Coups de force: Ossian and the département
    7. Wacht am Rhein: the Ossianic fracture of Rhineland space
    8. Carolingian discourse and Rhineland pacification
    9. Spatial representation and the political imagination.

  • Author

    Michael Loriaux, Northwestern University, Illinois
    Michael Loriaux is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Northwestern University. He studies European unification from the perspectives of political economy and critical theory. His books include France After Hegemony: International Change and Financial Reform (Cornell University Press, 1991) and Capital Ungoverned (co-authored, Cornell University Press, 1997). European Union and the Deconstruction of the Rhineland Frontier won the Charles Taylor Prize for best book of political interpretation. Professor Loriaux's current book project is entitled 'European Union and the Aesthetics of Power'.

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