Contemporary Europe

Author (Person) ,
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Publication Date 2000
ISBN 0-333-77270-9
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Macmillan Foundations is a series of introductory texts across a wider range of subject areas, providing complete yet concise coverage of core topics.

In the absence of politics determined by ideology since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the communist regimes of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, the politics of identity in Europe has come to the fore. The dynamics of Europe's international and domestic politics has taken on a new prominence, and it is issues raised by these that are examined in this book, with the aim of providing an accessible introduction to some of the main issues in contemporary European development.

The introductory chapter, The many dimensions of Europe, focuses on the degree to which Europe is a separate and distinct civilisation with a fundamental unity crossing the old dividing line of ideological confrontation. The second chapter provides a historical survey of political development in Europe in the last century. Chapter three, The Europe of nations and regions, looks at the issues surrounding nation-state formation, nationalism and regionalism, while chapter four examines Europe's identity in relation to social structures and social change. The fifth chapter focuses on political participation, taking up on some of the themes of the previous chapter. Chapter six is more narrowly political, examining questions of contemporary political organisation and looking at ways in which the people can influence and control governments. The following chapter looks at the issue of ever-closer union and European co-operation, while the next covers the issues surrounding the enlargement of the European Union and the challenges surrounding the potential incorporation of Eastern European countries. Chapter nine goes beyond Europe, looking at its relationship with the world and the impact of globalisation, while chapter ten develops the theme to look at European security in the post cold-war world. Chapter eleven analyses some of the contemporary cultural movements, suggesting that the tension between modernism and more traditional forms of artistic production is far from resolved by the emerging postmodern trend. Finally, in the conclusion, the editors consider some of the possible interpretations of Europe, the nature of its identity and some of the implications of this for the future.

Each chapter is well laid out, with illustrative maps and pictures. The chapters are easy to read and navigate, providing a summary of key points, illustrated biographies of key figures, questions for discussion and suggestions for further reading.

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