Jürgen Habermas and the European Economic Crisis : Cosmopolitanism Reconsidered book cover
1st Edition

Jürgen Habermas and the European Economic Crisis
Cosmopolitanism Reconsidered

ISBN 9781138185838
Published May 16, 2016 by Routledge
238 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The European Union entered into an economic crisis in late 2009 that was sparked by bank bailouts and led to large, unsustainable, sovereign debt. The crisis was European in scale, but hit some countries in the Eurozone harder than others. Despite the plethora of writings devoted to the economic crisis in Europe, present understandings of how the political decisions would influence the integration project continue to remain vague. What does it actually mean to be European? Is Europe still a collection of peoples that rallied together during good times and then retreat to nationalism when challenges appear? Or has Europe adopted a common identity that would foster solidarity during hard times?

This book provides its reader with a fresh perspective on the importance identity has on the functioning of the European Union as exemplified in Jürgen Habermas’ seminal text, ‘The Crisis of the European Union: A Response’. Rather than exploring the causes of the crisis, the contributors examine the current state of European identity to determine the likelihood of implementing Habermas’ suggestions. The contributor’s interdisciplinary approach is organized into four parts and examines the following key areas of concern:

  • Habermas’ arguments, placing them into their historical context.
  • To which degree do Europeans share the ideals Habermas describes as crucial to his program of reform.
  • Influence of Habermas’ cosmopolitanism through religious and literary lenses.
  • Impact of Habermas’ notions in the arenas of education, national economies, austerity, and human rights.

Jürgen Habermas and the European Economic Crisis will be read by scholars in the fields of Political Theory and Philosophy, European Politics and Cultural Studies.

Table of Contents


Gaspare M. Genna and Ian W. Wilson

Section 1. Foundations

1. Democracy as Ideal and Practice: Historicizing The Crisis of the European Union

Christian Bailey

2. Habermas on Human Dignity as the Origin of Human Rights and Egalitarian, Utopian Thinking

Jennifer Fredette

Section 2. Values

3. Cosmopolitanism, Trust, and Support for European Integration

Gaspare M. Genna

4. European Reform from the Bottom Up? The Presence and Effects of Cosmopolitan Values in Germany

Aubrey Westfall

Section 3. Tools

5. Reason, Faith, and Europe: Two German Perspectives What is Europe?

James M. Skidmore

6. Cosmopolitan Reflections: Jürgen Habermas and W. G. Sebald

Ian W. Wilson

Section 4. Institutions

7. Educating the European Union: Internationalization through Integration

Thomas O. Haakenson

8. European Integration and Economic Interests

Marcella Myer

9. Does German Austerity Travel? The Baltic States’ Reactions to the Euro Crisis.

David O. Rossbach

10. On the Pouvoir Constituent of the European Union

Erik O. Eriksen


Gaspare M. Genna and Ian W. Wilson

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Gaspare M. Genna is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Thomas O. Haakenson is Associate Provost at the California College of Arts.

Ian W. Wilson is Associate Professor of German and Humanities at Centre College


"Known for his somewhat dry and juridical appeals to a kind of permanent Kantian Law, Jurgen Habermas – the central intellectual of the EU’s German center – arises here in a very different light.  This timely study reveals instead an urgently popular thinker concerned with simple dignity and fellow-feeling, berating his troubled homeland as a "self-absorbed colossus" as Europe teeters on the brink.  This book gives cosmopolitanism a new life at the very moment of its threatened extinction". - Timothy A. Brennan, University of Minnesota