The European Union (EU) faces many crises and risks to its security and existence. While few of them threaten the lives of EU citizens, they all create a sense of anxiety and insecurity about the future for many ordinary Europeans. This comprehensive volume explores the concept of ‘ontological security’ which was introduced into international relations over a decade ago to better understand the ‘security of being’ found in feelings of fear, anxiety, crisis, and threat to wellbeing. The authors make use of this concept to explore how narratives of European integration have been part of public discourses in the post-war period and how reconciliation dynamics, national biographical narratives and memory politics have been enacted to create ontological security. Within this context, they also discuss the anxiety of the ‘remainers’ in the Brexit referendum and the consequences of its failure to address the ontological anxieties and insecurities of remain voters. The book also explores: how European security firms market ontological security and provide an ontological security-inspired reading of the EU’s relations with post-communist states; the EU and NATO’s engagement with hybrid threats; and the EU as an anxious community.
This book was originally published as a special issue of the journal European Security.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Ontological (in)security in the European Union
Catarina Kinnvall, Ian Manners and Jennifer Mitzen
2. Narrating Europe: the EU’s ontological security dilemma
Vincent Della Sala
3. Breaking with Europe’s pasts: memory, reconciliation, and ontological (In)security
4. Political memory, ontological security, and Holocaust remembrance in post-communist Europe
5. Socio-psychological reactions in the EU to immigration: from regaining ontological security to desecuritisation
Tal Dingott Alkopher
6. Brexit, existential anxiety and ontological (in)security
Christopher S. Browning
7. The market for ontological security
8. Countering hybrid warfare as ontological security management: the emerging practices of the EU and NATO
9. Anxious community: EU as (in)security community
Catarina Kinnvall is Professor of Political Science at Lund University, Sweden. Her research is focused on global security, migration, religion and nationalism, with a particular emphasis on South Asia and Europe.
Ian Manners is Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. His research interests lie at the nexus of critical social theory and the study of the European Union in planetary politics, including global society, economy, environment, conflict, and politics.
Jennifer Mitzen is Associate Professor of Political Science at The Ohio State University, USA, with research interests in international relations theory, global governance, and international security.