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Europe's odyssey?: political myth and the European Union

Nations and Nationalism

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The article argues that the European Union, despite being a different kind of polity, has political myths that are similar to those that have characterised nation‐states. It examines two types of political myth – foundation and exceptionalism – and demonstrates that they have been used in an attempt to make the European Union understandable and acceptable as a form of governing. The article also argues that political myths about the EU have had limited success not only because they are based on the same content as national myths but also because they do not always conform to recognisable narrative forms. The EU, with its ambiguous aim of creating ‘an ever closer union’, does not provide the basis for sacred narratives that become normative and cognitive maps that make the new polity ‘normal’ and provide the EU with ontological security.