European nihilism and the meaning of the European idea : a study of Nietzsche's 'good Europeanism' in response to the debate in the post-Cold War era
One of the novel aspects of the European debate in the post-Cold War era is the deliberate attempt by scholars and policy-makers to articulate a more meaningful idea of Europe. Such an idea, it is hoped, would enhance the legitimacy of the European Union and could provide the basis for a European identity capable of mitigating against the rise of nationalist and racist violence in Europe. After more than a decade, however, a compelling vision of Europe that would fulfil these aspirations is still widely deemed to be lacking. The question that arises, therefore, is why, in fact, it is proving so difficult to articulate a more meaningful idea of Europe in the post-Cold War era, and how, concomitantly, this difficulty might be addressed. In response to this question, the present thesis offers a detailed analysis of the largely unexplored European thought advanced by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche towards the end of the nineteenth century. For, the thesis argues, Nietzsche's thinking about Europe can still significantly illuminate our understanding of the current impasse by contextualising the latter within the larger problem of European nihilism, or meaninglessness, resident in the cultural configuration of European modernity. On the basis of this understanding, moreover, the thesis subsequently turns towards a consideration of Nietzsche's own idea of the 'good European' which he developed in response to the experience of meaninglessness in modern European culture. This idea of what it means to be a 'good European,' the thesis concludes, can assist contemporary scholars of European affairs in delineating a response to the current impasse which neither posits an essentialist idea of Europe, nor falls back onto a technical and functional approach to European governance.