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Processions, holy weeks, patron saint festivals, and the like, have been emptied of their meaning and survive only as spectacles and attractions for tourists. Many academics have denounced this prejudice, but it appears to be particularly resilient and continues to resurface under different forms.
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We can even maintain that, if the eighteenth century was the century of utopia, the twentieth century was without doubt the century of anti-utopia – and from this perspective it seems that so far, the new century cannot be defined otherwise.
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When on 28 October 1922, the Fascists seized power following the March on Rome, most Italian liberals thought it to be simply a theatrical change of regime, and that soon enough the experience of government would normalise the political movement founded by Benito Mussolini.
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A few years ago, British historian Tony Judt identified two main phases in the evolution of European memory after the Second World War: the first took shape in 1945, the second after 1989. This picture entirely eclipses an aspect which is of great historical significance: the presence everywhere in Europe of collaborationist forces that actively supported Nazism, and the fact that serious war crimes were committed by all parties involved in the conflict, including the winners.
What will be the consequences of the attacks on Paris? The short-term results are known: France and the UK will intensify their fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, security is tightened everywhere in Europe and borders inside the Schengen zone are controlled again. The question in this article however is what the consequences will be on the longer term.
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It is undeniable that the popular and grassroots movement of the free parties has traced a dotted line of peace and exchange across Europe that is much more real and enthusiastic that any monument or initiative constructed by the Europeanist establishment.

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Are there narrative patterns that are shared not only by a whole Nation State, as claimed by the nineteenth century positivists, but also by larger and more complex multilingual entities such as Europe? According to Dan McAdams recent European history and part of American history can be summed up as an original narrative, called 'redemption narrative' based on the idea of the progressive redemption of an individual from the hardships of his or her past.
If it is a truism that languages tend to become less complex as they get older, why then have the complex systems of gender survived with such tenacity? What investment could human beings possibly have in sexing the world through language?
Can we approach Europe-making only through a purely abstract logos, or should we rather complement it with active mythologising? If we look at a picture of Earth from space, we can hardly identify Europe as an objectively existing entity. Like all other linguistic constructions – from our social identities to our own ‘self’ – Europe is a ‘likely story’.
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National cultures of memory are often interwoven, in both a positive and a negative sense. This has been apparent in the relationship between German and Italian cultures of memory since the last three decades of the nineteenth century, when both countries first appeared on the stage of international politics as newly-united nations.