Volume 38 • Issue 1 • 2008 • 2008

What is Europe? Where is Europe? And what is Europe in the discipline of European ethnology? This issue of Ethnologia Europaea celebrates the journal’s 40th birthday by looking at future paths for research on Europe. For a long time the disciplines grouped under the label of European ethnology were mainly national ethnologies. The need for European comparisons lived more in the Sunday rhetoric of the discipline than in actual research, but with a new interest in transnational processes the perspectives have widened. The processes of economic unification also gave rise to research on facets of a European culture, conditioned, for instance, by the administrative implementation of European economic and, increasingly, cultural policies. Local, regional and national cultural dimensions do not vanish in this development, of course, and neither do borders and boundaries, physical and mental. Processes of EU integration as well as globalization may both weaken and strengthen national and regional borders, as we have seen during the last decades, but such developments call for a rethinking of Europe as a research field and also a questioning of ideas about Europe or European cultural homogeneity. The EU rhetoric about unity hides a more complex picture, where European integration and disintegration emerges in often surprising settings and forms.

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