ã 2001 Sean Gillen. All rights reserved. No part of this text may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.

This work was completed in part-fulfilment of an MA Tourism and Leisure. Lancaster University, UK 2000—1, and is reproduced here strictly for scholarly purposes.

MA Tourism and Leisure

Michaelmas term 2000/2001

Tourism Policy and Planning

Citizenship, Tourism and Culture

in European Identity Building

Sean Gillen Tutor: Carol Crawshaw


The ongoing process of EU integration demonstrates an evolution from structural issues to those that address the very nature of ‘being European’. The 1957 Treaty of Rome paved the way for economic integration; the Single European Act of 1986 set the scene for lowering frontiers between nations, before the notion of citizenship was written into the Treaty in 1992 (European Union 2000 (a)). Since its inception then, the European project has moved increasingly towards the kind of social entity that requires personal engagement by those affected, rather than the perspective that Europe is ‘someone’ or ‘somewhere’ else. The Treaty of Amsterdam clarifies:

“As set out in the Maastricht Treaty, any national of a member state is a citizen of the European Union. The aim of European citizenship is to strengthen and consolidate European identity by greater involvement of the citizens in the community integration process” (European Union 2000 (a) [on line]).

European citizenship as defined in Amsterdam largely refers to the political and legal aspects of citizenship: the freedom of voting or candidature across the Union, access to the EU parliament, consular protection, and perhaps most relevant to tourism, freedom of movement between European nations. Essentially, these rights are universally assigned to citizens as individuals, unlike those inferred by legislation on human rights, or indeed the social charter; the latter predominantly referring to the ‘moral obligation’ of providing “fundamental social rights of workers” (European Union 2001 (e) [on line]). Whereas many such ‘fundamental’ privileges are inferred by being resident in Europe, citizenship is “in addition to the rights and duties laid down in the Treaty establishing the European Community” (EU 200 [on line]). Furthermore, full rights of European citizenship only apply to ‘nationals of a member state’; hence it in some sense defines a person as European.

However, the statement above is far from benign. It raises difficult issues that risk bringing history and the future into conflict in the present as traditional bases of self-awareness are undermined and rebuilt. The process of integration is no longer considered the remit of high politics but a matter of individual and cultural imperatives: the collective status of ‘European citizen’ has been legally placed on the disparate nationalities of Europe, along with a responsibility to further the integration process, with the aim of realising a Europe-wide identity. As Garcia submits though, “Europe will only exist as an unquestionable political community only when European identity permeates peoples’ lives and daily existence” (1993:15). Thus, the implications of ‘citizenship’ are extended far beyond that which is immediately implied by the Amsterdam declaration.

It is necessary, therefore, to acquire an understanding of the concepts of citizenship and identity if an appreciation of their significance is to be realised; hence, this analysis will begin with some reflection on their meanings and complexities. The object of this is to discuss whether it is plausible or even necessary to attempt to prescribe them, given the distinctive and divergent nature of European cultures; and whether citizenship can facilitate identity building. Following this, programmes based on culture and tourism are presented as attempts to ‘involve the citizen in the community integration process’; namely Culture 2000 and European Capitals of Culture. Brief appraisal of the features and value of such schemes in relation to the issues raised in the preliminary discussion will precede some discussion on their possible implications, for culture, tourism and the European community itself. Given the limited scale of this study however, it is not possible to offer an in depth historical or structural analysis of the European union or its wider association with tourism, beyond what is necessary to address the issues at hand. Thus, it is suggested that reference should be made to the source materials used for more information.

Identity or Identities?

Initially, identity must be recognised as a multifaceted term operating on personal, local, regional, national and international levels, all of which may feature simultaneously in people’s lives, subject to spatial and temporal movement. A general ‘reflexivity’ in contemporary thought, that allows individuals to “monitor and evaluate their society and its place within the world, both historically and geographically” (Urry 1995) might also be seen to have significant impact in identity building. The complexity of identity compounds the issue, as the anthropological view of its components demonstrates: “a common language which facilitates group communication, a shared religion which gives a more affective sense of belonging or purpose, and…a sense of the Other- the tendency to demonise the outsider, to define oneself partly by what one is not” (Eatwell 1997:236). As such, the European aim of collective identity poses significant difficulties.

Each of these components could present barriers to European aims, language perhaps most obviously. Moreover, the religious component is complicated by the diversity of contemporary European spirituality. And, at this moment at least, there is no significant threatening ‘Other’ to prompt a collective resistance. Even the geographical ‘sense of place’ that can contribute to identity (Eatwell 1997:236) does not rest easily on European soil, with ethnic groups zealously contesting and asserting regional identity as far apart as Northern Ireland and Austria. The fact remains that national and regional identities are deep set and diverse, with profound significance for many Europeans.

One of the factors underlying this is that Europe as a collective of separate Nation States has developed largely through distinct historically and socially constructed paths. Moreover, the traditional political landscape has been constructed through violent conflict both within and between nations. As such, Smith propounds

“There is no European analogue to Bastille Day or Armistice Day, no European ceremony for the fallen in battle, no European shrine of kings or saints. When it comes to the ritual ceremony of collective identification, there is no European equivalent of national or religious community” (1991:73, in Eatwell 1997:256).

With this in mind, a role for ‘myth making’ can be envisaged as a method of ‘constructing’ an identity for Europe, that would involve pulling together tenuous elements to present a cohesive notion of ‘European-ness’. Paraphrasing Ernest Renan, Eatwell posits “In nation building, it is more important to forget - even deliberately get history wrong - than to remember” (1997:258). However, given the apparent reflexivity of contemporary society, its plurality and diversity, and perhaps even the relative availability of knowledge, such an approach might seem unfeasible. Moreover, ‘mythical constructs’ cannot survive, as Garcia suggests, ‘stereotypes don’t hold water’, when in actual fact Barcelona seems more ‘modern’ than Liverpool; Ireland more Catholic than Italy, in contemporary society (1993:5).

Nonetheless, the idea of a Europe without a unified and clear identity has historically been unsuccessful. Referring to the post World War One era, Delanty notes “The sheer impossibility of creating a peaceful European order based on ethnically defined nation states ultimately led to the failure of the European idea” (1995:101). Conversely, a European identity that attempts to actively replace that of the nation state risks the possibility of a ‘nationalist backlash’ (see Eatwell 1997:264). “The only way out of this dilemma”, Delanty asserts, “is to break the connection between the idea of Europe and the ethno-culturalism that it has until now been based upon” (1995:159). It might seem then, that a Europe based on co-existing, multivariate levels of identity is the most plausible. Indeed, Eatwell perceptively observes:

“A strong sense of identification with regions or nations is not necessarily inconsistent with a move towards further European unity. Loyalty towards, say, Bavaria or Yorkshire was not broken in the process of founding the British and German states, and to this day remains strong. Yet unless a wider sense of European identity can also be achieved, there will be a series of problems which afflict the EU, a point which the culturalist theory of integration highlights” (1997:261).

Problems such as the desire to secede the union, ‘Quebec style’, would be likely, it is suggested, without a strong sense of unity. So, there appears to be no easy way forward that does not offer the potential for some kind of turmoil, although there does seem to be consensus of academic opinion in certain areas. In particular, that a European identity based on nation states and ethnicity is neither desirable nor feasible. Instead, the recognition of multiple, overlapping [and enhanced regional] identities that promotes diversity as a positive characteristic is needed (Delanty 1995, Garcia 1993, Eatwell 1997, Meehan 1993). Indeed, such a situation might be encouraged due to the development of ever more regional links with the Union that bypass the nation state, as the community “increasingly acts at the behest of individual regions or localities” (Lash and Urry 1994:282). If Europe is to evolve into a ‘Europe of the regions’ (:282), it might also be expected that regional identity would be enhanced at the expense of the national counterpart.

Furthermore, as Meehan suggests, a certain ‘fluidity’ of identities already exists, as people selectively decide what best represents them, looking over borders for more than just employment. Urry, however, highlights the importance of the sense of social identity that emerges from an ‘imagined community’, rather than a prescribed notion of what European-ness is (1995:166. Also see Andersen 1983). Ultimately then, the most successful approach might be one that propagates collectivity rather than plans and prescribes an identity per se, offering the potential for a more organic development of European collectivity.

It is this mode of thought that appears to be guiding the EU in its use of citizenship to ‘strengthen and promote European identity’. As Garcia posits, Citizenship as a method of participation…[is] the best way to promote a European public sphere in which European identity can develop further”(1993:4). Correspondingly, as Eatwell asserts, growth in the interest in identity is “typically linked to a desire to use citizenship as the great civic symbol which will unite the peoples” (1997:264). However, despite this clamour towards citizenship, as a concept it can be seen to be just as difficult to locate as ‘identity’.

Citizenship or Citizenships?

Variations in the historical development of nations can be seen to produce corresponding variation in the meanings of citizenship. Turner’s (1993) insightful analysis reveals that citizenship prescribed ‘from above’, as opposed to developed ‘from below’ can give rise to forms of citizenship that vary from the ‘passive’ to the ‘active’ respectively. Hence, societies with a history of revolutionary struggle might display a more active citizenship than one where it is ‘handed down from above’ (compare France and Britain, for example). Moreover, the association of citizenship with distinct configurations of civic societies produces varying connotations of status, such as that of the Bourgeois ‘Burgher’ of Germany, or the French ‘Citoyen’ (Turner 1993: pp8-11). Such variations are also reflected in multinational communities, it is argued, hence, citizenship cannot properly be based on a single set of identifiable criteria.

For Turner then, the essential nature of citizenship is that of ‘social membership’ based around a “set of practices (juridical, political, economic and cultural) which define a person as a competent member of society, and which as a consequence shape the flow of resources to persons and social groups” (1993:2). Rather than ‘merely a collection of rights and obligations’ therefore, being a citizen suggests a reciprocal relationship in which the state body provides the apparatus to support the individual, whilst to a degree, also holding the power to regulate individual autonomy. An alternative yet not entirely distinct account is that offered by Heater (1990); citizenship being a composite of a

“cluster of meanings related to a defined legal or social status, a means of political identity, a focus of loyalty , a requirement of duties, an expectation of rights and a yardstick of good social behaviour” (cited by Meehan 1993:4)

What is apparent then, is that the meaning of citizenship cannot be simply defined. Most evident though, is that in order for citizenship to be effective as an integrating force, the framework that enables the ‘sets of practices’ of citizenship to work must be in place. Without the ability to provide for citizens expectations, it would be unreasonable to expect ‘obligations’ to be upheld. This might go some way towards explaining why the EU has moved so steadfastly towards political, legal and economic integration before formalising citizens’ rights. Only when all facets of citizenship are embedded within both the structure of the Union, and the psyche of its people, will citizenship be able to contribute towards a European identity and the wider integrational aims.

This application of citizenship might be seen as entirely less contentious than direct attempts to delineate identity. The reason for this perhaps, is that citizenship explicitly offers benefits to the citizen, whilst concealing the practices that demand the reciprocal acceptance that power over resources be relinquished to the city, state or Union. Writing in 1974, Raymond Aron asserts that European citizenship is ‘logically impossible’ in that it would require the transfer of legal and political rights to community level (cited by Meehan 1993:2). Since then, of course, many such powers have been transferred. This in turn promotes a collective need to sustain the status quo to ensure the continued flow of resources and benefits offered by the state, be it regulating the market, providing welfare, or military protection. Consequently, a further important function of citizenship is in counteracting ‘social cleavages’ when the benefits might be perceived as unequally distributed. As Garcia explains:

“In this sense, the practice of citizenship becomes a method of social inclusion, which gives people who differ in age, sex, beliefs or colour of skin the same basic entitlements. It is this aspect of citizenship that has contributed to the legitimisation of the new Europe” (1993:21).

As such, Garcia continues, the “whole point of citizenship is that it provides an instrument for living with difference” (:25), an instrument that allows the kind of multicultural expression that is apparently effective in consensus building; a ‘positive solution’, the success of which , Garcia asserts, is effectively demonstrated by Spain’s highly regional system.

A crucial issue in this discussion is that highlighted by the EU’s declaration that “Citizenship of the Union shall complement and not replace the national citizenship” (European Union, 2000 (a) [on line]). In line with this, the notion of a new ‘multiple kind of citizenship’ is espoused by Meehan (1993) as a contemporary characteristic of European integration, one that is “neither national nor cosmopolitan”, and is expressed in multiple and complex ways, including through community institutions and new regional alliances (1993:1). Such layering of citizenship, it seems, is significantly reflected in empirical studies on European citizenship and identity. For instance, the 1997 ‘Euro barometer’ suggests that although 45% of Europeans identified themselves through nationality, 40% viewed themselves by nationality first, with European second (cited by Gilbert 1999). Moreover, Reif (1993:138) demonstrates that 88% of respondents ‘felt attached’ to their country, 87% to their region, and 48% to the European Community. Thus it seems that the notion of complimentary citizenship is at least viable, even if it is as yet not as strong as it could be.

Equally important for some though is the avoidance of citizenship based on the drawing of borders that delineate qualification for its benefits. Delanty in particular expresses fears that borders (either between nations, or between the EU and non-EU) promote an exclusionary position. In effect, European citizenship “has become an instrument by which Europe, in the name of democracy and nationality can close and tighten its borders” (1995:162, citing Brubaker 1989). The alternative offered is a ‘post-national’ citizenship, determined ‘neither by birth nor nationality but by residence’ (:162). Although this in itself raises serious issues regarding immigration, it does at least force consideration of Europe as an exclusionary state. In as much, Garcia (1993:25) asserts the need for all residents in Europe to have a voice to avoid undermining democracy and creating ‘ethnocentric’ citizenship. It must be noted that full citizenship rights are only available to ‘nationals of member states’ at this time. Subsequently, Garcia advocates a ‘cultural citizenship’ that promotes culturally collective rights as opposed to citizens rights which are ‘by definition individual rights’ (:27). This perhaps reflects the view of European pioneer Jean Monnet, who “remarked near the end of his life that if he could have started again he would have began with culture” in building Europe (in Eatwell 1997:263). Thus, a citizenship based on cultural collectivity and equality, seems at least as important in European identity building as mere political rights and obligations. Consequently,

“If we accept pluriformity and polycentrism as hallmarks of European civilisation the question of how to make cultural pluralism feasible, and which formal and informal networks are most likely to promote participation of citizens in the European political and social community, will have to be addressed” (Garcia 1993:27).

With this in mind, attention will now begin to focus on examples of that which can be considered ‘informal networks’ for promoting European cultural integration. In particular, tourism will be addressed as a method favoured by the EU, particularly in its fusion with ‘culture’.

Culture and Tourism in European Identity Building

Despite its widely accepted economic benefits, such as in regeneration or redistribution, tourism cannot be recognised as a discrete entity within European policy making, being “merely an indirect beneficiary of a broader European policy perspective” (Davidson 1998:65). As such, it is currently integrated within the remit of the Directorate Generale of Enterprise, with most impact being gained through indirect targeting of Structural Funds for regenerating of areas in decline. However, as Barnes and Barnes summarise:

“Whilst the rationale for…intervention in tourism is essentially driven by economic consideration, the industry does contribute towards the integration of people in a much deeper sense…it involves contact between people and cultures. This can assist understanding and create a stronger feeling of European identity and citizenship” (1993:69)

Given the Community’s treaty commitments to furthering integration, it is perhaps here that tourism can find its policy niche; offering firm guidance, and incentives that enhance cultural interaction, rather than regulating such a diverse industry. Urry’s notion that “tourists’ cultures travel too” (1999:264) highlights the integrating quality of tourism that the EU might best be able to capitalise on. That is, in visiting a place, the tourist brings his or her culture to the host, as well as ‘feeding back’ that which is visited into the tourist generating area. It is no surprise then that tourism in EU circles often appears synonymous with ‘culture’.

It is important though, to consider the link between the notion of ‘culture’ and ‘a’ culture, especially in that the former might be seen to be a representation of the latter. Williams (1976) posits, ‘culture’ has often had connotations of art, learning and human development, and overtones of intellectual positioning. Yet if ‘a’ culture is discussed, it could be asserted that it is most readily comprehended through reference to the tangible manifestations of its distinctive identity. In this vein, a major EU project- ‘Culture 2000’ that seeks to promote “a cultural area common to the European peoples” identifies specific ‘cultural fields’ that should be utilised. Specifically:

music, the performing arts, the plastic and visual arts, architecture, as well as regards other forms of artistic expression, for example multimedia, photography, childrens' culture and street art.

books, reading and translation,

cultural heritage of European importance, in particular intellectual and non-intellectual, movable and non-movable heritage (museums and collections, libraries, archives, including photographic archives, audio-visual archives covering cultural works), archaeological and sub-aquatic heritage, architectural heritage, all of the cultural sites and landscapes (cultural and natural goods)

(European Union, 2000 (b) [on line])

Moreover, the Culture 2000 scheme actively and explicitly attempts to integrate an appreciation of diversity, with the aim of furthering notions of similarity. The aims of integration and cultural cohesion as expressed in European treaties, along with notions of citizenship and identity permeate the scheme’s text. For example, it is suggested that:

(1) Culture has an important intrinsic value to all people in Europe, is an essential element of European integration and contributes to the affirmation and vitality of the European model of society and to the Community's influence on the international scene.
(2) Culture is both an economic factor and a factor in social integration and citizenship; for that reason, it has an important role to play in meeting the new challenges facing the Community, such as globalisation, the information society, social cohesion and the creation of employment.
(5) If citizens give their full support to, and participate fully in, European integration, greater emphasis should be placed on their common cultural values and roots as a key element of their identity and their membership of a society founded on freedom, democracy, tolerance and solidarity; a better balance should be achieved between the economic and cultural aspects of the Community, so that these aspects can complement and sustain each other.
(6) The Treaty confers responsibility on the European Union for creating and ever-closer union among the peoples of Europe and for contributing to the flowering of the cultures of the Member States, while respecting their national and regional diversity and at the same time bringing the common cultural heritage to the fore; special attention should be devoted to safeguarding the position of Europe's small cultures and less widely-spoken languages.

(European Union, 2000 (a) [On line])

From these examples then, it is apparent then, that significant weight is given to both tourism and culture as instruments for furthering European aims, beyond that of the recognised economic benefits. Moreover, the EU demands ‘collaboration between sectors with common and converging interests’, including those of “culture and tourism (through cultural tourism)”. Indeed. the conceptual term ‘Cultural Tourism’ itself suggests a value for achieving community aims, as the description by the conservation body Icomos might imply:

“[The] primary aims of cultural tourism are the understanding and discovery of cultural heritage of other nations, particularly represented by monuments, historical sites and the way people used to live” (Icomos, 1997)

Such an assessment would be too narrow however, given the range of ‘cultural fields’ offered by the Culture 2000 programme. Hence the appraisal of cultural tourism for the EU by Bonink and Richards (1992) integrates a wide array of elements, including those associated with learning, values, beliefs and behaviours of a country, its heritage, history and festivals, and importantly, its ‘contemporary ways of life’. Central to their analysis is the idea that the tourists’ motivation is integral to the concept of cultural tourism; there must be an “intention to satisfy…cultural needs” (1992:85). With this in mind, the understanding of cultural tourism in this analysis is as a conscious attempt to engage with the distinct artifacts and lifestyles of the peoples visited. Furthermore, given the previous discussion that suggestss reflexivity in citizenship and identity building, it could be suggested that the tourist can slip in and out of ‘being’ a cultural tourist, depending on the activity being performed, and its aim.

So, whilst recognising the barriers that strong cultural identities present to achieving a Europe-wide alternative, the EU has acknowledged that this diversity can be utilised, which in itself is significant given that ‘difference’ and ‘contrast’ are basic raw materials in attracting tourists (see Urry 1990). Judd and Fainstein effectively summarise this position:

“Tourism, in certain respects, creates a supranational culture by forging connections among people from different milieus, and it thus contributes to the formation of a global culture…Although friendship might overstate the usual case, travel does require a tolerance of diversity and a participation in the life of others not to be achieved by staying at home” (1999:268).

Given the nature of identity and citizenship already discused, this ‘supra-national culture’ would most likely be one that co-exists with, and operate on a different plain from, the more regional [or national] equivalent. Moreover, it can be envisaged (rather paradoxically) that the binding force between European citizens could be the very fact that they are so culturally different from each other, whilst being bound by political and legal rights that distinguish them from those outside the community that do not enjoy its membership. One of the definitive characteristics of tourism is that it almost inevitably implies exposure to another culture. The next section examines a specific attempt to integrate cultural tourism with notions of citizenship, within the framework of the Culture 2000 project.

Movements in Culture and Power: the Urban Citizens’ Role

As intimated earlier, the association of citizenship with the individual’s role within a self-regulating body such has produced variations in its conceptualisation. Nonetheless, the role of ‘citizen’ is, traditionally at least, associated with being a member of a city, receiving its benefits, but importantly also subject to the controlling influence of its practices that might promote its more esoteric motives. Hence:

“A city dweller is historically a person with protection and entitlements which derive from the construction of an autonomous city and therefore the urbanisation of populations is related to the idea of the civilising process where civility and citizenship become combined” (Turner 1993:9).

The ‘city’ then, provides a practical and logical focus for a project such as European identity building for several reasons: its classical association with ‘rights and obligations’ within an autonomous social entity; a concentration of definitive and symbolic cultural material, and a density of population that maximises the exposure to (and therefore probability of success) of such a project. Furthermore, the obvious benefits of integrated infrastructure and transport links between cities would accentuate the benefits to be gained from utilising tourism to promote such a project. Consequently, programmes such as the ‘European Cities of Culture’, and now the ‘Capital of Culture’ seek to capitalize on these features. Indeed, this proposition might be supported by the aim of the Capitals of Culture scheme, in its desire:

“…to highlight the richness and diversity of European cultures and the features they share, as well as to promote greater mutual acquaintance between European citizens” (European Union, 2000 (d) [On line])

Beginning in 2005, one city will be designated as the European Capital of Culture, have passed through a process of selection from national nominees, which themselves have been selected through member states’ own competitions. In as much, it has been agreed that “A UK city will be designated the Capital of Culture for 2008, by 2003” (DCMS, 2000 [On line]). Designation ultimately rests on the fulfillment of criteria that explicitly reflect notions of citizenship, similarity and diversity, promotion of tourism, and the incorporation of the cultural fields suggested by its parent scheme ‘Culture 2000’:

The application must specify how, within the scope allowed by the theme, the applicant city intends:

to highlight artistic movements and styles shared by Europeans which it has inspired or to which it has made a significant contribution;

to promote events involving people active in culture from other cities in Member States of the European Union and leading to lasting cultural cooperation, and to foster their movement within the European Union;

to ensure the mobilisation and participation of large sections of the population;

to encourage the reception of citizens of the European Union and reach as wide an audience as possible by employing a multimedia, multilingual approach;

to promote dialogue between European cultures and those from other parts of the world;

to exploit the historic heritage, urban architecture and quality of life in the city.

(European Union, 2000 (c) [On line])

Hence, the programme effectively demonstrates recognition of the issues raised so far in this paper, and seeks to make best use of the tourist as a method of cultural exchange. Three examples can be made to illustrate this: Firstly, the acceptance of the need for multiple layers of citizenship, as well as multivariate identities, perhaps most obviously demonstrated by the requirement to depict the city’s cultural heritage in a ‘European context’ and the demand for inter-state ‘cooperation’. Secondly, through ‘mobilisation of large sections of the population’ the programme can be seen to actively promote the opportunity to exercise the political ‘right’ of free movement between nations, whilst propagating the less defined notion of cultural citizenship. The third example concerns an apparent desire to bypass the role of the nation state as a focus of identity, despite earlier assertions to the contrary. As discussed, the EU is viewed by some regions as a means of expression of regional power and identity. Indeed, the EU might be seen to attempt to capitalise on this relationship through such programmes: cities are by definition regional centres. By re-creating the city as a factor in European development, as well as a focus for local identity, the programme might be seen to subdue the possibility of the ‘nationalist backlash’ that Eatwell (1997) suggests could result from attempts to prescribe a European identity per se.

Therefore, through tourism, culture and citizenship, the EU actively encourages processes that in turn contribute to the achievement of its goals of integration, cohesion and identity building, which can be seen to at least in part rely on a replacing of national boundaries with ‘fuzzy’ cultural identities. Lanfant raises a pertinent point: “With the touristification of the area there is a slow but irresistible process of the redistribution of national and regional powers within the context of international totalities” (1995:35). Ultimately, the re-focussing of citizenship, as has been discussed, is interlocked with an assertion of rights and obligations as emanating from EU practices. The resulting ‘redistribution of power’ might therefore go hand-in-hand with the de-nationalisation of identity; tourist and cultural schemes that aim to refocus citizenship might be seen as an integral element of this process.


European citizenship, as it stands, appears to be predominantly of a rather narrow political and legal nature, when in reality, notions of citizenship are as fluid and interchangeable as that of identity. As Urry posits, for instance, citizenship increasingly involves the right “to claim [and] consume other cultures and places” [emphasis added], indeed, the ‘right to travel’ itself is conceived as a ‘marker of citizenship’ (1995:165). Not surprisingly then, schemes such as Capitals of Culture act on many levels; promoting European aims and ambitions, whilst apparently recognising the multivariate nature of postmodern society. In this sense, travel, tourism and ‘cosmopolitanism’ can be conceived of as not just a right, but as an obligation, both to the self and to furthering inter-cultural relations. Consequently, being able to be a tourist itself becomes an unwritten facet of European citizenship.

Whilst positive impacts on EU nation building and cultural exchange can be identified, the implications for the urban centres in Europe are important to at least recognise, none less than those produced by new power relations based around ‘touristification’ of identity. As Wittgenstein asserts, “An appeal to identity presupposes allocutors” (1981, cited by Lanfant 1995:35). Lanfant dramatically continues- “…the society to which the message is addressed is thereby located within a relationship of mastery and subordination. The master assures the Other that by responding it will become an object for tourist consumption” (:35). Thus, the promise of prestige and economic benefits through such schemes as Capitals of Culture automatically demands that the city [its authorities and people] abide by the conditions set down by the community, as disseminated by its legislative practices.

Additionally, the repercussions of promoting ‘culture’ to the tourist is an important issue here, one that has ‘identity’ at its core. As Lanfant observes, “Identity cannot be disassociated from the process of commoditisation, [it] is a product to be offered to the consumer…cultural heritage becomes capital to make a profit, ethnicity a resource to exploit” (1995:8).

Ashworth (1993) raises similar concerns, predicting ‘irretrievable damage to irreplaceable cultural goods” if wide scale sustainable management practices are not implemented (1993:33); genuine culture is not an unlimited resource. It is accepted by Lanfant though, that commoditisation ‘cuts in two direction’, demanding that local cultures are conserved, whilst stimulating respect for others (:31). (See Greenwood 1989, and Boissevain 1997 for divergent perspectives on this issue). Interestingly, Fainstein and Judd recognise the intrinsic link between culture, the citizen and the built structures of the city within this debate, noting an intrinsic resilience of distinctiveness that permits simultaneous ‘sameness and diversity’:

“Even as they seem to be becoming more alike, cities remain differentiated. Tourist locales are occupied by real people leading their daily lives. As such they retain a subjectivity that cannot be reduced, in the end, only to objects of the tourist gaze” (1999:16).

In the context of the European agenda, however, it is questionable as to what is appropriate to be presented, conserved or packaged within a cultural programme aimed at cooperation and integration. For example, a prominent historical feature of many European cities is that of the destruction wrought by Germany during World War Two, (and, by extension, by the allies on Germany). It is doubtful whether the inclusion of such major events would enable a city to be designated as European Capital of Culture, given the tone of the criteria discussed earlier. It seems then, that selective commodification is a prerequisite; certain parts of history ‘conveniently forgotten’ so as not to impede the unifying process. Strong opinions can no doubt be voiced either in support of, or against such a situation.

The use of culture in programmes like ‘Capitals of Culture’ cannot therefore, be seen as purely an exercise in encouraging tourism. Its value as an instrument for European integration is explicitly expressed; the citizen-tourist is recognised a dominant means of developing collectivity. Moreover, as has been discovered, the vision of Europe appears to be one of acceptance of the differentiation and distinctiveness that is reflected simultaneously in ‘culture’ and ‘identity’. Underlying this appears to be a germinating polarisation of both culture and identity, towards the regional and Community levels, and away from the nation state (or at least an attempt to achieve this). Notions of citizenship and identity, as has been seen, do not necessarily conflict with such a configuration.


In summary, this analysis has suggested that a prospective European identity need not be of a definitive nature, and neither does it have to be ethnically or geographically confined. Indeed, much Community and academic opinion seems to converge at such a point; not only is it unnecessary in such a singular form, but probably neither desirable nor achievable. Consequently, perceptions and conceptualisations of citizenship ultimately extend far beyond the legal and political parameters offered by the Amsterdam Treaty. Hence, the promotion of citizenship is perhaps seen as a means of developing identity in an organic fashion, as a kind of shared destiny, with shared expectations and obligations, based around a stable and cohesive legislative structure. La Torre succinctly summarises the point:

“The European identity meant as a membership to a European polity can only be the outcome of a reflective adhesion to an institutional body ruled by democratic rules and offering a rich, comprehensive set of rights. Thus the European identity we are in search for passes through the consolidation of a meaningful European citizenship” (1999 [on line] Emphasis added).

The brief presentation of tourism and culture as a means of furthering European integration appears to acknowledge, and indeed actively encourage the recognition and exercise of rights of citizenship. Additionally, specific programmes appear to recognise and make best use of the fact that cultural impacts inevitably affect the tourist, the host community and the tourist generating community on return home. Therefore, the cultural diversity and distinctiveness that, in part, motivates tourism, is also the principle commodity of the Capital of Culture, and the Culture 2000 schemes, both actively celebrating diversity, whilst ‘consolidating’ the notion of ‘European-ness’.

Some concerns have all to briefly been raised though, such as the implications of cultural commodification and selectivity in historical representation. Indeed, given the space, serious issues would deserve attention, none less than the impact of imminent Community expansion on the identity building process. This in itself might enhance the need for an identity less based on shared historical, religious or geographical elements. Consequently, despite criticism of schemes that aim to promote citizenship, its development appears to be the most appropriate method available to promote identification with a European community.

Finally then, in establishing a cohesive Europe, it has been asserted that the most important element is the ‘imagined community’ discussed by Andersen (1983, cited in Eatwell 1997: 245), rather than the physical and political reality. As Eatwell summarises,

“[t]his approach points to the fact that as the nation is in a sense imagined, the community need not be restricted in a territorially limited sense-it is possible to ‘imagine’ more universal social groupings, like ‘Europe’” (1997:245).

To borrow Andersen’s terminology, whether this eventually materialises as a collective identity, or as a fragile ‘elaborate façade’, sustained by the print and media in a ‘sociological community’ remains to be seen. Tourism and culture will undoubtedly have a significant part to play, especially in that “identity almost everywhere has to be produced partly out of the images constructed for tourists” (Urry 1995:2). As such, it is likely that criteria for direct or indirect Community support for tourism projects will increasingly incorporate the kind of identity-building elements identified here. Consequently then, it is vital for planners and developers in tourism to address the issues of citizenship and identity raised, if funding, or indeed nomination as the ‘Capital of Culture’ is an aim.


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