chapter  3
Ethnicity in Western Europe today: Philip Payton
Pages 12

For many years after the Second World War, discussions of ethnicity were moulded largely by the contributions of writers such as Karl Marx and Emile Durkheim who had argued that the influence of ethnicity in political behaviour would inevitably disappear in the process of economic and political modernisation (Newman 1996:3). Certainly, in the immediate aftermath of the War, observers saw in the ‘final defeat’ of fascism the demise of ethnicity as a major determinant of political and social behaviour in Europe, and stressed instead the inherently liberal-democratic characteristics of the new Western Europe that had arisen from the debris and destruction of intra-continental conflict. This new Western Europe was a ‘triumph of ideals’ (Jay 1996:281) in which American-led notions of social, economic and political liberty had (despite the hesitations of European, especially French, elites) established an ideological coherence from which the new institutions of Western European coalescence would emerge.