chapter  7
22 Pages

European Legality and its Critique: On Bauman’s Concept of an Adventurous Europe

There are many political and cultural reflections on European identity. These reflections contribute to the self-identification of the inhabitants of the European continent as Europeans and even cause conflicts over which political processes and visions are more European. In his ‘adventurous’ search for Europe, Zygmunt Bauman described modern European culture as a ‘thorn in society’s flesh’ (Bauman 2004, 13) that destabilises norms and conventions and makes change and protest its constitutive virtues. According to him, European culture is not a culture of unity that could provide solid normative foundations for society. Europe is ‘a mission’ and ‘a labour that never ends, a challenge always still to be met in full, a prospect forever outstanding’ (Bauman 2004, 2). It is determined by its search for the infinite, typified by intrinsic paradoxes and antinomies, and thus powerfully balances its morality and immorality.