Memorialising Europe

Revitalising and Reframing a 'Christian' Continent

in Anthropological Journal of European Cultures

In the economic and political unification process of Europe, the idea of the creation of a pan-European identity was put high on the political agenda. With the failure of this effort, the emphasis shifted to the apparently less fraught concept of 'shared cultural heritage'. This article analyses how the politically guided rediscovery of Europe's past has contributed to the creation of a 'Religion of Heritage', not only by raising up a political altar for cultural heritage, but also through the revitalisation, instrumentalisation and transformation of the Christian heritage, in order to try to memorialise and affirm a collective European identity based on its Christian past. In the context of this process, the network of European pilgrims' ways appears to have been an especially successful performative form of heritage creation, which has both dynamised Christian roots as a relevant trans-European form of civil religion that has taken shape, capitalising on the new religious and spiritual demands created by secularisation, and responded to the demand for shared - and Christian inspired - European values and meanings in times of uncertainty and crisis.

Anthropological Journal of European Cultures

(formerly: Anthropological Yearbook of European Cultures)

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