National Identities and European Institutions:

On the National and European Identity Orientations

among Polish members of the ‘European Convention’


Micha³ Krzy¿anowski (Vienna)



The European Convention (or, in its full name, “The Convention on the Future of the European Union”) has been installed in February 2002, following the decisions taken during the Council of the European Union held in Laeken, Belgium in late 2001. The key task of the Convention is to re-organise and re-structure institutions of the European Union in order to make them more effective, legitimate, democratic and transparent, as well as better prepared for the coming social and political challenges.


My paper presents a discourse-analytic contribution to scholarly debate on various aspects of discursive and dynamic construction of European Identities (Ifversen 2002, Krzyzanowski, forthcoming; Strath 2000 and 2002; Wodak and Weiss, forthcoming; Weiss 2002). In particular, I shall remain devoted to critical-analytic and discourse-historical explorations (Wodak and Meyer 2001) to various identity displays within diverse realms of EU-institutions (Muntigl, Weiss and Wodak 2000; Wodak, forthcoming).


I shall present an analysis of my interviews with Polish members of the European Convention. In my presentation, a particular focus will be given to how thematic structures and rhetorical strategies are fostered by ‘future orientations’, following Reinhart Koselleck’s (1989 and 2001) division of social reality into ‘scope of experience’ (PAST) and ‘horizon of expectations’ (FUTURE). I assume that strategies and topics employed by the interviewees, serve, on the one hand, strengthening their national identifications, and on the other hand, contributing and adjusting to overall ‘discourse about the future of Europe’ within the realm of the European Union.



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