University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Place of Publication
The members of the European Union have never had a common identity that has united them together beyond their geographical definition of "Europe." Since the beginning of the European Union and the introduction of the Euro, the decision makers of the Union have been pushing for a collective European identity. The need for this identity comes from the belief that in order for the Union to be economically sound, it needs an underlying homogenous culture. A unity in identity, values, and ideals is stronger than a unity based solely on a common currency as it lacks personal characteristics that people can relate to. This push for a collective unity has been met with a fair amount of resistance from the member states. This thesis will argue that there exists a great amount of resistance to the homogenization of the European Union, which is expressed through food and its surrounding culture in the European Union. Through four different cases I will explore the attitudes of citizens towards the perpetual evolution of the Union and the power these beliefs hold in its future, the evidence of a need for individuality among the nations, and the isolating effects of power play that occur when countries are singled out as sources for problems in the E.U. The four cases discussed are: Labeling-What's the Name, the Carrot Conundrum, the Cinnamon Scare, and Not the EU's E. Coli. The first case, Labeling, involves the protection of items such as the Cornish pasty of England, the smoked cheeses of Poland and Slovakia, and the snails and carrot jams of France and Portugal, respectively. These show the power behind naming, and how labeling and protection of culture provides deserved recognition but also distinguishes countries from one another. The second case, The Carrot Conundrum, presents the issues surrounding the uniform regulations placed on produce in the E.U. and follows how countries reacted to the absurdly strict standards. The third case, The Cinnamon Scare, shows what happens when EU regulations meddle with cultural staples and overstep their boundaries. The fourth case, Not the E.U.'s E. Coli, presents a case of hasty accusations and how the use of specific names isolates and victimizes nations. Each case shows evidence of targeting a different aspect of homogenization: demanding labeled recognition for products, refusing a uniform "normality," defending centuries-old traditions against alterations, and expressing an ever-present “otherness” complex. However, in the end, each case is a part of an overall resistance to the homogenization of culture under the European Union. Countries wish to be united, but not at the cost of their cultures.
B. S.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Science.
European Union countries -- Economic integration; Nationalism -- European Union countries; Group identity -- European Union countries
Zdunek, Sylvia, "The EU's cookie cutter, but not the EU's cookie" (2014). Honors Theses.