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What exactly does it mean to be European...
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HampshireLad
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Joined: 10 Nov 2005
Posts: 36
Location: Woking, UK, Europe

PostPosted: 17-Nov-05 12:57  Reply with quote

I think being both British and pro-Europe I can describe myself as truly European - that is, wanting to interact and trade with other European thinkers even though for me there are some language barriers (I only speak French and English) right now. Although the so-called "United" Kingdom isn't obviously attached to the main European land-mass I personally view Europe as a cohesive whole.

Where I feel that I differ from Americans is that although the US is a large, essentially unified country, it is has no other countries adjacent to it that provide the same rich culturtal mix that Europe has, and the IMHO is the key. I know that there is Mexico, and South America, but to me they are too tightly integrated to be separate. Whereas if I travel from London to Paris on Eurostar, as soon as I disembark in Paris there is an immediate cultural difference.

Just my 2cents worth Smile
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player1
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Joined: 09 Oct 2004
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Location: Brno

PostPosted: 17-Nov-05 17:17  Reply with quote

SO....Europe is a "cohesive whole"...but "as soon as I disembark in Paris there is an immediate cultural difference."

What's your point? Is there a typical european identity, or all we all different people from different nations?

"I know that there is Mexico, and South America,"

Well, South America is actually a continent too - which Mexico is a part of - i direct you to my previous comment about giving labels to things we don't really know much about Rolling Eyes
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HampshireLad
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Joined: 10 Nov 2005
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Location: Woking, UK, Europe

PostPosted: 17-Nov-05 19:42  Reply with quote

player1 wrote:
Europe is a "cohesive whole"...but "as soon as I disembark in Paris there is an immediate cultural difference." What's your point? Is there a typical european identity, or all we all different people from different nations? ...

I suggest that if I was to travel across Europe, I believe that if you were to ask someone from each member state, they'd say that they were "European" even though they all have cultural differences. The European identity is perhaps an ideal or aim that we as Europeans strive to achieve - I certainly do - whether or not it exists right now is another matter ! In the UK it almost certaily doesn't.
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HampshireLad
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Joined: 10 Nov 2005
Posts: 36
Location: Woking, UK, Europe

PostPosted: 17-Nov-05 19:43  Reply with quote

player1 wrote:
Europe is a "cohesive whole"...but "as soon as I disembark in Paris there is an immediate cultural difference." What's your point? Is there a typical european identity, or all we all different people from different nations? ...

I suggest that if I was to travel across Europe, I believe that if you were to ask someone from each member state, they'd say that they were "European" even though they all have cultural differences. The European identity is perhaps an ideal or aim that we as Europeans strive to achieve - I certainly do - whether or not it exists right now is another matter ! In the UK it almost certainly doesn't.
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player1
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PostPosted: 17-Nov-05 20:15  Reply with quote

Hmmmm, dont even know where to begin to disagree there...

This is ONLY my experience, but as i said before, having travelled around europe a lot, i have NEVER met ANYONE who described themselves as european - if you have, fair enough.

As for a european "identity" and/or "ideal", ive never heard anyone else in europe talk about this, so i'd be interested to hear exactly what that involves? Just so i know what i'm striving for...but Im hugely confused here - you say we're trying to achieve it, then say you don't know if "it" exists -so what is it? And how can i strive for it if it doesnt exist?
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Ceit
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Joined: 08 Jul 2005
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PostPosted: 17-Nov-05 21:33  Reply with quote

player1 wrote:

As for a european "identity" and/or "ideal", ive never heard anyone else in europe talk about this


So you've never listened to any European politicians? Laughing Not that that's a bad thing. I actually heard a Spanish politician say that the European Union will make it impossible for members to declare war on each other because they will be "one". What, there's no such thing as civil war anymore?? Personally, I think this is the biggest stumbling block for the EU. Oh, sure, it's supposed to be just an economic and political union (which is scary enough for some people), but there's always the specter of history and culture being swept away and forgotten in the process of making, er, a United States of Europe. It scares and irritates people, and with good reason in my opinion. Maybe that's the biggest difference between Americans and (ahem) Europeans: America is many cultures mushed together into one, more or less, while Europe is many cultures separated into territories. And I'm not saying one is better than the other or anything like that, but I think it is worth pointing out a major difference. (cultural? social? psychological?...whatever) By the way, I've never heard anybody automatically describe themselves as European either. I think it depends on how you phrase the question-"Are you European?" "Do you live in Europe?" "Are you European or Eurasian?" Most people identify themselves by country, although some prefer to identify themselves by region/state/province or even by city.

Oh, and just one other thing:
player1 wrote:
Well, South America is actually a continent too - which Mexico is a part of

Actually, we North Americans consider Mexico to be geographically part of North America. In fact, North America ends with Panama. South Americans claim Mexico as their own, since culturally it is all Latin America, but whenever I've heard any Colombian, Chilean or Argentinian say it, nearby Mexicans harrumph and take offense. Laughing
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bella italiana
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Joined: 08 May 2005
Posts: 21
Location: florida, united states

PostPosted: 17-Nov-05 23:00  Reply with quote

I am born and raised in the states and let me tell you how things generally are here. I agree with Player1. As far as how Americans are considered. Let me help be a little more specific though.

We are not really "one language". English is our primary language here, true. But depending on where you are, like I live in Florida, Spanish seems to be more predominant then English more and more each day. Alot of jobs will not hire people nowadays if they are not bi-lingual. Which I think is wrong. Because the Spanish population is so overwhelming.

You have "African/Americans" which is a totally different culture and mindset unto itself. They are often mixed from different heritages in Africa, Nigeria, etc. Their way of dress, manners, culture (especially)and sometimes religious beliefs can be totally different.

You have the Asian/Americans. Again another group unto itself with its cutlture and language. Even their own sections of town in some cities (by their own chosing, not like it is segregated, they prefer to make their own communities.)

You have the Italian communities ( Very Happy ) like mine. We are some of the few groups from Europe to come here and keep our religion, our language, our manners, culture, rich heritage. Italians here are very proud of where they came from as a whole, most just left for a more economical life. You can make more money here. Its true.

The Germans and British that come here are another group that I have noticed keep their traditions and language as well.

My fiance is Czech (born and raised here) but his family is from the Czech Republic and moved here. Most of the Czechs I have encountered here do not speak their language much anymore unless they go back to the CZ for a visit with family and friends. They have lost alot of their traditions and who they are and embraced the "American" way as to say. I think it is sad to forget where you come from no matter where you are right now.If you are from a certain country, be proud of it no matter what. I have not encountered anyone as of yet that has called themself a "European" as much as I have met those who say they are from a certain country. Europe is a contient. But people are people from all walks of life. So keep walking and be proud!!! Do not worry about the generalizations, be specific when talking to someone about who you are and where you come from, be proud of it no matter where it is!!
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player1
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PostPosted: 17-Nov-05 23:49  Reply with quote

Ceit wrote:
Oh, and just one other thing:
player1 wrote:
Well, South America is actually a continent too - which Mexico is a part of

Actually, we North Americans consider Mexico to be geographically part of North America. In fact, North America ends with Panama. South Americans claim Mexico as their own, since culturally it is all Latin America, but whenever I've heard any Colombian, Chilean or Argentinian say it, nearby Mexicans harrumph and take offense. Laughing


Guess that told me.... Embarassed

But it proves my point about people who dont know about places making generalisations!

BUT.....


Last edited by player1 on 17-Nov-05 23:51; edited 1 time in total
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player1
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PostPosted: 17-Nov-05 23:51  Reply with quote

Ceit wrote:
America is many cultures mushed together into one, more or less, while Europe is many cultures separated into territories.


Nail on head. Cant add anything to that!
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debianita
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Joined: 12 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: 12-Dec-05 3:12  Reply with quote

Quote:
Actually, we North Americans consider Mexico to be geographically part of North America. In fact, North America ends with Panama. South Americans claim Mexico as their own, since culturally it is all Latin America,


I'm from Argentina. I agree with you on the Latin America part, but as far as I was taught at school, the american continent is divided into 4 parts: South America, Central America, North America and the Caribbean. Panama is part of Central America. North America is only comprised by Canada, USA and Mexico.
Coming back to the subject of this thread I can say that even though all the Latin American countries share the same language and they were all under the Spanish domination for several years (with the exception of Brazil), there are many cultural differences among them. Despite of that, there's a stereotype called "latin american people" which in my opinion isn't incorrect. I think the same thing might apply to being "european", but I really don't know. I'm sure that the cultural differences are bigger among european countries then those among latin american countries.
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