Transnational Infrastructures of Europe (TIE) project

Transnational Infrastructures of Europe (TIE) project

Duration Start
01.12.2002
Project owner / organizer
Technical University of Eindhoven, History of Technology, Department of Technology Management
City
Eindhoven
Country
Netherlands
Project contact
Vincent Lagendijk (Ph.D Candidate) Technical University Eindhoven History of Technology Department of Technology Management IPO 2.02 PO BOX 513 5600 MB eindhoven The Netherlands +31 (0) 40-2473461 v.c.lagendijk@tm.tue.nl
Url (announcement)
By
Lagendijk, Vincent

The construction of the European Union represents the most profound development in European politics and society in the twentieth century. The dominant image of this topic is one of inspired leaders and competitive nation states engaged in the critical adventure of designing a new Europe, a process that started in the late 1920s, but got momentum after the Second World War. This literature assumes that “Europe” (as a political and cultural entity) was created through the building of economic and political institutions. This view has been criticized by those who observe there is little historical evidence that nation-states and national identities in Europe can be incorporated or subsumed within any larger structure. They maintain that key elements for forming a European state and identity, such as political legitimacy, a shared language, symbols, and a sense of history and memory are missing.[1]
Both of these perspectives on the ‘project of Europe’ are too narrow and incomplete since they do not incorporate how transnational infrastructures -- the material links between nation states that took form through railroad, highway, energy, and telecommunication networks -- have shaped the boundaries and internal structure of Europe. The building and use of transnational infrastructures created material and institutional links between European nation-states, and the resulting circulation of goods, information, services, and people brought about many sort of ties among European nation-states. All this took place long before there was an explicit project of creating Europe. This research proposal will focus on construction and use of these transnational infrastructures, and in doing so adopts a new starting point for viewing the historical development and present dynamics of Europe. This will make visible to what extent a “hidden integration” is taking place.[2]
This project suggests that important fragments of an emerging European society and identity are embedded in transnational material infrastructures - the wires, pipes, cables, highways, railroads, and information networks that span political borders and connect national infrastructures. The overall research question is: How did the construction and use of multiple new transnational infrastructures -- for example, railroads, highways, electricity lines, pipelines, telegraphs, telephone and radio networks -- shape the emergence of Europe in the 20th century?
The approach is characterized by four strategies: 1) it has a research focus on transnational infrastructures; 2) it explicitly considers long-term developments; 3) it views Europe as an "imagined community"; and 4) it includes users of transnational infrastructures as active participants in the creation of Europe in the 20th century and by doing so introduces the concept of an "living community".

The TIE project consists of four PhD-students each looking at a specific infrastructure, two senior researchers studying the cultural appropriation and the use of European infrastructures, a project aiming at writing a synthetic monograph, and a common database.

[1] Alan S. Milward, The European Rescue of the Nation-state (Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1992); Anthony D. Smith, 'National identity and the idea of European unity', International Affairs, Vol. 68, no. 1 (1992); Cris Shore, Building Europe. The Cultural Politics of European Integration (London and New York, 2000).
[2] Alan S. Milward, The European Rescue of the Nation-state (Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1992); Anthony D. Smith, 'National identity and the idea of European unity', International Affairs, Vol. 68, no. 1 (1992); Cris Shore, Building Europe. The Cultural Politics of European Integration (London and New York, 2000).

Contact (announcement)

Vincent Lagendijk (Ph.D Candidate)
Technical University Eindhoven
History of Technology
Department of Technology Management
IPO 2.02
PO BOX 513
5600 MB eindhoven
The Netherlands
+31 (0) 40-2473461
v.c.lagendijk@tm.tue.nl

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Published on
15.04.2005
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