Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


A good European is a neo-liberal

Flexible, competitive, efficient, well-educated, good at languages, perpetually studying, and employable. These neo-liberal ideals distinguish a good European, according the EU Commission, whose documents have been studied at Linköping University in Sweden.

From the outset the EC/EU has tried to identify what constitutes a European identity. Cultural symbols like the flag and the anthem were established in order to strengthen this identity. Characteristics like a penchant for democracy and human rights are regarded as typical of EU citizens.

But in recent years what has come more and more to dominate descriptions of a good EU citizen are geographic and professional flexibility, openness to life-long learning, and greater competitiveness.

In her dissertation in political science, being submitted at Linköping University, Jonna Johansson identifies these characteristics as neo-liberal, prompted by the needs of the globalized market. She has studied the ideal picture of the EU citizen that is conveyed by official EU documents.

"The reasoning is that Europe can't compete with cheap labor," she explains. "Instead the EU speaks in terms of the knowledge-based society and life-long learning. European labor must be well-educated and competitive in order to assert itself in a global market."

In 2001 the Lisbon Strategy was adopted, with the objective of making the EU a knowledge-based society and the world's most competitive economy. That represented a change in direction, according to Jonna Johansson.

"With the Lisbon Strategy, the social dimension of the EU was toned down. Now the stress is on the personal responsibility of the individual. Solidarity means today that you take the responsibility for your own employability and do not become a burden to society. The welfare system is being dismantled in EU countries."

There is one exception, however: higher education. Universities take on a more central role in the EU when the ideal is life-long learning, flexibility, and well-educated citizens. This is why funding for universities has not declined. On the other hand, new demands are being made of them, resulting from the dominance of neo-liberal ideology. They are no longer expected to provide education in general but rather knowledge that is competitive on the market. The universities' relations are also becoming more market-driven, and they are being run more and more like enterprises. Both national governments and the EU are pressuring the universities to strengthen their connections with the business world.

"In the past students saw education as a way of bettering themselves," writes Jonna Johansson. "Today they want knowledge that will make it easier for them to get a job, rather than to develop personally." Students choose universities more on the basis of what they represent and what reputation they have than on what education they can provide.

Dissertation: Learning to be(come) a good European.

Jonna Johansson can be reached at phone: +46 (0)13-282508 or +46 (0)13-310513; e-mail:

Pressofficer Anika Agebjörn;; +46-709 79 13 34

Anika Agebjörn | idw
Further information:

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Illinois researchers researchers find tweeting in cities lower than expected
21.02.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht Polluted air may pollute our morality
08.02.2018 | Association for Psychological Science

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Development and Fast Analysis of 3D Printed HF Components

19.03.2018 | Trade Fair News

In monogamous species, a compatible partner is more important than an ornamented one

19.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Signaling Pathways to the Nucleus

19.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>