The Rhineland region includes the core regional economy of western Europe, encompassing Belgium, Luxemburg and parts of the Netherlands, France, Switzerland and Germany. Throughout history there have been tensions between this region's roles as a frontier and as western Europe's economic core. Michael Loriaux argues that the European Union arose from efforts to deconstruct this frontier. He traces Rhineland geopolitics back to its first emergence, restoring frontier deconstruction to the forefront of discussion about the EU. He recounts how place names were manipulated to legitimate political power and shows how this manipulation generated the geopolitics that the EU now tries to undo. Loriaux also argues that the importance of this issue has significantly affected the nature of the EU's development and helps condition a festering legitimation crisis.
Michael Loriaux is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Northwestern University. He studies European unification from the perspectives of political economy and critical theory. His books include France After Hegemony: International Change and Financial Reform (Cornell University Press, 1991) and Capital Ungoverned (co-authored, Cornell University Press, 1997). European Union and the Deconstruction of the Rhineland Frontier won the Charles Taylor Prize for best book of political interpretation. Professor Loriaux's current book project is entitled 'European Union and the Aesthetics of Power'.
1. Myth and geopolitics of the Rhineland frontier; 2. Trans Rhenum incolunt: the inauguration of the Rhineland frontier; 3. A 'principality of priests': the inauguration of Europe; 4. Anonymity and prosperity; 5. The great antecedent cracking; 6. Coups de force: Ossian and the departement; 7. Wacht am Rhein: the Ossianic fracture of Rhineland space; 8. Carolingian discourse and Rhineland pacification; 9. Spatial representation and the political imagination.