Date of Graduation

Spring 5-21-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)


College of Arts and Sciences


International Studies

First Advisor

Keally McBride

Second Advisor

Olivier Bercault


The fundamental purpose of my thesis is to consider the ongoing formation of European identity within the context of the contemporary refugee/migrant crisis in Europe. In doing so, I will briefly survey how a European identity has been conceived and constructed through legal documents, treaties, and political speeches. Moreover, I will use different theories such as Anderson’s imagined communities to consider whether European identity is post-modern and post-national as it is sometimes celebrated to be. The EU is frequently regarded as a unique experiment in history and the first real post-modern political entity. However, looking deeper into the identity construction process, it does not seem to reflect a post-national construction but rather an identity often constructed on national and primordial resources, making the EU more supranational than a post-national entity. This is particularly true in relation to the refugee crisis which has been framed as a threat to European identity and culture. The role of borders, the Mediterranean Sea, and fortress Europe are critical terms I will analyze to consider the refugee crisis case study. Refugees have become the “other” or the “enemy” in contrast to the “Europeans.” Migrants are seen as a threat to one’s culture and identity, but if the European identity is still evolving and not clearly defined, how can migrants pose a threat to it? The migrant crisis provides the context that clearly demonstrates the contradictions and paradox inside the idea of a European identity.