Identifying the European Other

Posted: 29 Feb 2008

See all articles by Ian Ward

Ian Ward

University of Newcastle upon Tyne - Faculty of Law

Date Written: April 2002


The refugee is not a peculiarly European phenomenon; but the European writing of the refugee is. The purpose of this essay is to explore this writing. The idea of the determinative subjective self, determined in relation to the `other`, is the essential philosophical construct of European modernity, triumphed from Descartes to Kant to Heidegger. In the first part of this essay, we will consider in greater depth this particular philosophical heritage. In the second part, we will place it within a particular historical and European framework. The situation of the `other` cannot be readily distinguished from that of the European polity of nation-states which accompanied the ideology of Enlightenment. In the third and final part, we will consider the extent to which the European Union continues to define itself in relation to the `other`, and does so by means of a particular jurisprudential definition.

Suggested Citation

Ward, Ian, Identifying the European Other (April 2002). International Journal of Refugee Law, Vol. 14, Issue 2 and 3, pp. 219-237, 2002. Available at SSRN:

Ian Ward (Contact Author)

University of Newcastle upon Tyne - Faculty of Law ( email )

21-24 Windsor Terrace
Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU
United Kingdom
+ 191 222 7620 (Phone)

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