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The Whole and the Parts: The Demands of ‘Unity in Diversity’

2017 / No. 1-2
Digital Edition

The Whole and the Parts: The Demands of ‘Unity in Diversity’

Dimitris N. Chryssochoou

Professor of Theory and Institutions of European Integration, Panteion University, Greece,
and Honorary University Fellow, College of Social Sciences and International Studies, University of Exeter, UK

How does the current state of union accommodate the concurrent demands for unity and diversity? What kind of theorizing can grasp this dialectic and, with it, a general view of the whole? The essay revisits the concept of ‘organized synarchy’ and argues that Europe has brought about an advanced system of ordered symbiosis among codetermined units which is not about their subordination to a superior centre, but rather about their preservation as distinctive but constituent units; it is about a common association retaining its essential character as an ordered plurality.

* An earlier version has been presented at the ARENA Centre for European Studies on 29 August 2017 in Oslo, leading to ARENA Working Paper 04/18. My warmest thanks to Professor Erik Oddvar Eriksen, Director of the ARENA Centre for European Studies, for the kind invitation and permission to reproduce from the Working Paper, and to seminar participants for reflective comments. Earlier versions have also been presented at audiences in Catania, Mytilene, Athens and Geneva. I am equally grateful to their reflections, as I am to Andreas Gofas, Georgios L. Evangelopoulos, Kostas A. Lavdas, Argyris Passas and Michael J. Tsinisizelis for constructive intellectual encounters over the years. The essay is dedicated to the memory of Professor Dimitris Th. Tsatsos (1933-2010), whose intellectual insights have furthered the cause of democratic symbiosis within what he conceptualized as a ‘European Sympolity’.