By Katrin Sieg (auth.)
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Against political invocations of a common cultural heritage, these texts reveal inequalities, hierarchies, and divisions along the axes of gender, race, and class. The labor of grieving, remembering, nay saying, and provoking that these works perform and invite resists the transnational pedagogy of neoliberal political and economist discourses that seek to reform a European subject responsive to the hail of global capital. Instead, these artists say that this is how we were and do not want to be again; this is what would happen if we indeed became what we supposedly already are.
Even the creation of the European Parliament, Council, and Commission fell short of submitting the process of economic integration, liberalization, and deregulation to political control. These institutions were primarily concerned with economic rather than political integration until well into the 1990s. The lack of transparency and popular participation in decision-making processes prompted the perception of a “democratic deficit” (Shore 2000, 3). The three films I discuss in this chapter stage key contradictions in the discourse of European integration.
According to the dictates of comedy, that balance threatens to careen dangerously out of control as the pace of capitalist penetration accelerates, illustrated by the proliferation of Coca-Cola plants on the world map in McNamara’s office. 22 The danger of democracy’s unraveling arises from the powerful, antagonistic forces at work in its own delicately balanced psychic economy. If either consumerism or corporate discipline gains the upper hand in that precarious equilibrium, consumerism threatens to accelerate into hedonism and the indiscriminate dispersal of wealth—or discipline threatens to turn into full-blown dictatorial authoritarianism.