Europe Un-Imagined examines one of the world’s first and only trans nationally produced television channels, Association relative à la télévision européenne (ARTE). ARTE calls itself the "European culture channel" and was launched in 1991 with a French-German intergovernmental mandate to produce television and other media that promoted pan-European community and culture.
Damien Stankiewicz’s ground-breaking ethnographic study of the various contexts of media production work at ARTE (the newsroom, the editing studio, the screening room), reveals how ideas about French, German, and European culture coalesce and circulate at the channel. He argues that the reproduction of nationalism often goes unacknowledged and unremarked upon, and questions whether something like a European "imagination" can be produced. Stankiewicz describes the challenges that ARTE staff face, including rapidly changing media technologies and audiences, unreflective national stereotyping, and unwieldy bureaucratic infrastructure, which ultimately limit the channel’s abilities to cultivate a transnational, "European" public. Europe Un-Imagined challenges its readers to find new ways of thinking about how people belong in the world beyond the problematic logics of national categorization.