Interdisciplinary Perspectives on European Solidarity

June 24, 2019 - June 25, 2019
HSS, HSS

Bristol
United Kingdom

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University of the West of England

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20th-century European history can be understood as a progressive crisis and transformation of core institutions and ideas (such as democracy, the nation state, civil society) that continue shaping the framework of contemporary political life. The defining experiences of European transformation – World Wars, the Cold War, the collapse of Communist regimes, post-1989 – placed a theoretical and practical strain on well-established institutional and conceptual structures. Through-out these transformations, the search for new, or renewed, institutions and ideas defined the course of Europe, as an idea as well as a reality. 

Among those indispensable ideas belonging to the project of Europe is the concept of solidarity. Solidarity is not only the theoretical lynch-pin within the constellation of contemporary political concepts. It is equally central for political movements and the public discourse of European institutions. Recent events (Brexit, revived xenophobia, the immigration crisis), however, have further amplified the profound challenge in theoretically stabilizing the concept of solidarity as well as in mobilizing political and social movements in the name of solidarity. Despite various attempts by European institutions to foster solidarity, both legally (as stated in the “Solidarity Clause” of the Lisbon Treaty) and practically (with initiatives such as the European Solidarity Corps), a deficit of solidarity is becoming more and more apparent whenever Europe is faced with humanitarian and political crises which require an appeal to concrete solidarity. 

Given the increasing lack of mutual trust and apparent breakdown of solidarity across the European political spectrum, one might ask whether solidarity, understood as a moral, political, legal, and economic principle, is still imaginable within European borders. No political or religious principle of identity seems today to be capable of generating such a trust; no institution appears to foster the kind of solidarity required for such trust. 

Over the past decade, numerous scholars from a variety of disciplines that encompass moral and political philosophy and theory (Scholz 2008; Sangiovanni 2013; Wilde 2013; De Witte 2015; Kolers 2016; Grimmel and Mi Giang 2017), legal studies (Wolfrum and Kojima 2010; Biondi, Dagilytė, Küçük 2018), science and technology studies (Sharon 2016; Liboiron 2016; Hendrickx and Van Hoyweghen 2018), and migration studies and economics (Agustín and Bak Jorgensen 2018; Della Porta 2018) engaged the problem of solidarity and attempted a substantial redefinition of the meaning and practical implementation of solidarity in today’s reality. Whilst the majority of these analyses addressed the general idea of solidarity, some of them have Europe as their main research scope although they are not limited to it. 

Despite the abundance of bibliographic sources on this topic, there is a substantial lack of interdisciplinary investigations of solidarity, a gap this conference aims to fill. Which moral obligations and political agenda can foster the establishment of European solidarity? Does a ‘right to solidarity’ exist, and which legal validity and legitimate application could this right have? What is the meaning and impact of solidarity on EU people? We welcome abstracts that address the concept of solidarity using resources drawn from this multidisciplinary seam of investigations and analyses. Contributions that will fall within the following research clusters will be particularly welcome.

•Migration & Transnationalism

•Citizenship & the Public Sphere

•Social Justice & Development

•Vulnerability & Resilience

•Technology & Responsible Innovation

•Identities & Social Representations

•Agency and Policy

•Legality and Legitimacy

Please submit abstracts (max: 500 words) before 24th March 2019. Decisions of accepted papers will be communicated by 1st April. Abstracts as well as queries can be submitted to Francesco.Tava@uwe.ac.uk and Noelle.Quenivet@uwe.ac.uk.

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