5th Interim Conference: Fragile Europe

Application Deadline

The European Union continues to face great challenges that strike at the heart of its existence. We see the rise of populist parties across the continent, in combination with the increased visibility of a conservative backlash against the ‘post-modern’, secular, and pluralist project of European integration. Such tendencies indicate a significant swing to the right in European politics. They are not unrelated to the complexities of on-going migration, as well as the continuously negative impact of the financial and economic crises and permanent austerity.

The research network on Political Sociology (RN32) of the European Sociological Association provides a place for interdisciplinary debate on the ongoing challenges that Europe and the European integration project are facing. The research network puts strong emphasis on a much needed and renewing sociological perspective on European issues and stimulates interdisciplinary reflection and research on current challenges. The fifth mid-term conference organized by the research network aims at continuing in-depth discussions by scholars from a variety of backgrounds on innovative research. A political-sociological perspective can provide significant insights for understanding the multiple forms of crises shaping European societies that are underlined by the perennial gap between people and political institutions, and equally the struggle between societal and economic actors. Major developments in Europe (Brexit, the Catalonian independence movement, populism and illiberalism, uneven economic recovery with gendered, racialized and class implications and significant youth unemployment) call for an interdisciplinary analysis of the interaction and linkages between civil society, political institutions, and economic and legal actors.

The 5th ESA RN-32 mid-term conference aims to gather researchers working from within a European political-sociological perspective.  We particularly welcome proposals for individual papers and panels dealing with the following – interrelated themes:

Populism. Populist movements and parties, preponderantly if not exclusively on the right of the political spectrum, are increasingly visible throughout Europe, and in some instances are playing an important role in government. To what extent populism poses a threat to the existing democratic systems (including the EU), and to what does it provide an opportunity to innovate or renovate democracy?

Feminist/sexualities projects and backlash. Conflicting tendencies are visible in Europe regarding issues of gender equality and LGBT rights. The #MeToo campaign is pushing for a timely redefinition of the position of women in society, while the equal marriage rights and trans-rights movements challenge established social hierarchies and press for new legal frameworks. At the same time a conservative backlash is gathering pace in various European societies (e.g. Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, UK) pushing against expanding women’s rights on such issues as abortion or violence against women, and LGBT rights for more inclusive definitions of marriage.

(Transnational) social movements, austerity, and human rights. The multiple European crises have seen various attempts by civil society – at both national and transnational level – to mitigate the effects of the economic, social, and political crises for the most vulnerable groups, as well as a range of society-wide mobilizations to bring about alternative policies and institutions. This theme also focuses on the complex interaction between established national and European political actors and civil society.

Migration. The significant migration movements that have the European continent as their terminus have had a major impact on politics and the policy stance of political parties. Calls for regulating and reducing migration flows, even closing borders, and diminishing access to (social) rights are becoming more and more common across Europe, and inform strong tensions within the EU. How do different sorts of political actors respond to these challenges?

We invite the following types of contributions:

Panel proposals containing abstract (max. 300 words); title and keywords; chair, discussant and a maximum of 4 abstracts (max. 300 words; title and keywords; author(s)). Important: please indicate a maximum of two themes that the proposed panel is closest to.
Paper presentation proposals containing abstract (max. 300 words; title and keywords; author(s)). Important: please indicate a maximum of two of the above themes that the proposed paper lies closest to.

Proposals are to be submitted online: europeanpoliticalsociology.wordpress.com/submission

or, alternatively, to be send to: paulus.blokker@fsv.cuni.cz, not later than 30 April, 2018.

Scientific Committee:

Paul Blokker (Charles University), Pauline Cullen (Maynooth University), Alberta Giorgi (University of Bergamo), Virginie Guiraudon (Sciences Po), Cristina Marchetti (University of Roma Sapienza), Oscar Mazzoleni (University of Lausanne), Ov Cristian Norocel (Université libre de Bruxelles), Carlo Ruzza (University of Trento), Gabriella Szabó (Hungarian Academy of Sciences/Centre for Social Sciences), Hans-Joerg Trenz (University of Copenhagen), Alban Versailles (Université catholique de Louvain).

Organizing Committee:

Paul Blokker (Charles University), Ondrej Cisar (Charles University), Dino Numerato (Charles University), Yuliya Moskvina (Charles University), Petra Honová (Charles University), Kristian Sram (Charles University).

Deadline Submission Papers:      30 April, 2018

Deadline notification:                     15 June, 2018

Deadline registration:                     1 September, 2018

Conference dates:                           2 – 3 November, 2018