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Europe: From Hope to Disaffection

On 2 July 2018 the British Academy and the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona co-hosted a seminar on "Europe: From Hope to Disaffection. A Mediterranean Perspective."

This is a time of charged sentiments towards Europe. The sentiments draw on tact and enduring assumptions of community and belonging that are poorly understood, yet pivotal in shaping public opinion. These assumptions are the spring-well of equally charged, though perhaps different, sentiments of Europe. Their nature, legacies and political purchase need to be made more explicit if we are to respectfully and diplomatically negotiate these varied effects.

Narratives of exclusion and contestations to the European project have been particularly forceful in the Mediterranean countries. In the Southern EU Member States, austerity measures, migration as well as the effects of globalisation have contributed to the polarisation of ideas and to feeding populist narratives.

The seminar explored these underlying dynamics and reflected on the European Union’s provision to the continent’s common framework of values and sense of identity. It examined the continent's relations with the Mediterranean and the thorny issues of Europe’s borders.

Session 1: The European Project and the Challenge of Disaffection

ChairAsh Amin, Vice-President and Foreign-Secretary of the British Academy


Nadia Urbinati, Professor of Political Theory and Hellenic Studies, Columbia University 
Nick Malkoutzis, Editor, MacroPolis
Jordi Vaquer, Regional Director for Europe, Open Society Foundation

Session 2: Governance and the Rise of Populism in Southern Europe

ChairNathalie Karagiannis, Researcher, Institute for Social Research, Frankfurt


Peter Wagner, Research Professor of Sociology, University of Barcelona
Eric Fassin, Professor of Sociology, Paris-8 University
Rosemary Bechler, Editor, Open Democracy

Session 3: Imaginaries of Europe. Rethinking Identity, Belonging and Sovereignty

ChairCamil Ungureanu, Associate Professor of Political Philosophy, Pompeu Fabra University


Carme Colomina, Associate Researcher, Barcelona Centre for International Affairs 
Iain Chambers, Professor of Cultural and Postcolonial Studies, University of Naples
Ali Benmakhlouf, Professor of Philosophy, University Paris-Est Créteil

Session 4: Europe and Its Borders. The Crisis of Hospitality

ChairMoussa Bourekba, Researcher, Barcelona Centre for International Affairs


Tatiana Thieme, Lecturer in Human Geography, University College London
Emanuela Fornari, Professor of Theoretical and Social Philosophy, Roma Tre University
Driss Ksikes, Writer and Journalist, Lecturer in Media and Culture, HEM Business School, Rabat