(Un)Making Europe: Capitalism, Solidarities, Subjectivities

13th ESA Conference | Athens | 29.08.2017 – 01.09.2017

Europe can be made or unmade, and this is especially true since the ‘Great Recession’ of 2008. European society, and even the very idea of Europe, is under threat.

First, the inherent contradictions of capitalism are obviously stronger than we thought: Greece, where the emphatic idea of “Europe” originated, has experienced severe austerity measures; Europe has seen a deepening of neo-liberal politics, threats to what remains of the welfare state and increasing inequality. Second, solidarities are fragmented in and between societies across Europe. The new world economic crisis formed a context for both the constitution and the undermining of solidarities. On the one hand, from the Arab Uprisings to the various Occupy and Indignados movements – and their manifestations at the level of political parties – we have seen rebellions by citizens demanding political change. On the other hand, refugees fleeing wars have been denied human rights and their lives have been threatened by the closure of borders and the lack of a coordinated European strategy. Third, subjectivities are formed that do not only result in resistance and protest, but also in apathy, despair, depression, and anxiety. Authoritarianism, nationalism, racism, xenophobia, right-wing extremism, spirals of violence, and ideological fundamentalisms have proliferated throughout the world, including in Europe.

Conference website: http://esa13thconference.eu