September 23rd - 25th, 2022 in Athens, Greece
Hellenic American University announces the 3rd International Europe in Discourse Conference, which will take place in Athens, Greece, September 23 – 25, 2022. The theme of this year’s conference is Tracing Identity through Values, History, and Borders.
Launched in 2016, Europe in Discourse is an interdisciplinary project that brings together faculty, students, researchers, early-career scholars, and professionals to explore what is unique about Europe and why understanding what makes up “Europeanness” matters.
EID III re-opens the conversation developed in the previous two conferences about the future of Europe and its identity. As was the case in 2016 and 2018, discourse provides an analytical tool to diagnose the multiple constructions of Europe across contexts, texts, institutional or other.
This third Conference also remains faithful to the conviction that there should be a dialogue between those who talk about Europe and analyze it and those who “do” Europe and shape it. We, therefore, invite researchers, early-career scholars, professionals, policy-makers political analysts, historians, economists from a variety of fields to engage with the conference themes and submit a contribution along the formats of the Conference.
Tracing Identity through Values, History, and Borders foregrounds values as an ever-present dimension of European identity. If, in Europe, governing presupposes the mobilization of values, tracing these core values will help us better understand European identity. At the same time, the political mobilization of values has created tensions around what Europeanness means and how competing values find a place in the European sphere.
This, in turn, raises a series of other questions. Does Europe exert normative power? Does it resort to values simply as functional tools for policymaking or promote them as political paradigms? Which values have been historically mobilized to pull Europeans together and shape how others perceive Europe (Europeanization)? How current are the values of the Treaty of Lisbon? Is European defined by what it is or by what it is not? Can Europe rely only on soft power to increase its relevance?
Values however cannot be stripped from history as they are clearly expressed in social and historical change and transformed through such change. Enlargement, to cite one example, is more than a milestone in history; it is an on-going process that implies not only the adoption of European legislation but also the subscription to a set of values. Values repeatedly form the backdrop against which a call to legitimization of European action is played out.
Finally, the topic of borders invites us to consider European identity spatially. This has often been framed in terms of state territorialities but there have been calls for a renewed approach with a spatial demarcation of Europe that is less “hard”. While the European Union as an institutional space of policymaking is associated with borders, Europeanness does not necessarily imply a spatial mark. It is not identified with a specific location but draws more on a collective archive of values. In the post-Lisbon treaty era, therefore, Europe and the European Union must balance the need for “hard” borders where it enacts policy and the recognition that a values-based European Union may require “soft” bordering.
These three dimensions are informing current debates about European identity and raise important questions. Can the often powerful ties between Euroscepticism and populism derail the project of European integration? How transformative has Brexit been for the European Union? What are the diverse values that each nation-state contributes to the European Union and how are these values discursively reflected? How aligned are the imagined and experienced Europe (Kryzanowski 2019) particularly after Brexit?
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