European Values and the Wider World
What are the ‘European values’ that we hear about so often? What are the links between European values and identity, belonging and citizenship?
Current debates about these values display the frailty of their very notion. Both advocates and adversaries of the European Union invoke these values and step forward as their true representatives, just as much as left-wing, right-wing and populist politicians. The lecture series invites experts and scholars to discuss and reflect on the questions raised by the controversial issue of European values.
Following two series in 2020 (to be revisited here), this third series ‘European Values and the Wider World’ presents three sessions focusing on the meaning of citizenship and belonging in Europe’s relationships across the globe and within global trends.
Tribalization of Europe in the World
webinar on 28 April 2021
Tribalization is a global megatrend in today’s world. The election of Donald Trump, the Brexit vote, populist movements like Catalan separatism – together with democratic backsliding in Central and Eastern Europe – are all examples of tribalization. Fuelled by anti-globalism and identity politics, tribalization is drawing up the drawbridge to the world. It is putting cultural differences before dialogue, collaboration and universal liberal values.But tribalism is a dangerous road to go down. With it, argues Marlene Wind, we have put democracy itself in danger. Tribalism is not just about being pro-nation, anti-EU and anti-global. It is in many instances a bigger and more fundamental movement that casts aside the liberal democratic principles we once held in common.
At a time when former defenders of liberal values are increasingly silent or have even joined the growing chorus of tribalists, Wind highlights the dangers of identity politics and calls on people to stand up for democracy and the rule of law.
Citizenship Regimes in Europe and Beyond
webinar on 5 May 2021
Jo Shaw explores the value of citizenship in a post-pandemic Europe. How can a constitutional perspective on citizenship provide some of the normative foundations for ‘building back better’ and developing solidarity in the post-pandemic world? Her talk focusses on showing how the pandemic has shifted the meanings of certain social behaviours (such as wearing face coverings), questioning how this insight into the paradoxical nature of ideas of citizenship can be applied to thinking about a post-pandemic citizenship.
Colonialism Shaping European Citizenship
webinar on 12 May 2021
Keynote lecture by Gurminder K. Bhambra
European social theory tends to define ‘modernity’ both as the realization of freedom and, in Habermas’s terms, as ‘an unfinished project’. The colonial constitution of modernity is displaced from such considerations and those who were dispossessed and made subordinate in the process are seen to have no place from which to participate in the development of freedom in their own right. Rather than seeing modernity as the unfinished project, in this talk I follow Nelson Maldonado-Torres who has rather highlighted the unfinished project of decolonization. Europe, I suggest, is in urgent need of decolonization and this can only happen by taking its colonial histories seriously and explicitly working through their contemporary manifestations. The injustices which disfigure the world we share in common can only be addressed through acknowledging the histories that have produced them as well as the historiographies that have obscured them. We need to give up a commitment to European values as defining European history in favour of redressing the identified wrongs of the past through a commitment to epistemological justice and to material reparations.
Gurminder K. Bhambra is Professor of Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies in the School of Global Studies, University of Sussex. She is a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA), elected in 2020.
Previously, she was Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick and also Guest Professor of Sociology and History at the ‘Centre for Concurrences’ in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, Linnaeus University, Sweden (2016-18). In March 2017, she was Visiting Professor at EHESS, Paris; for the academic year 2014-15, she was Visiting Fellow in the Department of Sociology, Princeton University and Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. She has also held a Visiting Position at the Department of Sociology, University of Brasilia, Brazil and is affiliated with REMESO, Linköping University, Sweden.
Her first monograph, Rethinking Modernity: Postcolonialism and the Sociological Imagination (Palgrave, 2007), won the 2008 Philip Abrams Memorial Prize for best first book in sociology. It addressed how, within sociological understandings of modernity, the experiences and claims of non-European ‘others’ have been rendered invisible to the standard narratives and analytical frameworks of sociology. In challenging the dominant, Eurocentred accounts of the emergence and development of modernity, she has put forward an argument for the recognition of ‘connected histories’ in the reconstruction of historical sociology at a global level. This argument for a global historical sociology can be found in her second book, Connected Sociologies (Bloomsbury, 2014), which is open access and free to read at this link.
She has co-edited five collections, the most recent being Decolonising the University (with Dalia Gebrial and Kerem Nisancioglu, Pluto Press, 2018).
Her current projects are on epistemological justice and reparations and on the political economy of race and colonialism. She is working on a project on States, Empires, Taxation with Julia McClure. Her next book Colonialism and Modern Social Theory with John Holmwood is forthcoming (Polity, July 2021)