Call for Papers
European Integration or Disintegration?
Causes and Origins of the Crises in Southern Europe
14th History of European Integration Research Society (HEIRS) Conference
Rome, 20-21 April 2018
Deadline for abstract submission: 01 December 2017
Most of the last decade saw Europe having to grapple with a string of crises that emphasised a multitude of existing cleavages within and among the European Union’s member states. The multiple pan-European financial, economic, political and humanitarian crises have arguably had more substantial developments and consequences in Southern Europe than in the North, with a revival of the division between the South and the North occurring in addition to the traditional East-West divide of Europe (i.e. Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Malta and Cyprus).
This internal division has its origins in the 1970s and 1980s, when a number of these new democratic regimes became members of the European Community, as part of the broad liberal ideal of making the European continent a mainstay for democracy, human rights and economic growth. The shortcomings of this ambitious agenda became manifest after the sovereign debt crisis, exacerbating many of the cleavages that had largely been ignored, but not resolved.
Firstly, as the financial and sovereign debt crises have been unfolding over the last eight to nine years, countries such as Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece have implemented substantial austerity packages enforced by the so-called ‘Troika’, putting a serious strain on their public spending and the living standards of their citizens. Levels of unemployment have increased sharply, especially among the young, many of whom have been compelled to search for jobs and opportunities abroad, mostly in northern European countries. By now, the most affected countries, despite divergent outcomes, have been experiencing a modest and slow economic recovery.
Secondly, the economic crunch led to a crisis of the traditional political elites in these countries, as reflected by the rise and electoral success of new anti-establishment parties, such as Syriza and Golden Dawn (Greece), Podemos (Spain), the Five-Star Movement (Italy) or the Left Bloc (Portugal). At the same time, the neoliberal and arguably less-than-democratic modi operandi of the EU have clearly challenged its perceived legitimacy among European citizens. For instance, some institutions – such as the European Central Bank or the Eurogroup – proved not to be particularly accountable despite their growing influence. That loss of legitimacy has occurred in Southern, Eastern and Northern member states alike as the levels of euroscepticism have increased significantly over the last few years across the Union.
Finally, Mediterranean countries have also been at the forefront of dealing - largely on their own - with the migration crisis of people fleeing from escalating conflicts in the Middle East and Africa. The EU’s apparent failure to provide an adequately coherent and unitary response to this humanitarian crisis not only entailed a disproportionate burden on Southern member states, particularly Greece and Italy, but further undermined the internal unity and perceived legitimacy of the EU.
In such a context, while the European multiple crises arguably manifested themselves most strongly in the South, which remains a ‘periphery’ in relation to the Northern ‘core’, the ramifications of these crises could be traced throughout the continent. This turning point for the EU has been acknowledged and partly reinforced by the idea of a ‘multi-speed Europe’ recently put forward by ‘core’ member states such as France and Germany, and notably by the European Commission as one feasible scenario of the EU’s future.
Hence, discussing the origins, the character and development of these crises has become an imperative for practitioners and scholars alike, placing historical research into a key position for furthering our understanding of the European crises and their various effects on Southern member states. Therefore, the present conference welcomes papers on any of the following topics and areas of interest, with a focus on contemporary historical research that covers the last decade and, at the same time, has a clear European dimension that embeds the research in the wider European context outlined above:
- The transition of Southern European regimes to democracy and their accession to the European Community,
- Economic historical research on causes and origins of the sovereign debt crises in Southern Europe since the 1980s,
- History of the politics of austerity and their impact on the citizens of Southern Europe, including studies on the austerity’s impacts and roots in demography, ethnicity, labour and class, gender, the family and urban/rural divides,
- The roots of the crisis of political establishment in Europe’s South,
- Historic origins of the emergence and proliferation of the new anti-establishment social movements and political parties in Europe’s South,
- The relation(s) between Southern anti-establishment social movements and political parties and their counterparts (if any) in Northern member states
- The experience of the migration crisis in Mediterranean countries,
- The influence of the Southern European-based crises on the unity, legitimacy and/or popularity of the European Union in historical and comparative contexts,
- Historiographies of researching Europe’s South and its crises from comparative perspectives: How can we historians understand and methodologically approach contemporary, on-going crises and political, economic, social and cultural divides within the EU?
The History of European Integration Research Society (HEIRS) is a postgraduate student network. HEIRS aims at fostering the collaboration and interaction of postgraduate researchers across Europe with an interest in European integration history. This conference will bring together PhD students from various disciplines to discuss their work in a number of panels. In addition, there will be keynote lectures and speakers will be available for in-depth discussions.
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Η εκλογο-απολογιστική Γενική Συνέλευση (ΓΣ) της Ελληνικής Εταιρείας Πολιτικής Επιστήμης (ΕΕΠΕ) έχει προγραμματιστεί για την Τρίτη 17 Μαΐου 2016 και ώρα 18:00 στην Αιόλου 42-44, Αθήνα (2ος όροφος). Σε περίπτωση μη απαρτίας, η ΓΣ θα πραγματοποιηθεί την Τρίτη 24 Μαΐου 2016, την ίδια ώρα και στον ίδιο τόπο. Η Ημερήσια Διάταξη περιλαμβάνει:
- Απολογισμός πεπραγμένων
- Οικονομικός απολογισμός
- Εκλογή νέου ΔΣ της ΕΕΠΕ