Solving the Social Question in a Transnational Political Context
Queen's University Belfast, Ireland
The polis is the space in which to find a response to the social question in the form of a compromise. After discussing the concept of “change”, I argue that the current system is based on “humiliation” and explain why this is a problem for the political system. I discuss the potential of “empathy” to help overcome the problem of humiliation and thereby clear the path towards solution to the social question. Thus, this paper attempts to make sense of the observation that agent-led change is possible. It is, however, difficult to achieve because change requires a person or society to be ontologically secure. By contrast, ontologically insecure people will not become agents of change because they lack the ability to reflexively monitor their behaviour in constantly changing circumstances and, if necessary, change their behaviour. The ontologically insecure person experiences relationships as a threat and is feeling ‘vulnerable’ and ‘exposed’, and consequently may withdraw from the polis.
The experience of humiliation can give rise to two types of feelings: ‘fear’ and ‘anger’; both, as Nussbaum has argued, are hostile to democracy. Consequently, those who feel humiliated will turn to whoever is ‘alive to the politics of humiliation’ and offers to reinstate their dignity, whether that be Trump or those who propagate Brexit. To overcome the interconnected problems of “fear of change” and “humiliation”, I will introduce empathy – Einfühlung (‘feeling into’) – which seems to be increasingly absent from the political debate. This loss is a problem for political democracy. Only by taking part in the democratic process and developing empathy for those on the other side distinctions disappear and this enables genuine conversation with the other side. Moreover, empathy helps to address the problem of humiliation because it acknowledges that each life has an equal status, has dignity, which is central in building a ‘decent society’.
The Importance of the Demos in the European Democratic Deficit Debate
The Open University of Israel, Israel
The EU often faces criticism regarding the extent of its democracy, in what has become known as a ‘democratic deficit’.
This paper attempts to examine what sort of democracy, if at all, is feasible in the European Union considering its unique nature and its scope, defined by its policy portfolio and its approach to citizenship.
The research examines this question by focusing on the Brexit as a case-study in an attempt to explore the subject of democracy in the European Union from a new angle, based on the question of whether the European Union represents the citizens of the member states or the member states themselves.
This analysis will identify the approach of the European Union to citizenship and offer six models to European democracy based on the identity of the Demos in an attempt to explain what European Democracy will look like as a result of its scope.
The Divided Public: Dynamics and Heterogeneity of European Public Opinion
Maastricht University, Netherlands, The
Much of the work on the dynamics of European public opinion aims to explain differences in support for European integration by focusing on the individual-level factors that explain why some citizens are more or less favorable towards the EU. While early studies focused on understanding individual support for European integration, in the last decade scholarly interest has shifted to understanding opposition to the EU, or so-called Euroskepticism. This has given the impression that the European public massively rejects the EU project, which, however, is a notion that is not backed up by public opinion data. Far less attention has been paid to exploring the extent to which national publics are divided about the issue of EU integration. So far only few papers have tackled the question of public opinion polarization in Europe (Down and Wilson 2008), heterogeneity (Anderson 2005) and ambivalence (de Vries 2013, Stoeckel 2013). Our paper focuses on understanding whether and how national publics are more and more heterogeneous in their opinions over the EU and asks the following research questions: Which factors help us explain the extent of public disagreement over EU integration across countries? How has public opinion heterogeneity developed in Europe since the economic crisis in 2008? To do so, we rely on a Eurobarometer trend file containing data on both Eurozone original member states (1994-2010) and new member states (2004-2010). The results show that the degree of popular dissensus over EU integration varies significantly across countries, with high levels in UK, Austria, Croatia and Finland, and relatively low levels in Luxembourg, Netherlands and Ireland. Also it is shown that national dissensus has significantly increased as a consequence of the Great Recession and is mainly connected to levels of dissatisfaction with (EU and national) democracy and variations in party supply at the national-level.
Transnational Federalism And The Construction Of The European Polity.
Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain
In my presentation I will unearth the European federal tradition and trace the strength of its ideas and concepts throughout the history of European integration. The presentation will be divided in three parts. In the first part I will explain the origins of the federal ideas, meaning and stands; in the second part I will introduce the idea of a European federal polity in tis three more comprehensive visions, those of Altiero Spinelli Denis de Rougeont and Jean Monnet; finally, in the third part I will study the history of European integration from a federal perspective, that is, trying to analyze whether the European Commission, as the institution representing the European general interest and having the legislative initiative, was ever able to promote the concepts linked to the European federal tradition.
My purpose is to come up with a list of concepts and ideas linked to the idea of a federal Europe and show that the European nation-states have often avoided such concepts to be at the centre of the political ebate in Europe because they could bite their natioal sovereignty. The ideas and concepts linked to to the European federal tradition could provide hallmarks that could point the future evolution of European integration.
Places Of Memory In The European Integration Process
Adjunct Senior Research Fellow UCD
Places of memory in the European Integration Process
The history of the European integration process is often presented in dry narrative form. A more vivid way of looking at it is through its distinctive places of memory or “lieux de mémoire” , since the European Union has evolved in its present form thanks to a number of individual personalities as well as to decisions taken in a number of locations around Europe, including in non-EU states such as Switzerland.
The proposed paper is based in large part on my forthcoming book to the Landmark Sites of the European Union. It is aimed at students of European history and integration as well as concerned citizens, including the increasing number of visitors to the locations that are mentioned. The paper examines the significance of such places of memory.
It begins by looking at the locations most associated with the key historical personalities associated both with the founding and later development of the European integration process, especially those in the growing European Parliament network of European Political Houses and Foundations of Great Europeans. These include the houses not just of Monnet and Schuman, Adenauer and De Gasperi but also many others, such Count Coudenhove-Kalergi and more recent European historical figures, such as Brandt, Mitterrand, Soares, Havel and Geremek.
The paper also covers the main historic locations in the European integration process, primarily those where key decisions were taken concerning its future development, such as Paris, the Hague, Luxembourg and Strasbourg, Brussels, Messina and Rome, Maastricht, Amsterdam and Lisbon, but also other less familiar sites. These include the remote island of Ventotene where Spinelli and Rossi wrote the Federalist Manifesto and the field of Rutli above Lake Lucerne, birthplace not only of the Swiss Confederation but also the location for the first post-war meeting of the Union of European Federalists. A more specific theme concerns the locations associated with the fall of the Iron Curtain and the reunification of the European political space.
The paper also looks at the importance of European places of memory in the widest sense. While it concentrates on the post-war European integration process it also mentions some of the closely related places of memory associated with the First and Second World Wars and with the Holocaust and which did so much to inspire the ideal of European unity.