Conference Agenda

Panel 809: European society
Wednesday, 08/Sept/2021:
11:30am - 1:00pm

Session Chair: Claudia Gloazzo, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca


Between Rent-Seeking and Non-Problem. The Recognition of Depopulating Areas at EU Level as a Case-Study of Multilevel Coalition Building

Serafin Pazos-Vidal

Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), Belgium

Demographic decline or depopulation are issues that have had in recent years wide currency both at national level (“Empty Spain”, “Brain Drain” in Eastern Europe, “Shrinking Cities” in Eastern Germany, the “France oubliée” of the “Gillet Jaunes”) as well as at EU level itself, as shown by the appointment of a Commission Vice President for Democracy and Democracy. However, this diversity of approaches has a direct impact in the way EU decisions and policies are framed, or fail to do so.

The Regulation of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) 2021-2027 includes for the first time a definition of what is a territory affected by demographic decline (provinces or municipalities with less than 12.5 inhabitants per km2 or that have suffered an interannual demographic decline of more than 1% during 2007-2017) and thus subject to receiving priority ERDF funding in the new programming period.

Framing this definition an getting it framed into EU legislation is a case in point of the contingent and transactional nature of EU decisions. The inbuilt resistance to formally recognise areas facing structural decline in the very EU instrument that was precisely created to address them is also highly revealing of the prevalence of multilevel rent-seeking and competing ad hoc coalitions against the background of already established path dependencies and policy communities, both at EU and domestic levels.

The process that led to the recognition of such territories is also a case study of the very diverse domestic narratives to what Rodriguez-Pose et al. have branded the “places that don’t matter” and how this affects influencing EU decisions.

It was also very revealing on logic of collective action dynamics in that a small coalition of Spanish actors managed to exploit their available windows of opportunity within the EU institutional framework, but also the limits of securing lasting impact in EU decisions if coalitions are not sufficiently wide to secure utility maximisation across Member States.

Drawing from the Actor-Centered-Institutionalism paradigm and participant observation method this paper aims to provide a narrative on how this process came about and the limits of narrow coalitions aiming to influence EU decisions.

Social Capital Within The Public Sport Strategic Governance And Its Impact On Regional Development within the European Union framework

Sabine Rusmane

University of Latvia, Latvia

Sport is a social insitution that stems in a family circle, that allows to connect to a community and then further to a wider society. It turns into a social network with set norms and a particular level of trust and functionality that creates the social capital. It could be observed on a sport club, local, national, a particular sport or overall sport level of social engagement. Sport sector brings people and businesses together and involves and tightly ties it to various other economic sectors, as it efficiently impacts the economy by creating new growth and development opportunities for both sport-related and non-related businesses across regional and national borders. The role of sport is irreplacable within the spectre of national economic growth, as well as its regional development, and mostly it is the involvement of the sport sector stakeholders that sets the social capital theory efficiently in motion. The impact of social capital theory within various societies portrays itself differently, especially within the context of European Union, such as the Baltic States.

In this paper the author sets the objective to research and analyse the theoretical aspects of the social capital within the public sport strategic governance and its impact on regional development, as well as to carry out an overview comparative analysis of the three mentioned countries through the lense of social capital dimensions and perspectives and how it corresponds on regional level. To execute the set objective the following methods are going to be applied: content and comparative analysis method, synthasis and logical constructive analysis method.

The results of the research are going to be an overview analysis of the interconnection between the theoretical aspects of social capital within the public sport strategic governance and its impact on regional development, as well as the performed comparative analysis with detected similarities and differences of the three Baltic countries.

European Identity and European Identities in EU Political Discourse

Galina Klimova

RANEPA, Russian Federation

There is a struggle between the subjects of EU political discourse (EU institutions, politicians, intellectuals, media and citizens) for the European identity and its comprehension. The economic and migration crises, separatism of various levels and the current pandemic only escalate this struggle. Contextualized analysis within the discourse-historical approach (DHA) of text corpus on European identity (2015-2021) consisting of: 1. Statements of the EU institutions, 2. European politicians’ speeches, 3. Media materials, 4. Public intellectuals’ publications 5. EU citizens’ interviews, allows to distinguish at least three axes within which European identity functions. The first axis is located between the extreme points of the top-down, official perception of the European identity goals and the spontaneous, bottom-up practices. The second axis polarizes the interpretation and use of the concept between conditional "internal" identity, which performs the function of self-identification, and "public" identity, which has the performative quality of communicating outside. The third axis indicates the existence of cultural-historical and civic European identities. The content of the European identity within all axes is complicated by the definition of “the Other” and its borderland with national and local identities. Each of the subjects is in search of their own language of European identity, which has a chance to be understood and is able to establish stable relations within the political discourse of the EU. What these languages ​​will be and what are the prospects for their influence on the concept of European identity - requires further discussion.