Call for Papers

(Deadline 31 March 2014)

EuroChallenge and the University of Copenhagen

are hosting

The Third Midterm Conference of the European Political Sociology Research Network (RN32) of ESA (European Sociological Association)


Ben Rosamond, Professor at the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen and Director of EuroChallenge.

Hans-Jörg Trenz, Professor at the Department of Media, Cognition and Communication, University of Copenhagen. Chair of CEMES, Centre for Moderns European Studies and Co-PI of EuroChallenge.

Marlene Wind, Professor at the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen. Director of CEP, Centre for European Politics and Co-PI of EuroChallenge.

Mikael Rask Madsen, Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Copenhagen. Head of iCourts, the Danish National Research Foundation’s Centre of Excellence for International Courts and Co-PI of EuroChallenge.

Time and place
28-29 November 2014 at the University of Copenhagen Conference Topic
Europe’s global challenges: Society, Politics, Markets

Europe finds itself in a time of turmoil and crisis. This conference will provide a platform for discussing the internal crisis of the project of European integration in relation to the global challenges, which European societies are currently facing. We wish to examine the role of political sociology as a discipline that can enhance the understanding of ever more complex relationships between (nation) states, supranational institutions and (trans)national society. We also wish to develop a more thorough understanding of the consequences of crises for state-society relations in a comparative perspective and in relation to the project of European integration.

The first transformations that concern European political sociology are Europe’s own internal crises. Western societies in general and European societies (including Eastern Europe) in particular have seen their growth models stall and, in some cases, fall into decline. Europe as a whole faces a serious social and demographic challenges. The question of how to ‘govern’ these internal challenges poses a series of near-intractable political, social and cultural problems. These include the rise of populist and neo-nationalist political parties, the growing hostility to immigration, the sustainability of our welfare systems, and the politicised struggles over distribution, gender and collective identification within the European political space. The second transformation that concerns European political sociology is the changing premises of globalisation. The moment of crisis is connected to the fact that the west’s leadership across a range of domains – political, legal, cultural, normative – seems to be in serious decline. The premise of ‘globalisation’ has been that the progressive spread of market society and economic liberal policies through the promotion of free trade, capital mobility and the removal of other barriers to transactions across borders would not only deliver absolute positive-sum gains across the world economy, but also facilitate the global spread of human rights and liberal democracy. The shift away from globalisation leads to a return of political and economic nationalism, regionalism and localism and a new cultural particularism. Similarly, in the areas of normative politics – human rights, democracy, equality and diversity – Europe is facing severe problems maintaining its position as a key producer of ‘universals’. While still universalist in aspiration, central notions such as ‘civic rights’ ‘citizenship’ and ‘social equality’ are currently under heavily contested by new political actors and movements that stretch beyond the European political space.

The negotiation of the relationship between (a) the EU’s internal crisis and (b) Europe’s responses to global challenges raises fundamental questions about the direction, dynamics, legitimacy and future viability of the European project. Here the question of how the dynamics of globalisation and Europe’s global challenges are dealt with at the meso- level (‘Europe of the Nations’, ‘Europe of the regions’) and micro-level (‘Europe of the suburbs’) is pivotal.

The Third European Political Sociology Midterm Conference will be organized around three sub-sections:

Subsection 1: The European Socio-cultural Space and the New Global Order

Here we invite contributions dealing with political culture, media and the public sphere in a trans-nationalising context. How can we capture the socio-cultural and identity cleavages in relation to ongoing political struggles and the challenges to the welfare state? How do reactions to crisis heighten media attention and give salience to ethnic, cultural and gender cleavages in Europe? How does the confrontation with the present crisis contribute to the reconfiguration of social and cultural spaces facilitating or inhibiting transcultural encounters and exchange of understandings? How are issues of welfare chauvinism connected to fears of a ‘demographic winter’ among the diverse polities in Europe.

Subsection 2: The European Legal-Politico Space and the New Global Order

Here, we invite contributions dealing with the current contestation and reconfiguration of political order and its legitimacy. How effectively, given the scale of the EU’s own crisis, can EU institutions manage the intra-European effects of this new global configuration? In what ways, to what extent and with what political, legal and social instruments are European and domestic (national, regional and local) policy-makers and citizens contesting political and economic choices in the shifting global configuration? From a classical political sociology perspective, we wish to examine the transformations of European leadership and the elites in the enlarged Europe in a global context. How does the erosion of citizen trust affect the constitution of social and political authority and leadership in Europe? How do the claims of new groups and rules of representation transform the roles of elites in Europe? From the perspective of democracy and rights, we wish to ask what role is played by the forms of active citizenship (resilience strategies, social movements, etc.) in this context? How are law, political rights, citizenship and democracy redefined in this process of contestation of the contours of political order? How are global problems administrated by urban and regional governance and how are they perceived subjectively in processes of political representation? How are these options accounted for from an intersectional perspective considering systems of class, ethnicity/race, gender and sexuality?

Subsection 3: The European Market Space and the New Global Order

Here we look for contributions dealing with a political economy of Europe in times of crisis. What is the scale of the challenges posed to Europe by the shifting global configuration? How do European policy-makers and institutions conceptualise the changing global economic and political order, and how is the place and role of ‘Europe’ understood in the context of that order? How are fundamental dilemmas (‘market versus democracy’ and ‘competitiveness versus cohesion’) conceived and related to policy formulation at the EU level in this context? How are these options

accounted for from an intersectional perspective (the interplay between class, ethnicity/race, gender, and sexuality) in the wider context of the ‘rush to the bottom’ as part of the continuous striving for economic competitiveness, both internally among various European polities, but also externally between European countries and the rest of the world ? How do cities or regions face the crisis and what are the territorial economical dimensions of globalisation?

Submission of Papers and Panel Proposals

Participants are requested to apply directly to one of the three sections. Panel proposals should include at least three abstracts (max. 200 words). Deadline: Paper abstracts and panel proposals should be submitted online no later than Monday 31 March 2014 at the EuroChallenge website:

Submitters of accepted abstracts will be informed in the beginning of April 2014.
Enquiries should be directed to Research Coordinator at EuroChallenge Majka Holm,