P1: Plenary 1 - Opening
Europe Otherwise. On Decolonization, Creolization, and Inter-Imperiality
University of Freiburg, Germany
Social theory has long operated with universal categories extrapolated from a sanitized and sublimated version of European history that ignores both the experience of the East and the South of Europe, as well as the West’s colonial and imperial history. In order to contest the definition power of ahistorical universals – from the nation-state through citizenship rights and up to modernity – it is imperative to productively complicate the very notion of ‘Europe’. I therefore suggest that conceiving of Europe as a creolized space, or as Europe Otherwise, is one way to do so. The approach of Europe Otherwise takes into account the regional entanglements to which European colonialism and imperialism have given rise since the sixteenth century and makes it possible to rethink Europe as a political, cultural, and economic formation from its forgotten borders in the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea today. I argue that focusing on Europe’s current colonial possessions in the Caribbean and their corresponding geographical referent, Caribbean Europe, is a way to challenge, i.e., effectively creolize established understandings of Europe’s colonial history as a thing of the past, of a white European identity as the norm, and of the borders and scope of the European Union as confined to continental Europe. Mapping the theoretical and political implications of Europe Otherwise thus offers as a way out of systematically producing exceptions to a singular European norm by revealing them as rules when seen from multiple and unequal Europes instead.
Manuela Boatcă is Professor of Sociology with a focus on macrosociology at the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Germany. She was Visiting Professor at IUPERJ, Rio de Janeiro in 2007/08 and Professor of Sociology of Global Inequalities at the Latin American Institute of the Freie Universität Berlin from 2012 to 2015. Her work on world-systems analysis, postcolonial and decolonial perspectives, gender in modernity/coloniality and the geopolitics of knowledge in Eastern Europe and Latin America has appeared in the Journal of World-Systems Research, Cultural Studies, South Atlantic Quarterly, Political Power and Social Theory, Social Identities, Berliner Journal für Soziologie, Österreichische Zeitschrift für Soziologie, Zeitschrift für Weltgeschichte, and Theory, Culture and Society. She is author of Global Inequalities beyond Occidentalism, Routledge 2016 and co-editor (with E. Gutiérrez Rodríguez and S. Costa) of Decolonizing European Sociology. Transdisciplinary Approaches, Ashgate 2010 and of Global Inequalities in World-Systems Perspective (with A. Komlosy and H.-H. Nolte), Routledge 2017.
Democracy, Populism and After
EHESS, FMSH, France
In the late 80s, democracy was not really challenged in Western intellectual and political spheres – it was mainly considered as the opposite of dictatorship and totalitarianism. It was possible, therefore, for Francis Fukuyama to state, in 1989, that there was no alternative to it and that we were entering the “end of History”. Markets and democracy had triumphed. In 2019, only 30 years on, we know that even if democracy hasn’t entirely failed, it is being subjected to major challenges.
In this plenary address I will deal with the contemporary perspectives on, and limits to, democracy in Europe, including an analysis of populism. I will argue that ‘Populism’ is a mythical political formula, which resolves, via an imaginary discourse, all kinds of contradictions, up to the point that it becomes impossible. Then the myth explodes, opening the way to extremism, authoritarianism, nationalism, boundaries, barriers and awful belongings or identities. The main problem then is what comes AFTER POPULISM.
Michel Wieviorka, Professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, is the President of the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (FMSH). From 2006 to 2010, he was President of the International Association of Sociology AIS / ISA, where he created the encyclopedia on line Sociopedia, and has been a member of the ERC (European Research Council) Scientific Council since 2014. He heads SOCIO (with Laetitia Atlani-Duault), which he launched in 2013. His research has focused on conflict, terrorism and violence, racism, anti-Semitism, social movements, democracy and the phenomena of cultural difference. His more recent books include Evil (Polity Press), Retour au sens (éd. Robert Laffont), Antiracistes (éd. Robert Laffont), Face au mal (éd. Textuel). He is currently leading an international and multidisciplinary scientific program on violence and exiting violence.