Courses

East-Central European and Global Transformations

2017

 

Course Description

The course will focus on social and political change and the changing morphology of civil society in East Central Europe before and after 1989 on the one hand, and amidst the globalising trends of our world today. The introduction to the course clarifies the conceptual framework of analysis and provides the historical background of social and political change in East Central Europe from the early 1980s to the present. By the second half of the 1980s, in some of the East Central European countries – like in Poland and Hungary – democratic movements of workers and intellectuals such as Solidarnosc or Charter ’77 were able to accumulate not only political solidarity, but also a significant amount of social trust based on country participation. Trust in democratic transition, as well as public actors and in democratic institutions, reached its peak by the time of the Velvet Revolutions.

Against all of their known differences, individual countries of East Central Europe share common characteristics and trends. Civil society throughout the region became a key concept for nonviolent and democratic social and political change. The new democratic institutions, however, became dominated and controlled by the old/new political classes, often referring to themselves as the “political elite.” Most of the civil society initiatives turned to professional NGOs and/or became marginalized, coopted or controlled by the political parties and governments. After the 2004 enlargement which led to political instability, a low level of predictability of political actors, emerging populist movements, the politics of “values”, scapegoating, legitimizing xenophobia. The erosion of trust in democratic institutions is one of the most fundamental common denominators.

In the course, we will analyse and understand these complex, and interrelated trends and seek to identify alternatives for deeply divided societies. We will identify the necessary conditions for possible escapes from social and political traps in order to “reinvent” the countries and the region of East Central Europe. During lectures and seminars, the bottom-up approach of civil society, and the top-down approach of institution-building will be used. Students will study the history of transition in East Central Europe, as well as theories of transition and civil society in the context of the unfolding global and European crisis. The course will allow students to acquire a comprehensive picture of the political process that has led to democracy the socialist camp, how civil society has been constructed as an independent factor and what have been its limitations both legally and culturally so far. The students will therefore be acquainted about the process of elite transformation from socialist to democratic societies and the impact of EU enlargement on it.

Readings

Bauman, Zygmunt. “Liquid Life”. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2005, pp. 123-153.

Bianchini, Stefano. “Yugoslav and EU Decline. The Dynamics of Dissolution and Socereignty Reframed.” In Ferenc, Miszlivetz and Jensen, Jody eds. . (Routledge Advances in European Politics). New York and London: Routledge, 2015, pp. 160-178.

Císař, Ondřej and Vráblíkov, Kateřina. “Transnational Activism of Social Movement Organizations: The Effect of European Union Funding on Local Groups in the Czech Republic.” In European Union Politics. published online on October 3, 2012), pp. 

“Civil Society: Theory, History, Comparison” edited by Hall, John. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1995. pp. 1-31: “In Search of Civil Society” by John A. Hall

Dahrendorf, Ralf: After 1989. Morals, revolution and Civil Society MacMillan, London, 1997. (pp 1-77, and 78-168 Chapters 1-7.

Davutoğlu, Ahmet. “Turkey’s Mediation: Critical Reflections From the Field”. In the . Vol. 20, no. 1. (Spring 2013) 

Also available online at http://www.mepc.org/journal/middle-east-policy-archives/turkeys-mediation-critical-reflections-field

Evan Osnos, David Remnick and Joshua Jaffa: “Trump, Putin and the New Cold War. What lay behind Russia’s interferencein the 2016 election – and what lies ahead?“, The New Yorker, March 6, 2017, Annals of Diplomacy issue.

Available online at http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/06/trump-putin-and-the-new-cold-war

“Europe Bound: Faultlines and Frontlines of Security in the Balkans” edited by Jensen, Jody. Savaria University Press, 2003. pp. 287-300: “Identity Politics in Europe after Eastward Enlargement” by György Schöpflin / pp. 347-367: ” Faultlines and Frontlines of Security: Regional and Global challenges for Europe” by Jody Jensen

Fukuyama, F. (1995): Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity. London: Hamish Hamilton. (recommended)

“Global Civil Society 2001” . Oxford: Oxford University Press 2001. pp. 1-22 (Chapter 1) “Introducing Global Civil Society” by Anheier, H. / Glasius M. / Kaldor M.

Graham, Gordon. “Liberalism and Democracy.” In Vol. 9, no.2. (October 1992, published online in February 2008), pp. 149-160. 

Hankiss, Elemér (1990): East European Alternatives. Oxford: Clarendon Press. (recommended)

Holland, Stuart. “The Feasibility of European Recovery – Without Counting on National Debt” (unpublished paper)

Holland, Stuart. “The Life and Death of Democracies.” In Ferenc, Miszlivetz and Jensen, Jody eds. . (Routledge Advances in European Politics). New York and London: Routledge, 2015, pp. 189-206.

Horvat, Srećko and Štiks, Igor. “Radical Politics in the Desert of Transition”. (Introduction) In . London: Verso Books, 2015

Available online at http://www.versobooks.com/blogs/1905-radical-politics-in-the-desert-of-transition

Inglehart, R. (1999): “Trust, well being and democracy”, in M.E. Warren, ed., Democracy and Trust. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 88-120. (recommended)

Jackson, Ross. “Occupy World street: a global roadmap for radical economic and political reform”. United Kingdom: Green Books, 2012, pp. 275-296.

James, Helen. “Civil Society and the Duty to Dissent.” In Vol. 13, no. 3 (June 2011).

Available online at http://www.icnl.org/research/journal/vol13iss3/special_1.htm

Jensen, Jody and Ferenc, Miszlivetz. “Intorduction.” In Ferenc, Miszlivetz and Jensen, Jody eds. . (Routledge Advances in European Politics). New York and London: Routledge, 2015, pp. 1-3.

Jensen, Jody ed. Studies in Contentious Politics. iASK Working Paper series, Polányi Centre Publications, II. 2016/WP01.

Jensen, Jody ed. Central European Studies. Central Europe in a Global Context. iASK Working Paper Series, Polányi Centre Publications, II.2016/WP02.

Kaldor, Mary. The idea of global civil society. in. International Affairs. Volume 79, Issue 3, pages 583–593, May 2003

Konoridos. S.M.: Networks, Trust and Social Capital: Theoretical and empirical investigations from Europe. Aldershot, England: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2005 (recommended)

Chapters 1-6

Chapters 7-12

Marinova, Dani M: When Government Fails Us: trust in post-socialist civil organisations. In Democratisation. Vol 18, Issue 1, (February 2011), pp. 160-183. 

Michnik, Adam: The Rebirth of Civil Society: Public Lecture at the London School of Economics. 20 October 1999. 

Mihaylova, Dimitrina: Social Capital in Central and Eastern Europe: A Critical Assessment and Literature Review.  Policy Studies Series, Central European University, 2004.

Miszlivetz, Ferenc: The Traces of Civil Society in a new European Space. In: Miszlivetz, Ferenc: Illusions and Realities : The Metamorphosis of Civil Society in a New European Space. – Szombathely, Savaria University Press, 1999. (pp 219 – 243)

Miszlivetz, Ferenc. “‘Lost in Transformation’. The Crisis of Democracy and Civil Society.” In Kaldor, Mary, Moore, Henrietta L. and Selchow, Sabine eds. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2012, pp. 54-72. 

Offe, Claus. “European Democracy is in a State of Emergency.” 6 March 2015.

Also available online at http://www.socialeurope.eu/2015/03/european-democracy-2/

Pehlivanova, Plamena: The Decline of Trust in Post-communist Societies: The case of Bulgaria and Russia. In Contemporary Issues. Vol.2 No.1. (2009), pp. 32-47. 

Perez-Diaz, Victor. The Possibility of Civil Society: Traditions, Character and Challanges. in. Civil Society: Theory, History, Comparison, ed. John Hall, Cambridge, UK, Polity Press, 1995, p 80-109

Porta, Donatella della ed. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2009. (recommended)

Putnam, Robert (ed.): Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of Social Capital in Contemporary Society, Oxford University Press, 2002.

Rampini, Federico, “Does Ausetrity Prevail over Democracy? Two Bad Models: Italy and Greece.” In Ferenc, Miszlivetz and Jensen, Jody eds. Challenges and failures of the European construction (Routledge Advances in European Politics). New York and London: Routledge, 2015, pp. 152-159. 

Schmitter, Philippe C. “The Crisis of the Euro, the Crisis of the European Union and the Crisis of Democracy in Europe.” In Ferenc, Miszlivetz and Jensen, Jody eds. Challenges and failures of the European construction (Routledge Advances in European Politics). New York and London: Routledge, 2015, pp. 181-188. 

Segrillo, Angelo. “Liberalism, Marxism and Democratic Theory Revisited: Proposal of a Joint Index of Political and Economic Democracy.” In Vol. 6, no. 2 (2012), pp. 8-27. 

Seligman, A.B. (1997): The Problem of Trust. Princeton: Princeton University Press. (recommended)

Staniszkis, Jadwiga (1999): Post-Communism. The Emerging Enigma. Warsaw. (recommended)

Sztompka, Piotr: The ambivalence of social change. Triumph or trauma. Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung, discussion paper, 2000.

Swain, Nigel: A Post-Socialist Capitalism. In Europe-Asia Studies, Special Issue: 1989 and Eastern Europe. Vol. 63, no. 9, (November 2011), pp. 1671-1695.

Thorpe, Nick, (2009) ’89 The Unfinished Revolution. London: Reportage Press. (recommended)

Vanberg, Viktor J. “On the Complementarity of Liberalism and Democracy.” In Vol. 4, no. 2. (August 2008), pp 139-161.

Wolchik, Sharon L. and Jane Curry, eds. (2008): Central and East European Politics from Communism to Democracy. Lanham, Boulder, New York, Plymouth, UK: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers. (recommended)

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East-Central European Transformations: Dissent, Civil Society and Democracy

2017

 

The course will focus on social and political change and the construction and de-construction of social trust in East Central Europe before and after 1989. The introduction to the course clarifies the conceptual framework of analysis and provides the historical background of social and political change in East Central Europe from the early 1980s to the present. By the second half of the 1980s, in some of the East Central European countries – like in Poland and Hungary – democratic movements of workers and intellectuals such as Solidarnosc or Charter ’77 were able to accumulate not only political solidarity, but also a significant amount of social trust based on country participation. Trust in democratic transition, as well as public actors and in democratic institutions, reached its peak by the time of the Velvet Revolutions. Civil society throughout the region became a key concept for nonviolent and democratic social and political change. The need for a “new social contract” became manifest as a metaphor of the accumulating social trust. The new democratic institutions, however, became dominated and controlled by the old/new political classes, often referring to themselves as the “political elite.” Most of the civil society initiatives turned to profesonal NGOs and/or became marginalized, coopted or controlled by the political parties and governments. As a consequence, vibrant and democratic civil societies evaporated to a large extent by the mid-1990s. Social as well as public and institutional trust in democratic governments and institutions started to receed and reached a dangerously low level by the turn of the new millenium.

One of the paradoxes of transition is that the price of freedom in former Soviet bloc countries is the loss of public, social and institutional trust.  Many of the countries of the region again find themselves in a social trap. Against all of their known differences, individual countries of East Central Europe share common characteristics and trends. This became most visible after the 2004 enlargement which led to political instability, a low level of predictability of political actors, emerging populist movements, the politics of “values”, scapegoating, legitimizing xenophobia. The erosion of trust in democratic institutions is one of the most fundamental common denominators.

In the course, we will analyse and understand these complex, and interrelated trends and seek to identify alternatives for deeply divided societies characterized by the lack of trust. We will identify the necessary conditions for possible escapes from social and political traps in order to “reinvent” the countries and the region of East Central Europe. During lectures and seminars, the bottom-up approach of civil society, and the top-down approach of institution-building will be used. Students will study the history of transition in East Central Europe, as well as theories of transition and civil society in the context of the unfolding global and European crisis. The course will allow students to acquire a comprehensive picture of the political process that has led to democracy the socialist camp, how civil society has been constructed as an independent factor and what have been its limitations both legally and culturally so far. The students will therefore be acquainted about the process of elite transformation from socialist to democratic societies and the impact of EU enlargement on it.

Reading List

 

Bianchini, Stefano. “Yugoslav and EU Decline. The Dynamics of Dissolution and Socereignty Reframed.” In Ferenc, Miszlivetz and Jensen, Jody eds. Reframing Europe’s Future. Challenges and failures of the European construction. (Routledge Advances in European Politics). New York and London: Routledge, 2015, pp. 160-178.

Císař, Ondřej and Vráblíkov, Kateřina. “Transnational Activism of Social Movement Organizations: The Effect of European Union Funding on Local Groups in the Czech Republic.” In European Union Politics. Vol. 14, no. 1. (March 2013, published online on October 3, 2012), pp. 140-160.

Dahrendorf, Ralf: After 1989. Morals, revolution and Civil Society MacMillan, London, 1997. (pp 1-77, and 78-168 ) Chapters 1-7.

Davutoğlu, Ahmet. “Turkey’s Mediation: Critical Reflections From the Field”. In the Journal of Middle East Policy Council. Vol. 20, no. 1. (Spring 2013) Also available online at http://www.mepc.org/journal/middle-east-policy-archives/turkeys-mediation-critical-reflections-field

European Values Study. http://www.europeanvalues.nl

Fukuyama, F. (1995): Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity. London: Hamish Hamilton. (recommended)

Graham, Gordon. “Liberalism and Democracy.” In Journal of Applied Philosophy. Vol. 9, no.2. (October 1992, published online in February 2008), pp. 149-160.

Hankiss, Elemér (1990): East European Alternatives. Oxford: Clarendon Press. (recommended)

Holland, Stuart. “The Feasibility of European Recovery – Without Counting on National Debt” (unpublished paper)

Holland, Stuart. “The Life and Death of Democracies.” In Ferenc, Miszlivetz and Jensen, Jody eds. Reframing Europe’s Future. Challenges and failures of the European construction. (Routledge Advances in European Politics). New York and London: Routledge, 2015, pp. 189-206.

Horvat, Srećko and Štiks, Igor. “Radical Politics in the Desert of Transition”. (Introduction) In Welcome to the Desert of Post-Socialism. London: Verso Books, 2015. Available online at http://www.versobooks.com/blogs/1905-radical-politics-in-the-desert-of-transition

Inglehart, R. (1999):  “Trust, well being and democracy”, in M.E. Warren, ed., Democracy and Trust. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 88-120. (recommended)

James, Helen. “Civil Society and the Duty to Dissent.” In The International Journal of Not-for-Profit Law. Vol. 13, no. 3 (June 2011). Available online at http://www.icnl.org/research/journal/vol13iss3/special_1.htm

Jensen, Jody and Ferenc, Miszlivetz. “Intorduction.” In Ferenc, Miszlivetz and Jensen, Jody eds. Reframing Europe’s Future. Challenges and failures of the European construction. (Routledge Advances in European Politics). New York and London: Routledge, 2015, pp. 1-3.

Konoridos. S.M.: Networks, Trust and Social Capital: Theoretical and empirical investigations from Europe. Aldershot, England: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2005 (recommended) Chapters 1-6 Chapters 7-12

Marinova, Dani M: When Government Fails Us: trust in post-socialist civil organisations. In Democratisation. Vol 18, Issue 1, (February 2011), pp. 160-183.

Michnik, Adam: The Rebirth of Civil Society: Public Lecture at the London School of Economics 20 October 1999.

Mihaylova, Dimitrina: Social Capital in Central and Eastern Europe: A Critical Assessment and Literature Review. Policy Studies Series, Central European University, 2004.

Miszlivetz, Ferenc: The Traces of Civil Society in a new European Space. In: Miszlivetz, Ferenc: Illusions and Realities : The Metamorphosis of Civil Society in a New European Space. – Szombathely, Savaria University Press, 1999. (pp 219 – 243)

Miszlivetz, Ferenc. “‘Lost in Transformation’. The Crisis of Democracy and Civil Society.” In Kaldor, Mary, Moore, Henrietta L. and Selchow, Sabine eds. Global Civil Society 2012: Ten Years of Critical Reflection. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2012, pp. 54-72.

Offe, Claus. “European Democracy is in a State of Emergency.” 6 March 2015. Also available online at http://www.socialeurope.eu/2015/03/european-democracy-2/

Pehlivanova, Plamena: The Decline of Trust in Post-communist Societies: The case of Bulgaria and Russia. In Contemporary Issues. Vol.2 No.1. (2009), pp. 32-47.

Porta, Donatella della ed. Democracy in Social Movements. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2009. (recommended)

Putnam, Robert (ed.): Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of Social Capital in Contemporary Society, Oxford University Press, 2002.

Rampini, Federico, “Does Ausetrity Prevail over Democracy? Two Bad Models: Italy and Greece.” In Ferenc, Miszlivetz and Jensen, Jody eds. Reframing Europe’s Future. Challenges and failures of the European construction (Routledge Advances in European Politics). New York and London: Routledge, 2015, pp. 152-159.

Schmitter, Philippe C. “The Crisis of the Euro, the Crisis of the European Union and the Crisis of Democracy in Europe.” In Ferenc, Miszlivetz and Jensen, Jody eds. Reframing Europe’s Future. Challenges and failures of the European construction (Routledge Advances in European Politics). New York and London: Routledge, 2015, pp. 181-188.

Segrillo, Angelo. “Liberalism, Marxism and Democratic Theory Revisited: Proposal of a Joint Index of Political and Economic Democracy.” In Brazilian Political Science Review. Vol. 6, no. 2 (2012), pp. 8-27.

Seligman, A.B. (1997): The Problem of Trust. Princeton: Princeton University Press. (recommended)

Staniszkis, Jadwiga (1999): Post-Communism. The Emerging Enigma. Warsaw. (recommended)

Sztompka, Piotr: The ambivalence of social change. Triumph or trauma. Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung, discussion paper, 2000.

Swain, Nigel: A Post-Socialist Capitalism. In Europe-Asia Studies, Special Issue: 1989 and Eastern Europe. Vol. 63, no. 9, (November 2011), pp. 1671-1695.

Thorpe, Nick, (2009) ’89 The Unfinished Revolution. London: Reportage Press. (recommended)

Vanberg, Viktor J. “On the Complementarity of Liberalism and Democracy.” In Journal of Institutional Economics. Vol. 4, no. 2. (August 2008), pp 139-161.

Wolchik, Sharon L. and Jane Curry, eds. (2008): Central and East European Politics from Communism to Democracy. Lanham, Boulder, New York, Plymouth, UK: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers. (recommended)

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2013-2014, Jean Monnet Programme

 

Globalization, Europeanization and the Nation State

Globalization and Europeanization are two buzzwords everyone uses but all too few understand their true meaning. This course corrects this state of affairs in two steps beginning with the development of conceptual tools linking the global and European to the national and domestic. The second step looks at a series of instances where globalization and Europeanization appear to have been at work. These include the international political economy, global human rights, security policy, and – within Europe – how the European Union affects member states. The course is designed to help students better understand the complex interplay between the global and European, on the one hand, and deeply rooted national content, on the other. The course has three main goals: First, it emphasizes the complexities and nuances of debates on globalization and Europeanization. Second, lectures explore the nexus between domestic politics and global/European dynamics and their effects on national policies, institutions, values and identities, assessing standards of legitimacy and democracy based on the nation state. Third, the course emphasizes that globalization and Europeanization play out in multiple issue areas beyond the purely economic. While the latter is crucially important, it needs to be put in context, for example, by exploring the globalization of human-rights discourses or the Europeanization of security policies.

 

Social Trust in Societies in Transition: The Role of Elites and Civil Society

By the second half of the 1980s, in some of the East Central European countries – like in Poland and Hungary – democratic movements of workers and intellectuals such as Solidarnosc or Charter ’77 were able to accumulate not only political solidarity, but also a significant amount of social trust. Trust in democratic transition, as well as public actors and in democratic institutions, reached its peak by the time of the Velvet Revolutions. Civil society throughout the region became a key concept for nonviolent and democratic, social and political change. The need for a “new social contract” became a metaphor of the accumulating social trust. The new democratic institutions, however, became dominated and controlled by the old/new political classes, often referring to themselves as the “political elite.” Most of the civil society initiatives turned into professional NGOs and/or became marginalized, co-opted or controlled by the political parties and governments. As a consequence, vibrant and democratic civil societies evaporated to a large extent by the mid-1990s. Social as well as public and institutional trust in democratic governments and institutions started to decline and reached dangerously low levels by the turn of the new millennium. One of the paradoxes of transition is that the price of freedom in former Soviet bloc countries is the loss of public, social and institutional trust. Many of the countries of the region again find themselves in a social trap. Against all of their known differences, individual countries of East Central Europe share common characteristics and trends. This became most visible after the 2004 enlargement which led to political instability, a low level of predictability of political actors, emergence of populist movements, the politics of “values”, scapegoating, and xenophobia. The erosion of trust in democratic institutions is one of the most fundamental common denominators. This course analyses these complex and interrelated trends and seeks to identify alternatives for deeply divided societies characterized by the lack of trust. It identifies the necessary conditions for possible escapes from social and political traps in order to “reinvent” the countries and the region of East Central Europe. Lectures and seminars examine both the bottom-up approach of civil society, and the top-down approach of institution-building, keeping in mind Jean Monnet’s warning that “everything starts with the people but ends up with institutions.”

 

The European Construction in the 20th Century

The purpose of this course is to identify and analyze the attempts at reforms and the renewal of long-term visions, which are put into a historical perspective. The main topics are: I. Post War Reconstruction in Europe: Visions and realities. II. European Governance: Jean Monnet and Institution Building. III. New Approaches to European Integration: The Community Method. IV. Legal bases of the political community of the EU. Behind the constitution and treaty frameworks. V. Between a union of nations and the union of regions. VI. The supranational integration engine vs. intergovernmentalism. Globalization, Transformation, Integration: The formation of the post-national condition. 2004: Eastern enlargement – one out of the many? VII. The EU at a Crossroads: What is the EU? Unidentifiable political object, open-ended political project? VIII. Nation state vs. Federation. IX. The „Future of Europe” Debate: Nice, Laeken, the Constitutional Treaty. X. Community Method + European Civil Society: Rediscovering civil society. XI. A European demos. XII. The New Europe: European social model. XIII. Multi-level governance. XIV. New Actors: Regions, micro-regions, euroregions, global NGOs, political parties, interest and trade unions. XV. New Ideas: The European social and political spheres. European identity. XVI. Constitutionalization. XVII. Future Scenarios: Triumphant Markets. The Hundred Flowers. Turbulent Neighborhoods. Creative Societies. XVIII. The EU’s Role in Global Politics: Pax Democratica (Europaea) vs. Pax Americana. XIX. The Finality of European Construction: Birth of a new sovereign? XX. New Middle Ages: Fragmentation, post-national constellation. XXI. New neighbourhood policy and Big Bang enlargement. XXII. New Challenges: Achieving the Lisbon Strategy (2005-2010).

 

Spring 2012, Columbia University, New York

 

Civil Society, Democracy and Social Trust in East Central Europe before and after 1989 – in the context of global transformation

The course focuses on intertwining processes of transformation and the construction and de-construction of social trust in East Central Europe before and after 1989. The introduction to the course clarifies the conceptual and theoretical framework of analysis with special regard to theories of civil society, democracy and social trust and provides a  historical background of social and political change in East Central Europe from 1968 through the fermenting decade  of the 1980s to the present.

Reinventing Europe: The European Construction from 1945 to 2020

European integration and its institutional result, the European Union, is one of the most outstanding political constructions of modern history. From the point of view of continuous wars, violence and destruction, this great achievement can be seen as a success story from its very inception up until today. However, geopolitical, social, ecological, etc. conditions have changed dramatically during the past decades and consequently new methods, rules and even actors are needed in order to avoid failure or disintegration.
The European construction consists of rules, regulations, treaties, negotiations, institution building and the formulation of common policies including enlargements, on the one hand, but it has a civilizational appeal and a peace-building and keeping mission, on the other. It also encompasses a vigorous although fragmented political landscape and civil society.
The aim of the course is to make students familiar with different aspects of the European construction process by exploring internal and external incentives, obstacles and deficiencies as well as unutilized potentials of the integration process.
During the course students are asked to analyse recent documents and articles about the unfolding financial crisis and its interrelatedness to social and political unrest within and beyond Europe. Alternative scenarios for Europe 2020 are discussed.

 

2010-2011, Institute for Social and European Studies Foundation

 

 

European Construction

During the decade following 1989, the EU arrived at a crossroads. After the commitment incorporated into the Maastricht Treaty to open up towards the former Soviet bloc countries of Eastern and Central Europe, it became increasingly clear that the famous and sophisticated community methods elaborated by the founding fathers were not going to guarantee the success of Eastern enlargement. The mediation between intergovernmental and supranational institutions (to remove obstacles to deepening and widening integration) has slowed down among the EU 15. The perspective of a „Big Bang” and an EU 25 made it crystal clear that radical institutional reforms are needed if the EU wants to speed up its decisionmaking procedures and enhance its efficiency as a global player or, in the worst case, avoid disintegration.

One of the core problems of the EU construction, largely responsible for its inefficiency, is the lack of democracy and legitimation within and among its supranational institutions. Facing and understanding the unfolding crisis, leading politicians and visionaries of the EU, such as Jacques Delors and Joschka Fischer, initiated a sincere debate about the „Future of Europe” in 2000. Despite deep-going self-criticism and serious attempts at a new dialogue with EU-citizens, the Nice Treaty brought negative results: it has reinforced intergovernmentalism, secret diplomacy and lack of transparency. Europe was crying for reforms and the renewal of long-term visions, and its leaders got stuck with short-sighted, national interests. It is still hard to know what the finalité of European construction will look like. Definitions during the past decade have certainly moved from negative towards more affirmative characterizations. Instead of an indefinable political project (Delors), one can speak today of a post modern empire of neo-medieval character or the political invention of a network-state with a problem-solving strategy of negotiating marathon.

 

2010-2011, Institute for Social and European Studies Foundation

 

The Global Crisis: Challenges and Perspectives

What is in Crisis?

  • The financial system?
  • The car industry,
  • Globalization?
  • Capitalism?
  • The Eco-system?
  • The Western value system?
  • Human Civilization?

The Triumvirate

  • Ecological crisis
  • The crisis of neoliberalism
  • Geopolitical crisis

Early predictions and system analysis (late 60s, early 70s)

  • Club of Rome: the Limits to Growth,
  • Ervin Laszlo: Mankind at the Turning Point
  • Jürgen Habermas: how long is a system identical with itself?
  • Wallerstein: World system perspective: the long transformation of the capitalist world economy: 1945 – 2025

Crisis breakdown today

  • Monetary
  • Real estate
  • Car industry (GM becomes Government Motors)
  • Energy
  • Climate
  • Institutional: loosing legitimacy and credibility
  • Geo-political: the decline of Pax Americana: what comes?
  • Social: growing polarization and inequalities
  • Value and believe systems: radicalization instead of reconciliation

The Crisis offers New Alternatives

  • To the dominant way of thinking
  • To build new democratic structures of cooperation
  • To challenge old dogmas and ideologies

Dangers and Opportunities

  • Poverty: the poor pay more for the crisis
  • Burdening the middle classes
  • Certain categories of elites have to pay

New Perspectives

  • Public regulation
  • Ecological emergency
  • Social/participative/network democracy
  • The rise of global citizenship + civil society along with global governance
  • The rise of cultural creativity
  • New geopolitical constellation

Possible Actions

  • Short Run: avoiding the danger
  • Medium Run: Influencing strategies
  • Long Run: transformation of the world system

Lingering Questions

  • Ecological and social emergency?
  • New social contracts? >Towards a global social contract?
  • Common good or common bad?
  • New models of representation?
  • Reconstructing societies: Networks of civil societies?
  • Paradigm shift?
  • Rise of regionalism? Or back to the nation-state?
  • Regulation of global markets?
  • Is Global Governance feasible?

If not, what comes?