13th Conference 2017 Athens
'(Un)Making Europe: Capitalism, Solidarities, Subjectivities' from 29 August to 1 September 2017
Europe can be made or unmade, and this is especially true since the ‘Great Recession’ of 2008. European society, and even the very idea of Europe, is under threat. First, the inherent contradictions of capitalism are obviously stronger than we thought: Greece, where the emphatic idea of “Europe” originated, has experienced severe austerity measures; Europe has seen a deepening of neo-liberal politics, threats to what remains of the welfare state and increasing inequality.
Second, solidarities are fragmented in and between societies across Europe. The new world economic crisis formed a context for both the constitution and the undermining of solidarities. On the one hand, from the Arab Uprisings to the various Occupy and Indignados movements – and their manifestations at the level of political parties – we have seen rebellions by citizens demanding political change. On the other hand, refugees fleeing wars have been denied human rights and their lives have been threatened by the closure of borders and the lack of a coordinated European strategy.
Third, subjectivities are formed that do not only result in resistance and protest, but also in apathy, despair, depression, and anxiety. Authoritarianism, nationalism, racism, xenophobia, right-wing extremism, spirals of violence, and ideological fundamentalisms have proliferated throughout the world, including in Europe.
As a result, the promise of Europe and the geographical, political, and social borders of Europe have been unmade and this ‘unmaking’ poses a profound challenge for sociology and the social sciences more generally.
It is in this context that the European Sociological Association’s 2017 Conference takes place in Athens at the epicentre of the European crisis. The underlying question for the conference is:
How and where to should a sociology that matters evolve? How can sociology’s analyses, theories and methods, across the whole spectrum of ESA’s 37 research networks and various countries, be advanced in order to explain and understand capitalism, solidarities and subjectivities in the processes of the making, unmaking and remaking of Europe?