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Skip to 0 minutes and 7 seconds The refugee crisis, the migration crisis, the Schengen crisis, the crisis of the secular state, the economic crisis, the Greek crisis, the value crisis, the solidarity crisis, the democracy crisis, the Ukraine crisis, the identity crisis, and the existential crisis– well, judging from the rhetoric of European and national elites, Europe is in trouble and on the edge of disintegration. We observe growing political and social tensions about questions related to unemployment or migration. The inability of European states and citizens to find a common voice is threatening stability and sometimes results in extreme responses, including closing of borders, the rise of nationalism, and illiberal forms of government. At the same time, contemporary politics should be observed from a historical perspective.

Skip to 1 minute and 8 seconds One should not forget that Jean Monnet, one of the founding fathers of the EU, argued that Europe is forged in crisis and it will be the sum of solutions adopted for those crises. This implies that crisis is a natural state of mind. Reference to various events as “crisis moments” or the “crises” have opened and legitimised various responses– by EU institutions, governments, civil society, or private actors. Indeed, the common response to the financial turmoil, unemployment, or migration has been to further the integration project rather than to undo it. What is more, it has opened space for us to rethink and reinvent what Europe is and should be.

Skip to 2 minutes and 5 seconds In this course, we adopt a societal and cultural reading of events that have shaken European political and social life in the past years. We will study European crises and therefore reject the idea there is one unifying and overarching crisis that defines contemporary Europe. You will see how these crises are constructed and made. You will learn to ask critical questions about why some events have been called and framed as a crisis while others have not. You will learn what kind of ideas and images have been strengthened and legitimised in the studied crises and which actors have dominated the debate. Essentially, together, we will ask the fundamental question, whose crisis, and for whom?

Skip to 2 minutes and 57 seconds And by doing so you will gain novel insights into contemporary Europe. We will guide you to reinvent into Europe by thinking about novel, more inclusive forms of cultural, social, political or economic organisation.

Understanding European crises holistically

In this video, Dr Senka Neuman-Stanivukovic discusses how to make sense of the crises currently linked to Europe.

This course assumes there is not one overarching crisis that defines what Europe is. Rather, there are various crises. We further contend that these are constructed: European democracy does not necessarily have to be ‘in crisis’. Crises are made, caused by something, and can therefore be unmade.

We will connect each week’s topic - culture, religion, modernity, nation-state and democracy - to one or more crises currently linked to Europe. In Week 2, for example, we discuss the role religion plays not only in our idea of Europe, but also in response to the so-called refugee crisis. In other weeks, we look at the crisis of European integration, the new position of the European nation-state and the rise of illiberal democratic tendencies across the EU.

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European Culture and Politics

University of Groningen

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