Brexit, the unilateral declaration of secession by Catalonia, the Donald Trump presidency, the rise of anti-system, Eurosceptic and anti-politics parties, the emergence of cryptocurrencies, failing states in the Middle East. Listed like this, these and other similar developments can be seen as random events and their political consequences that characterise a world in flux. For many commentators and academics, such as Cas Mudde and Yasha Mounk, they are signs of the return of populism to politics.
This project for the proposed chair begins from a different premise and sees them as features of a society that no longer has political epicentres: of politics without a centre (PWOC).
The aim of this project is three-fold:
1) to contribute to academic research and debates about some of the contemporary challenges to governing and political order in the European Union, its member states and beyond.
It will frame this by addressing three sets of issues:
- the extent to which there has been an erosion of political epicentres;
- what might be some of the consequences for politics and society if there has been;
- whether the EU is a cause or a solution to PWOC.
It will try to achieve this objective by organizing workshops and conferences that bring together a wide range of scholars, both disciplinary and geographic.
The objective is to have at least one major collective publication in the form of a book or special issue of a leading journal.
In addition, the proposed chair holder will produce articles for academic journals and a manuscript that tests the central elements of the argument of PWOC in some of the member states of the EU (namely Italy and France) and the United States.
2) to improve how we teach about the EU and politics in general.
Three concrete measures will be taken toward this aim:
- by integrating into current courses in political science and international relations taught by the proposed chair four workshops that will be held over the three years. These will help build the basis for a new course on how to assess political risk (third year of the chair) in PWOC that will be part of a new MA in Local and Global Studies;
- to hold training courses for upper secondary school teachers in the region. The aim is not only to encourage teachers to integrate the study of the EU into school curricula but also to help them understand how looking at the EU can help them in teaching courses such as history and economics;
- the chair will also involve an NGO, called Associazione Viração&Jangada, that engages in active citizenship programmes for young people in Italy and Brazil to design a module on teaching active citizenship in the EU: first for local schools, then nationally and finally to be translated into other EU languages to be more widely diffused.
3) to contribute to broader public debates about the nature of politics and policy in Europe and beyond. It will do this by having a blog along the lines of the LSE Ideas blog, with leading experts contributing commentary on issues that are related to the themes of PWOC. The chair holder will continue a regular segment on local TV dedicated to current political events to diffuse the work of the project and to talk about the EU’s role in addressing contemporary challenges at the local, national and international levels.
All the additional activities will be open to the general public, made available to electronic media and will often include local policymakers and associations.
Here below you can find the Syllabus of the three year of the Chair: