The UACES CRN ‘Europe and the Everyday’ was strongly represented at the 2016 International Political Science Association (IPSA) World Congress, held between 23-28 July in Poznan, Poland. Both Drs Simona Guerra and Soeren Keil, two of the network coordinators, presented papers at the conference, as well as our communication’s officer, Paul Anderson. All three papers broadly examined some of the key areas within the remit of the CRN, including the topic of crisis in various realms of the political world.
Dr Guerra participated in the panel ‘Euroscepticism After the 2014 European Parliament Elections’, in which she presented a paper entitled, ‘In the Name of the Father: The Challenging M5S’s Marriage of Convenience’. This paper examines the rise of the Eurosceptic Five Star Movement in Italy, headed by Beppe Grillo, which has won significant support in recent years in elections throughout Italy. Dr Guerra’s paper analysed the party’s position towards Euroscepticism, including its strategies towards EU integration and its relationship with other Eurosceptic parties in the European Parliament. Using quantitative analysis and interview data, the paper accords that while there is scope for collaboration between radical right Eurosceptic parties, the Five Star Movement does not fit comfortably in the EFDD (Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy) political group. Instead, it represents a new form of Euroscepticism, ‘Euroalternativism’, as defined by John FitzGibbons – pro-systemic opposition, supporting the polity, while promoting alternative policies. Dr Guerra also organised a panel, ‘EU Citizenship, Euro-Crisis and European Identity: Recent Changes, Practices and Dynamics of the Demos-to-Be’, addressing the crisis, decreasing levels of turnout and low trust in EU institution, and examining the impact of the Euro-crisis on European identity.
Dr Keil organised two panels at the World Congress, focused on the development of federalism and federation, and other federal political systems, in the post-Cold War Era. The first of these panels, ‘New Models of Federalism and Federation in the Post-Cold War Era: Comparative Perspectives’, included four papers examining the topic of federalism in Ethiopia, Iraq, Russia and the United Kingdom. Dr Keil’s paper, co-authored with Amina M’Lili was entitled, ‘Federalism in Post-intervention Iraq: Imposed, Evolving or Failing?’. The paper examines the use of federalism and federation as a tool of conflict resolution, as established in the 2005 Iraqi Constitution. In addition, it underlines the growing use of federalism and federation to manage ethnocultural conflicts, illuminating the federal features found in Iraq which have given different ethnic groups significant autonomy, while ensuring their participation in the institutions at the level of central government. Federalism, however, has not solved all of Iraq’s problems, and Keil and M’Lili, discuss the endogenous and exogenous factors that continue to impede the development of a federal Iraq, including the ongoing violence, interference from neighboring countries and the growing presence of the so-called Islamic State in the volatile region. The paper’s conclusions regarding a federal Iraq are not optimistic, arguing that without an end to the current intrastate violence, federalism will never be able to take root.
Also in this panel, the CRN’s communication officer, Paul Anderson, presented a paper, entitled ‘Could Federalism Save the Union? Territorial Governance and Constitutional Change in the United Kingdom’. Although the UK is not a federation, per se, this paper identified some of the federal characteristics found in the UK and argued that a more conscious move towards a federation could help solve some of the current and most pressing tensions found in the devolution project, particularly in the wake of the push by the SNP (Scottish National Party) in Scotland for independence. The paper concludes that although the UK is unlikely to become a fully-fledged federation, at least in name, the guiding principles undergirding federal ideas can serve, as they have done in other plurinational states such as Belgium and Canada, to bolster the Union and prevent territorial breakup.
The Second panel organised by Dr Keil, ‘New Model of Federalism and Federation in the Post-Cold War Era: European Perspectives’ focused on the development of the EU as a federal political system. The papers in this panel examined a variety of important issues in the current discourses on the EU, including the Eurozone crisis, debates on further integration and other pressing issues such as security policy and the migration issue.
Both Drs Guerra and Keil also acted as discussant on numerous panels, providing feedback to paper givers on a range of topics including Euro crises, European citizenship and identity, the Responsibility to Protect and multilevel governance; areas of research at the heart of the Europe and the Everyday project.
The participation of the UACES CRN at IPSA 2016 underlines the importance of the research being carried out by the network coordinators and those involved in the CRN project. As various dilemmas continue to permeate numerous European countries, as well as the continent as a whole, the CRN remains at the forefront of this research agenda, analysing, discussing, debating, examining and publishing research on the plethora of contemporary issues encountered by European countries and their citizenries.
As well as having a significant presence at IPSA 2016, the Europe and the Everyday CRN will have an even stronger presence at the 2016 UACES conference, held in London from 5-7 of September. All three network coordinators will present several papers on some of the key themes of the CRN. Moreover, on 20 September, the CRN will host its first workshop at Aston University, Birmingham. With three panels examining a range of issues such as austerity politics, the refugee crisis, protest politics and the notion of Europe as a ‘lived expereince’; it is an event not to be missed. Register (free) now at: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/uaces-crn-europe-and-the-everyday-workshop-tickets-26051722403