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The Quest of 'European Identity' as a new Challenge for Social Theory -

Social Theory Conference (RN29), European Sociological Association
November 26 - 28, 2014, Münster, Germany

The ESA Social Theory Conference is the midterm meeting of the RN29 Social Theory of the European Sociological Association.

Conference programme (0,3 MB)


The local organizer of the conference is:
Gallina Tasheva, University of Münster, ESA Social Theory Research Network (RN29) Coordinator


The quest of European identity as a new challenge for social theory


To ask in a new way the question 'what is identity and cultural identity' should be at the very heart of social theoretical reflections and sociological thinking in the global age. This question, with regard to the idea of the "European Identity" is the main subject of the conference.
If we can no longer speak of "identity" as a given in itself and with itself, as an identically homogenous fundament, an essence or entity; and of a "cultural identity" as something that is grounded in territory, religion, and ethnicity; but must rather understand these concepts as an open, continuous and heterogeneous process of identification within a plurality of life-forms, embedded in complex social relations and networks, then we should ask ourselves if there is such a thing as "European identity" and what would it mean?
Does European identity still consist of specific kinds of self-understanding and self-interpretations, as well as reinterpretations, in the relations to the other? Or are there several diverging European identities – "multiple Europes", arising from labour migration, regional policy, multilingualism and citizenship? And what is the role of institutional frames of European identity politics? Or does such a question of "European Identity" only reveal the exclusive hegemony of the European community and is it an expression of the political ideology of the technocratic and elite-driven project of European integration?



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