CES Budapest 2018

5th Critical European Studies Workshop

Central European University, Budapest (Hungary)

Organised by Critical Political Economy Research Network and Open Learning Initiative

Reconfiguring global Europe: resistance, resilience, and organisation

Today, the fragility of a ‘cosmopolitan EU’ construct lies exposed by the austerity driven xenophobia, rise of the right-wing movements and ideologies, state surveillance and disciplining as well as disintegration dynamics. EU’s global image as a beacon of cooperation and advocate of human rights is showing gaping cracks. It fails to constructively address the so-called refugee and migration crisis; it fails to build parity-based relations with the newer/poorer and non-EU member states; it fails to resolve the growing inequalities between and within its member states. Having claimed a monopoly on the term ‘Europe’, the capitalist rulers of the EU exclude the diversity of the peoples they claim to bring together in deciding what EU is or should be. Globally too it fails to lead the peace talks while escalating geopolitical conflicts. Their climate change action leadership is riddled with contradictions rooted in market based solutions.

Amidst this crisis and transmutations, new alliances and solidarities are being built, alternative forms of governance are being forged. The fragmented left is alive yet while it celebrates revolutionary opportunities, it fails to mobilise social and political power potent enough to overturn the drift to the right. At the same time, on the level of grassroots, communities organise alternative ways of meeting their social reproduction needs (and beyond) where states and markets keep failing.

The aim of this workshop is to question our understanding of what Europe constitutes, how and for whom it works and for whom it does not. We would like to zoom in on the reconfiguration processes in European societies that bring together communities ripped apart by neoliberal policies and politics.

The workshop follows previous CES workshops held at the University of Frankfurt (2017), the University of Greenwich in London (2016), at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona (2015), and at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (2014), put together with the support of CPERN scholars and the Arbeitskreis kritische Europaforschung (AkE/AkG), RLS, Transform! and the University of Greenwich Business School.

In order to foster a constructive debate the workshop will avoid individual paper presentations and foregrounds collective discussions instead. We will proceed on the basis of thematic block sessions, with each tabling a core text that all participants will have read beforehand. Each of the sessions in the workshop starts with a brief introduction, and participants discussing and enhancing the perspectives developed in that session’s core text from the angle of their own research/activism. This is followed by a mumble where all participants share their ideas in small groups, after which the floor is opened for a plenary discussion.


Friday 11th May

10-12h Session 1​: The state of European economy and the state – hierarchies and solidarities. 1: industry and labor relations (Auditorium A, Nador st. 15)

Core text: Gerőcs – Meszmann – Pinkasz: Uneven Development in labour relations: fragmentation and flexibilization in the Hungarian automotive industry

Commentators: Tamas Gerocs, Tibor Meszmann, Andras Pinkasz, Stefanie Hurtgen, Sumercan Bozkurt, Onur Can Tastan, Anastasia Riabchuk

13h30-15h30 Session 2​: The state of European economy and the state – hierarchies and solidarities. 2: financialization

Coretext: Pósfai, Zsuzsanna, Zoltán Gál, and Erika Nagy. “Financialization and inequalities.”

Commentators: ​Zsuzsanna Posfai, Ali Riza Gungen, Christakis Georgiou, Johannes Jaeger, Aliona Liasheva, Csaba Jelinek

17h30-19h Roundtable: ‘Where does critical knowledge go?’ (Location: Golya)

Speakers: ​Mariann Dosa, Mary Taylor, Ioana Florea, Jozsef Borocz, Pinar Donmez

Saturday 12th May​ ​(Oktober Hall, ground floor, Oktober st. 6)

10h-12h Session 3​: Geopolitical challenges and contested politics of migration and refugee “crisis”

Coretext: Novak P. (2017) ‘Back to Borders’, Critical Sociology, Volume: 43 Issue: 6, page(s): 847-864.

Commentators: ​Paolo Novak, Daniel Keil, Celine Cantat, Prem Kumar Rajaram, Noemi Katona, Linda Szabo

13h-15h Session 4​: Environmental strain in the age of austerity (Oktober Hall, ground floor, Oktober st. 6)

Coretext: Tobin and Burns (2015) ‘Measuring the Impact of Austerity on European Environmental Policy’

Commentators: ​Richard Lane, Yuliya Yurchenko, Marton Fabok, Eva Schwab, Bálint Balázs

15h30-17h30 Session 5​: Reconfiguring Global Europe: organising beyond resistance (Oktober Hall, ground floor, Oktober st. 6)

Coretext: David J Bailey, Mònica Clua-Losada, Nikolai Huke, Olatz Ribera-Almandoz (2017) Beyond Defeat and Austerity: Disrupting (the Critical Political Economy of) Neoliberal Europe

Commentators: Nikolai Huke, David Bailey, Agnes Gagyi, David Featherstone, Henk Overbeek, Lara Monticelli, Torsten Geelan