London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

ISET Seminar Series Spring 2009

ISET European Interdisciplinary Seminar Series

Spring 2009

New Europe: Security, Politics and Cultural Change

The ISET seminar series addresses key issues in the making and remaking of Europe, whether economic, political, social or cultural.  In the context of globalization, these extend beyond Europe's borders, and interrogate definitions of European identity.

In the Spring of 2009, the focus is on the socio-political and cultural strands of ISET's work and the theme is New Europe: Security, Politics and Cultural Change.  This series explores the interaction between political, cultural and security concerns in Eastern and Western Europe, in the aftermath of EU and NATO enlargement, and especially the persistence of old, and emergence of new, lines of division.  It maps some of the fundamental similarities and differences in the social construction of issues such as economic cooperation, cultural transnationalism, and further EU and NATO enlargement across the continent.

2 March, Laszlo Andor, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
New Europe, new crisis: Perspectives on financial instability and economic cooperation

The new member states of the European Union have produced very dynamic economic growth in the last 6-8 years. However, they have been badly affected by the current financial crisis, and they are not expected to return to their robust development after the end of the crisis, whenever that may come. The current crisis, therefore, highlights the surviving asymmetries in Europe, and also the fact that the institutional arrangements of the EU (and particularly the Economic and Monetary Union within that) cannot handle these imbalances. In a way, most of the new member states find themselves facing a position other EU members were in before 1992: being part of the single market, exposed to the free flow of capital but managing their macroeconomies with their own national currencies. The manifestation of economic weakness and financial fragility in the Eastern half of the EU is another test of European cohesion. New forms of economic integration among the new member states would be needed to strengthen their economic fundamentals, and new policies within the EU framework would be needed to create more financial stability within the region. More sustainable development in East-Central Europe and the Balkans could also contribute to deeper and wider cooperation between the EU and the Commonwealth of Independent States.

László Andor is associate professor at Corvinus University of Budapest (BCE, Department of Economic Policy) and at King Sigismund College (ZSKF). Currently he is member of the board of directors at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London.

9 March, Felix Ciuta, School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies, UCL
Security socialization? The national security concepts of the Central and Eastern European states after NATO and EU enlargement

The dual enlargement of EU/NATO is generally assumed by researchers to have transformed the way the new member states think about security. Both enlargements sought to transfer a set of ideas and practices of security to candidate states, and to promote a cooperative understanding of international relations based on transparency, democratic accountability and solidarity. This deliberate transfer of security concepts, norms and principles of action is called “security socialisation”. This presentation focuses on one indicator of this potential transformation, namely the concepts of security which shape the national security strategies of the 10 Central and East European states (CEES) members. At the heart of this project is the attempt to answer two fundamental questions: Is there a “European standard” concept of security, commonly defined by NATO and the EU? Are the national security concepts of the 10 CEE member states converging towards this “standard” way of understanding security? Although empirically focused, the project has significant theoretical implications, especially concerning contextual modes of (re)defining security concepts.

Felix Ciută is Lecturer in International Relations at University College London, in the School of Slavonic and East European Studies. He is currently working on a monograph on contexts of security and a book on Romania’s security policy after 1990, titled "Lilypad Geopolitics: Strategy and Identity in Romania's Security Policy from NATO enlargement to the War on Terror".

16 March, David Chandler, University of Westminster
The European imperative: Rescuing the Balkans

This paper will consider the framework of European identity and post-interest politics projected by the EU in the Balkans. The EU frames its projection of policy as a post-sovereign, post-national, post-political actor. This identity and framework of policy presentation has been shaped and sharpened through engagement with the Balkans and the rescue of the Balkans through the empowering/ capacity-building process of state building. This discussion of the core themes of the European project will consider why issues such as human rights, the rule of law, anti-corruption, civil society and social inclusion are at the centre of the EU's approach. In this way a distinction will be made with traditional liberal or neo-liberal discourses of power projection, which have much less focus on regulatory institutions prioritising the market as sufficient to guide and shape development or emphasising democracy in terms of autonomy from external constraint.

David Chandler is Professor of International Relations in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Westminster. He is the founding editor of the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding and his latest book is Empire in Denial: The Politics of State-Building (Pluto, 2006)

23 March, Kevin Robbins, Goldsmiths College and Istanbul Bilgi University
European culture in Transition: The possibility space of transnationalism

This talk explores contemporary transformations in European culture associated with processes of transnationalism and transculturalism. A central focus will be on the European significance of new global migrations across the continent. What is the significance of 'trans-'?. In seeking to address this question, I am trying to engage with issues concerned with the elaboration of responses to the new cultural complexity of the European space. A starting point will involve a critique of the national imagination, which has prevailed in the modern period as the way of conceiving collectivities. I will then move on to explore alternative imaginary possibilities, particularly associated with cosmopolitanism from below. The talk will draw on work I have been doing with the Council of Europe, in a project on Cultural Policy and Cultural Diversity.

Kevin Robins is currently based at Istanbul Bilgi University and at Goldsmiths College in London. He is the co-author of Times of the Technoculture (Routledge 1999) andco-author of The Challenge of Transcultural Diversities (Council fo Europe) and he has edited British Cultural Studies (Oxford 2001) (with David Morley).

30 March. Marko Bojcun, London Metropolitan University
Russia’s conception of a new European security order

The European Union under the French Presidency accepted Russia's proposal for a conference this year, to which the USA will also be invited, to discuss a new European security order. The proposal and its acceptance came in the wake of the Russian intervention into Georgia, strenuous Polish, Lithuanian and Ukrainian protests at Russia's actions, and then renunciation of membership prospects for Ukraine in NATO and the EU in the foreseeable future. Some observers see in these developments an opportunity for Russia to persuade key European NATO members to consider seriously a new European security order that would in some vital ways pose an alternative to the current NATO-Russia standoff. This paper asks what is the substance of this proposal, and what are the possible implications for countries in Central and Eastern Europe that are most affected by tensions between NATO and Russia?

Marko Bojcun is Senior Lecturer in the Law, Governance and International Relations and an associate member of ISET, at London Metropolitan University. He is the Director of two projects funded by the European Union and the British Government to develop training on European Union issues for civil servants in Ukraine. He has published extensively on Ukraine and the EU’s external relations with former Soviet states.

Seminars will take place between 6.00 - 7.30pm in
The Old Staff Café
London Metropolitan University
166-220 Holloway Road
London N7 8DB



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