Minorities, Diversities, Securities

Public Roundtable Discussion
First Symposium of the Columbia-Marburg-Barcelona-Glasgow Consortium

Date: September 28th-29th, 2017
Venue: Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe Marburg

» Program

This symposium is the first of a series organized on a bi-annual basis and aims at developing a new format for the analysis of current developments within Europe and in neighboring parts of the world that have a key relevance for Europe and its global partners. The symposium will be organized alternately at one of the locations of the three European partner institutions: the Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe in Marburg, the Instituto Barcelona d’Estudis Internationals and the University of Glasgow. The permanent partner in the United States is the Council for European Studies at Columbia University (CES). The aim of the consortium is to support career paths of promising younger researchers orig-inating from Southern and Eastern member states of the European Union  as well as from neighboring academic landscapes  by bringing them in direct contact with scholars from the USA and Canada. For that purpose, early-stage researchers from the field of the Humanities and Social Sciences from both regions will be given the opportunity to enhance their individual conceptual approaches against the backdrop of their own current or recently finished empirical studies. They will be joined by experts from the organizing institutions and the regional academic environment.

Since the beginning of the socalled refugee crisis in 2015/16, the discursive shift away from multiculturalism and the agendas of ethnic, cultural, religious, and other minorities to a perspective of assessing risks and challenges that evolve from societal diversity has intensified. In the political sphere and in print as well as social media in and outside Europe, the theme of migrants and cultural/religious diversity is becoming more and more intertwined with concepts of security, conflict prevention, and anti-terrorist determent. Parallel to that development, there is a tendency to re-frame or re-interpret assumptions on the relations between minority and majority populations. In some countries (like Russia, Hungary, or Macedonia), we even see official polities that produce side-effects to remarginalize minority groups by sociocultural, economic, and religious- or life-style-based dynamics of “othering.” As a consequence, security issues and processes of securitization lead to new intersections of social identities, renewed stereotypes and systems of domination, oppression, and discrimination. The Marburg symposium takes a critical stand against this tendency, aiming at assessing the concepts, paradigms, and methods for the reevaluation of multiethnicity, diversity, and mobility in a globalized and “post-factual” era and seeking to identify factors and agencies that help to explain the current trends towards the obsession with security agendas. The discussions will provide ample opportunity for reflection on the theoretical implications from an interdisciplinary point of view. The participants will be invited to elaborate on the interfaces between concepts of ethnicity, diversity, and integration and different approaches to securitization and risk aversion. Discussions also aim at the reevaluation of current theories of intersectionality, thereby addressing questions raised from individual empirical studies such as:

  • What are social and political dynamics behind the new links between minorities, cultural diversity, and security issues?
  • What are new trends and national longuedurée developments when we speak of the relation between kin-states, conational minorities and the state they live in?
  • Can we speak of a current transformation of concepts of integration and how they relate to security issues?
  • How do security issues and the way they are verbalized influence group relations, group boundaries, and individual as well as collective identities?
  • Is there a need to re-conceptualize agency, discourse, communication, and group behavior against this backdrop?
  • How would we assess the role of European institutions when it comes to their interaction with national polities?
  • What are the paradigms that function as an analytical tool? What is mainstream in the interpretation of individual conflicts?

Invited early-stage researchers:

  • Isa Afacan (Turkey, University of Giessen, political science): international relations, Turkish foreign policy and Northern Africa, the conflict in Syria
  • James Fitzgerald (Ireland, Dublin City University, International relations): International relations and security studies, terrorism, political violence, and international security, discourse analysis, critical perspectives on knowledge production
  • Marina Germane (Latvia, University of Glasgow, history): European political history in 19th and 20th centuries, ethnic studies, ethnicity and national identity
  • Ana Nichita Ivaşiuc (Rumania, University of Giessen, political science): Minorities, governance and security, Roma communities and national as well as European institutions
  • Tamir Libel (Israel, Institut Barcelona d'Estudis Internacionals and University College Dublin, International relations): Civil-military studies, security studies with a focus on Europe, North America and the wider Middle East
  • Sebastian Paul (Germany, Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe, history): Hungarian, Czechoslovak and Polish history during the Interwar Period, Rights of minorities and majorities, Dynamics of security; securitization from a historic perspective
  • Federica Prina (Italy, University of Glasgow, law): Cultural and participatory rights of national minorities in the post-Soviet space, domestic implementation of international human rights law in post-Communist countries
  • Sergey Sukhankin (Russia, Autonomous University of Barcelona / International Centre for Policy Studies Kiev, International relations): Security in countries of the former Soviet Union, nationalism and violence, developments in the Baltic Sea region