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European Society

Our research themes 

Recent speeches by some of Europe’s political leaders have called into question the merits of multiculturalism as a response to Europe’s increasingly diverse societies.

While mainstream politicians steer clear of any suggestion that Europe should abandon its commitment to ‘unity in diversity’, there is a rising tide of ‘populist’ rhetoric which warns that Europe’s identity – an identity supposedly forged by its ‘cultural, religious and humanist inheritance’ – is threatened by the presence of migrant, and especially Muslim, communities, and the prospect of Turkish EU membership.

Our research cluster examines the diversity of cultural, political and philosophical ideas invoked in Europe's name, the ways these have been politically contested and reshaped, and the extent to which they intersect with the lived experiences of Europeans. We combine the methods of philosophy, sociology, political science and anthropology.


Being German, Becoming Muslim: Race, Religion, Conversion in the New Europe

by Esra Özyürek

Being german becoming muslim

Every year more and more Europeans, including Germans, are embracing Islam. It is estimated that there are now up to one hundred thousand German converts - a number similar to that in France and the United Kingdom. What stands out about recent conversions is that they take place at a time when Islam is increasingly seen as contrary to European values. Being German, Becoming Muslim explores how Germans come to Islam within this antagonistic climate, how they manage to balance their love for Islam with their society's fear of it, how they relate to immigrant Muslims, and how they shape debates about race, religion, and belonging in today’s Europe.

Key Research Themes

  • Ideas and Images of Europe
  • Ideologies, parties and political movements
  • Ideas of political community and place
  • Multiculturalism European identities
  • Religious belief and securalism
  • Minorities

Selected recent publications 

Bronk, Richard and Jacoby, Wade (2013), 'Avoiding monocultures in the European Union: the case for the mutual recognition of difference in conditions of uncertainty', LEQS paper no. 67/2013. 

Featherstone, Kevin (2014), Europe in Modern Greek History (ed), London, Hurst & Co.

Glendinning, Simon (2013), 'Derrida's Europe: "Greek, Christian and Beyond"', in Europe After Derrida ed. B. Isyar, Edinburgh University Press. 

Glendinning, Simon (2013), ‘Three Cultures of Atheism: On Serious Doubts about the Existence of God’, International Journal of Philosophy of Religion, 73 (10), pp. 3-19.

Glendinning, Simon (2013), ‘The End of the World made with Men in Mind’, Journal of Historical Sociology, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 291-317.

Hobolt, Sara (2014), 'Ever Closer or Ever Wider? Public Attitudes Towards Further Enlargement and Integration in the European Union', Journal of European Public Policy, 21 (5), pp. 664-680.

Jackson-Preece, Jennifer (2014), 'The High Commissioner on National Minorities as a Normative Actor', Journal of European and Ethnopolitics, Special Issue on the High Commissioner on National Minorities. 

Özyürek, Esra (2016), “Export-Import Theory and Racialization of Antisemitism: Turkish and Arab-only Prevention Programs in Germany” Comparative Studies in Society and History 58 (1). Forthcoming.

White, Jonathan (2014), 'Transnational Partisanship: Idea and Practice', Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 17 (3). 

White, Jonathan (2013), ‘Thinking Generations’, British Journal of Sociology 64 (2), pp.216-47.

White, Jonathan (2011) Political allegiance after European integration Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK. 

Academic staff working in this area