European Society

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.

Examples of Key Research Themes

Ideas and Images of Europe

Ideologies, parties and political movements

Ideas of political community and place


European identities

Religious belief and securalism


European Society Highlights

                                                    Political Allegiance after European Integration


White, Jonathan (2011) Political allegiance after European integration Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK. ISBN 9780230279780 

Decades of co-rule have left EU citizens with attachments more complex than labels like 'European' or 'national identity' would suggest. But what kind of ties should we be looking for? How can they be studied, and where does their democratic significance lie?

This book combines a conceptual elaboration of the political bond with a sociological study of commonsense suppositions, based on interviews with groups of taxi-drivers in Germany, Britain and the Czech Republic. The author investigates allegiance not in directly-solicited views on European matters but in the expectations and reference-points evoked spontaneously in political discussion. A willingness to take the transnational view on many issues is clear. But how those issues are understood raises doubts about their European dimensions and scepticism about the possibilities for addressing them. Without changes in the way politics is conceived, arguments for the European polity are likely to ring hollow, and with them the formal ties of EU citizenship.

Selected Recent Publications

Bryant, Rebecca (2014), 'Living with Liminality: De Facto States on the Threshold of the Global', Brown Journal of World Affairs, 20 (2). 

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

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. 

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

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.

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

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.

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


Quick Links

Staff in the European Institute working in this area include:

Research Associates

Doctoral Students

  • Nathan Charlton
  • Roch Dunin-Wasowicz
  • Zoe Gardner
  • Bjarke Hansen
  • Lise Herman
  • Giulia Pastorella
  • Maria Werdine-Norris
  • Fabio Wolkenstein
  • Paula Zoido Oses

Recent Past Doctorates

  • Joseph Downing
  • Bryon Fong
  • Oisin Keohane
  • Margarita Markoviti 
  • Ronan McCrea