European Identity

From the Mediterranean Crisis to Brexit: transformations and challenges of citizens' European identity

This talk explored the nature of European identity and empirically assessed how widespread it is and what it means to citizens. It also discussed the consequences of European identity on European solidarity, on the split of European societies, and on the transforming nature of protest and Euroscepticism across our continent.  From reactions to the Greek crisis to the vote of a majority of British people to leave the European Union, plenty have questioned whether recurrent crises have betrayed the failed emergence of a European identity. Yet, a third of British people - and half of those aged 18-25 - declared to have tears in their eyes when they discovered the results of the Brexit referendum.

Speaker: Michael Bruter, Professor of Political Science and European Politics, LSE
Chair: Kevin Featherstone, Kevin Featherstone, Eleftherios Venizelos Professor of Contemporary Greek Studies; Hellenic Observatory Director
Discussant: Effie Fokas, Senior Research Fellow at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy
Date: Thursday 17 January 2019
Time: 19:00-20:30
Venue:  Megaron Karatza, Aiolou 82, 105 51 Athens, Greece


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Michael Bruter is Professor of political science at the LSE and Director of the Electoral Psychology Observatory. He has developed a distinguished research profile in the sub-field of voters’ psychology, political behaviour, and political science research methods. Bruter has been the recipient of over €5 million in research grants from large external funding bodies such as the ERC and the ESRC for frontier-breaking projects. Recent examples include a new ERC Advanced Grant to study electoral hostility (why people hate each other because of elections and how to resolve the resulting rifts), a ‘Proof of Concept’ grant to improve the satisfaction and turnout of first-time voters through field experiments in collaboration with Electoral Commissions, and a study of electoral psychology in over 20 countries which has encompassed a broad range of innovative quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Bruter has also served as expert witness on cases pertaining to voters’ psychology tried by the Irish High Court and Irish Supreme Court, given keynote speeches to the EU-Canada meeting on youth participation, the Council of Europe-European Commission cross-group on young voters, events at the European Parliament and the House of Lords, and advised and worked with multiple Electoral Commissions (UK, South Africa, Georgia, Palestinian Territories, Mauritius, etc). Bruter’s latest book, co-authored with Sarah Harrison is entitled “Inside the Mind of a Voter” and will be published by Princeton University Press in 2019. He has also published another seven books, and numerous articles in such journals as Comparative Political Studies, Public Choice, Nature: Human Behaviour, American Behavioural Scientist, Journal of Common Market Studies, Journal of European Public Policy, etc and numerous chapters and other publications, focused on topics within the fields of voters’ psychology, political behaviour, identity, and social science research methods.



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Effie Fokas is Principal Investigator of the European Research Council-funded project on Grassroots Mobilisations in the Shadow of European Court of Human Rights Religious Freedoms Jurisprudence (Grassrootsmobilise), based at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), where Dr. Fokas is a Senior Research Fellow. She was founding Director of the London School of Economics Forum on Religion and is currently Research Associate of the LSE Hellenic Observatory. Her background is in political science and she holds a PhD in political sociology from the London School of Economics. Her publications include Islam in Europe: Diversity, Identity and Influence, co-edited with Aziz Al-Azmeh, and Religious America, Secular Europe? A Theme and Variations, co-authored with Peter Berger and Grace Davie, The European Court of Human Rights and Minority Religions, co-edited with James T. Richardson, and over 40 articles and book chapters exploring the intersections between religion, on the one hand, and politics, law, human rights, nationalism, national identity, and European identity, on the other.


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Kevin Featherstone is Eleftherios Venizelos Professor in Contemporary Greek Studies and Professor in European Politics. He is the Director of the Hellenic Observatory and Co-Chair of LSEE: Research on South-East Europe within the European Institute. He has held visiting positions at the University of Minnesota; New York University; and Harvard University.  Before LSE, he held academic posts at the universities of Stirling and Bradford.  In 2009-10 he served on an advisory committee to Prime Minister George Papandreou for the reform of the Greek government.  He was the first foreign member of the National Council for Research and Technology (ESET) in Greece, serving from 2010-2013.  He is Vice-Chair of the Academic Council of 'Atomium Culture', Brussels, a not-for-profit promoting collaboration within the European Research Area.  In 2013 he was made ‘Commander: Order of the Phoenix’ by the President of the Hellenic Republic.  In 2014, the European Parliament selected one of his books (co-authored with Kenneth Dyson) as one of its ‘100 Books on Europe to Remember’. He has contributed regularly to ‘Kathimerini’.