SOAS University of London

Department of Economics

Europe after Brexit

Various Speakers

Date: 21 September 2018Time: 8:30 AM

Finishes: 22 September 2018Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Paul Webley Wing (Senate House) Room: Refer to Programme

Type of Event: Conference

Europe after Brexit

Conference Programme

To reserve your place for the event, please contact Shehryar Qazi on as spaces are limited.

SOAS University of London / Department of Economics and School of Law

King’s College London / Department of European and International Studies

21-22 September 2018
Admission is free but space is limited. Please make sure that you rsvp via our Facebook Page

The Global Financial and Economic Crisis which began to unfold from late 2007 has deeply called into question the legitimacy of the institutions and putative values of the European Union. The Brexit vote, which should see the UK leave the EU in due course, represents a key turning point in this regard and raises fundamental questions about the future of Europe, with or without the EU.

This two-day Conference, co-ordinated by EReNSEP and organised by SOAS through the Department of Economics and the School of Law, and the Department of European and International Studies at King’s College London, aims to bring together academics from different disciplines and actors from campaigns and social movements across and around Europe to explore the key problems that face not just the EU but Europe more broadly, and to think through radical alternatives to the status quo.

In this regard, the Conference will involve a combination of diagnosis and prescription: an attempt to grasp the fundamental challenges facing the people of Europe in the coming years and to think through responses.

We have panels and roundtables on the following five themes:

  • Sovereignty versus the institutions of the European Union – What does national self-determination in actual practice mean for the citizens of the EU not least of those in its eastern and southern peripheries? What have been the results of superimposing supranational structures on national institutions that are supposedly to the embodiment of the will of a polity? How successfully has the EU managed this in-built incongruity and what are its future strategies? Can the ‘economic’ be ‘divorced’ from politics as simply a realm of technocratic expertise? With regards to these pressing concerns we welcome papers dissecting specific institutions forming the bedrock of the EU such as but not limited to the European Parliament, the European Commission, the European Central Bank, the European Monetary Union, the European Stability Mechanism, etc. Papers delving into the contradictory role of the Euro as the competitor against the dollar for “world money” status while deepening the core-periphery rift within the single currency area through neoliberal austerity policy management of sovereign debt crises are encouraged. 
  • Legality & The European Union - Given the basis of the European Union in international treaties and human rights law it is of necessity to develop critical legal perspective on the development and functioning of the institutions of jurisprudence and conflict resolution mechanisms within such a project. In specific relation to the institutions forming the legal pillars of the EU such as the European Court of Justice, we welcome papers broadly from but not limited to the fields of the philosophy of law, history of law, legal theory and critical legal studies. Critical perspectives on the philosophical assumptions and social contradictions of the doctrine of natural rights as a cornerstone for international human rights law are encouraged.
  • The national impacts of the project of “European integration”– As has become clear during the various sovereign debt bailout episodes as well as how leaders such as Merkel, Macron, Cameron, etc. position themselves domestically through their positions on the EU, the national outcomes of the EU project are diverse with a multiplicity of particularities developing directly from the institutional framework of the EU. It is then imperative that the forces seeking substantial transformation treat the manifold impacts which have arisen under unitary EU policies with precision in order to develop alternative policies at the domestic and international level. With this in mind we call for papers highlighting the country specific impacts of the evolution of the EU institutional framework since and during the post-2008 period. Papers studying the impact of the Two-pack, Six-Pack and Budgetary Pact on individual country trajectories, the impact of the Brexit negotiations, the Macron proposals for relaunching the EU amongst other such aspects are welcome. Submissions detailing the empirical concrete of the national terrains of politics upon which domestic and local alternative forces need to be articulated are encouraged.
  • “The centre cannot hold” – Today the rise of far right and “populist” backlash against the EU can be seen as the manifestation of the double movement against the free market. This has resulted in the rise of ultraconservative nationalisms and xenophobic movements being able to pit themselves as a worthy alternative as the political centre begins to lose legitimacy. What does the mainstream acceptance of once upon a time fringe right-wing movements mean for forces who seek a markedly different Europe? Papers focusing on the rise of far-right ultranationalist, populist and conservative movements across the EU are called for submission. Specific regard should be given to the institutional, economic, political and sociocultural setting within the EU upon which such hyper-nationalist forces have been able to build a base of support such as the National Front in France, Fidesz in Hungary and the Northern League in Italy. At the same time, the current legitimacy crisis for the centre also means new opportunities for the left. Therefore, we also call for papers assessing the prospects for and developing alternative policy frameworks as practical responses to the quagmire of neoliberal austerity, toxic levels of public and private debt, technocratic rule and market authoritarianism. 
  • Fortress Europe as a refuge from the wretched of the Earth? – The treatment of migrants in the European Union, the rise of xenophobia with the growth of the refugee crisis due to war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa and the lack of any systematic policy developed to tend to the plight of migrants and refugees suffering in the Global South brings into question the fundamental tenets of the European Union as a bastion of human rights and “European values” as enshrined in the founding Treaties of the EU. Our last theme then calls for papers from but not limited to the fields of migration studies, comparative immigration studies, the anthropology and sociology of migration as well as the international legal and policy frameworks that acts as an obstacle to the mobility of humans and reinforces the divide between the Global North and the Global South. Papers being submitted are encouraged to have a well-developed empirical focus on particular institutional policies, legal or social aspects (e.g. gender) of migration or the migrant tribulations. Case studies of specific geographical areas (e.g. Ceuta and Melilla) from which migrants have to pass through or endeavour to enter will also be accepted.

The Conference Programme for this event can viewed here.

Organiser: Costas Lapavitsas

Contact email:

Contact Tel: 020 7898 4538