The ESPOL-LAB Research Centre for European and International Politics is composed of a team of researchers analysing public decision-making processes and contemporary transformations in the political sphere. Questioning the boundaries of politics and the relationship between politics and society is at the heart of ESPOL-LAB’s scientific project. What is the actual impact of political decision-making? What are its drivers? To what extent do policies still refer to the regulation of society?
The apparent fragility of the contemporary state, in conjunction with the fragmentation of identities, growing globalisation of economies, and the emergence of new forms of violence highlight the difficulty of organising social relations and giving meaning to societal life. Yet, while the modern state may no longer be seen as the exclusive framework within which common rules are developed and transformed, it nevertheless retains an unparalleled appeal and ability to guide and organise societies.
In this context, ESPOL-LAB research aims to help inform political decision-making processes, their normative underpinnings and the constraints they face, also including their continuously transforming relations to territory and violence. Our research team is composed of specialists in various political science fields, such as public policies, international relations, comparative politics, history of political ideas, and political theory.
1) The quality of democracy
Representative democracy has been put to the test for several decades, in Europe as in the rest of the world. Understanding the multifaceted causes of this crisis is one of the major challenges of social sciences and, more particularly, of contemporary political science. The role of political parties and governments is changing. In a globalized world, the position of nation states, including in the European Union is evolving. The forms and arenas of political participation are diversifying. The rise of so-called ‘populist’ movements challenges the political elites.
Based on a reflection of the fundamental principles of democracy, this thematic research area aims to analyse the formal and procedural conditions of democracy, the capacity of political institutions to meet these criteria as well as the causes and consequences of democratic transformation. The research conducted on these issues goes beyond a strictly legalistic reading of democratic rules to include a theoretical reflection on the criteria of good governance with an empirical analysis of political processes.
Using the tools of political philosophy, political sociology and public policy analysis, the work of this research area focuses specifically on:
– political representation, such as elections, parties and parliaments,
– new spaces of democracy, especially economic democracy,
2) Reconfigurations of the International
This ESPOL-LAB research area explores the contemporary transformations of the international stage. The latter is traditionally understood as an abstract space without an own territory where political and social phenomena would evolve either completely outside the state or between states. The International can however also be understood as a certain regime of limits, historically contingent, articulated around the spatial division between the internal and the external. From this, a whole series of normative and structuring distinctions of political practice and the very understanding of politics could be elaborated: a distinction between the citizen and the foreigner, between domestic and foreign policy, between crime and war, between the criminal and the enemy, between internal security and national defence, between the police and the armed forces etc.
The International has always been put to the test and also has continuously been transformed in the process of global integration, as suggested in the literature about the advent of a ‘global and borderless world’. Yet, the International has never totally dissolved in ‘world politics’ that would disregard or override the states. Rather than disappearing, the State is being transformed and, in this context, the International is also undergoing a transformation.
This third research area analyses the contemporary reconfigurations of the International.In a critical and reflexive perspective, these research works particularly question the reorientation of the historical construction of the modern state, the evolving notions of space, borders and the enemy, the contested (and yet continually reaffirmed) procedures of legitimising state sovereign authority and the transformation of the conditions for the exercise of violence.
The topics that drive the work of this research area are in particular:
– international security and regional and international security organisations,
– armed conflicts, war and military strategy,
– terrorism and anti-terrorism.
3) Politics of the Anthropocene
The Anthropocene denotes a new geological epoch in the Earth’s history in which humans have become the main drivers of planetary-wide changes. Climate change, biodiversity loss, desertification, ocean acidification, plastic seas, overexploitation of natural resources, and other problems prompted by capitalist globalisation accumulation endanger the habitability of the planet. It characterises a fundamental change in the human-environment relation, as the human species dominates over biological and geological processes on Earth. This in turn points to the political and social implications of the Anthropocene concept.
In our work, we focus, first, on the politics of the Anthropocene from different perspectives. The changing relations of nature and society shed light on the acceleration of contradictions and dualist divisions as a way of organising these relations under capitalist conditions (e.g. North/South, nature/culture, men/women, us/them, human/non-human). The idea of the Anthropocene brings to the fore the political necessity for thinking our relations to the environment in the era of advanced capitalism, or Capitalocene. This second strand of work focuses on politics for the Anthropocene. In response to the challenges of the Anthropocene, human societies must question power relations and rethink their principles and practices in order to navigate away from critical tipping points in planetary natures.
The work of this research area focusses on the Politics of and for the Anthropocene, including:
– social and political responses to the environmental crisis,
– current food systems and alternative food systems,
– visions and pathways towards collective change, relating to sustainable development and radical reorganisation of nature-society relationships.
The ActEU project studies the decline of political trust and legitimacy in Europe. It focuses on the interactions between citizens’ political attitudes, their political participation and the representation of their political preferences. This 3-year project (March 2023-February 2026) is funded by the European Commission under the Horizon Europe programme (Research and Innovation Actions).
The CCS Candidate Benchmarking Survey is a joint multinational project whose objective is to collect data on candidates for national parliamentary elections in different countries using a common core questionnaire to allow comparisons between countries. The data collection includes candidate surveys as well as relevant contextual information about the candidate’s constituency and the political system as a whole.
Sarah Perret (ESPOL, Université catholique de Lille) is a member of the Management Committee of DATAMIG, a COST Action aiming at supporting interdisciplinary research into the ways that the technological materialities inherent to the datafication of migration and border control may, on account of their black-boxed design, reproduce patterns of inclusion and exclusion that have already severely affected society.
This network’s aim is to analyse political parties in digital age. The main overarching questions are to what extent is there such thing as “digital parties” and if so, what is it and how does it differ from other parties. Furthermore, the degree of (organisational) transformation (or lack of it) of parties in the digital age is a focus of the network.
The Groupement d’Intérêt Scientifique (GIS) « Euro-Lab » – Réseau interdisciplinaire de recherche sur l’Union européenne (Scientific Interest Group – Interdisciplinary Research Network on the European Union), lead by the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, the CNRS, the University of Strasbourg, and supported by 24 other partner universities and Grandes Écoles throughout France, including ESPOL, is a large research network whose purpose is to federate all academics in the humanities and social sciences who work on the European Union.
JUSTCONSERVATION is a 3-year research project led by ESPOL and funded by the Centre for the Synthesis and Analysis of Biodiversity (CESAB) of the French Foundation for Research on Biodiversity (FRB).
ESPOL-LAB is a partner in the Just-Scapes project, a 3-year project coordinated by the University of East Anglia and funded by the Pan-European intergovernmental Joint Programming Initiative Climate(JPI Climate) as part of its SOLSTICE progamme.
ESPOL is involved in the NETCONF project (Networks & Scientific Congresses) launched in 2019 and co-sponsored with CRIEF (University of Poitiers) and CNRS. Thanks to funding from the Groupement d’Intérêt Scientifique (GIS) Réseau URFIST and the CNRS, NETCONF brings together 7 institutions with the objective of characterising the effect that congresses can have on the dynamics of scientific networks and their internationalisation.
ESPOL-LAB participates in the ‘Collaborative Observatory on Terrorism, Anti-Terrorism and Violence’ (O.C.T.A.V.). This is an initiative of scientists from various disciplinary backgrounds, supported and funded by LabToP-CRESPPA-Paris8-CNRS, ESPOL-ICL, REPI-ULB and CERI-SciencesPo/CNRS.
PEOPLE2022 (“Electoral behaviour and political opinions of citizens in the 2022 French presidential elections”) is a research project funded by the “Ambroise” research grants of the Université catholique de Lille, ESPOL and the CERAPS research centre of the University of Lille. The project explores French citizens’ participation in electoral campaigns on online and offline media as well as media’s influence on their voting behaviour in the context of (post) health crisis. The project entails the quantitative analysis of online media content, an online survey and exit polls.
ESPOL-LAB is a partner in the RECONNECT (Reconciling Europe with its Citizens through Democracy and the Rule of Law) project. This 4-year multi-disciplinary project funded by the European Union under the framework programme H2020.
ESPOL-LAB is involved since late 2020 in the “Semences paysannes” (“Farmer’s seeds”) project alongside Bio en Grand Est and ARDEAR Grand-Est. Funded by Agence de l’eau Seine Normandie for a durationof 3 years, the project aims to contribute to the preservation of water resources by changing agricultural practices through the development of farmer seeds as mean to save water.
SPRING, the Sport and Politics Research International Network Group, was officially founded on 22 October 2021 to analyse how sport interacts with issues of politics. Its founding symposium “Global Issues and Sport” paved the way for exporing the questions of climate change and greenwashing in sports, of sports and human rights, of sports and globalisation, and other topics.
Electoral Participation, Lists and Candidates in the North [of France] – 2020
The PELICAN project (“Electoral Participation in the Lille Metropolis”) is a research project funded by ESPOL, the school of political science of the Catholic University of Lille, and the CERAPS research lab of the University of Lille. Thr PELICAN team was part of the lager national research group « Collectif de Recherche sur les Élections Municipales et Intercommunales (CREMI) » (Research Collective on Municipal and Intercommunal Elections). The project aimed to examine the composition of the electoral lists of municipalities in the Hauts-de-France region, and to study both the determinants of voter turnout and abstention in this election. This research agenda evolved due to the health crisis overlapping with the project period.
Project “Farmer-led strategies to resist factory farming in the Global South”
Dr Brendan Coolsaet (ESPOL) and Dr Kristin Reynolds (The New School / Yale University) were awarded a grant by Tiny Beam Fund, a private US-based foundation, in 2019 for the “Farmer-led strategies to resist factory farming in the Global South” project.
The research project was about understanding the dynamics of small-scale and industrial livestock production in emerging economies such as Brazil, India, and China, as well as regions of the world that have traditionally received less attention in ‘pro-poor’ agricultural development, such as parts of West Africa or East Africa.
Project “Reviving democratic participation in Europe: lessons from the crisis”
Professor Michael Holmes (Liverpool Hope University) completed a research stay at ESPOL-LAB, funded by the Regional Council Nord-Pas de Calais under their ‘Invited researchers’ programme. During his stay in Lille throughout the year 2017, Michael Holmes pursued a project on the impact of the Euro crisis on political parties as agents of democratic participation. Results of this work is an edited volume (to be published by Manchester University Press) to which Julien Navarro and Antonella Seddone contributed, and to the organisation of an international conference on Brexit in November 2017. Michael Holmes continues to collaborate with ESPOL-LAB as associate researcher.
Project “Between personalization and democratization”
From September 2015 to August 2017, ESPOL-LAB hosted a post-doctoral researcher, Antonella Seddone, to conduct her research project ‘Between personalization and democratization: the changing role of members within political parties’. As part of the ESPOL-LAB research area ‘Quality of democracy’, this project was funded under the programme ‘Accueil de Jeunes Chercheurs 2015’ by the Conseil Régional Nord – Pas de Calais. During her stay at ESPOL, the post-doctoral researcher published widely in collaboration with members of the research unit, especially with Giulia Sandri. Antonella Seddone continues to work with several colleagues as an associate researcher of ESPOL-LAB.
The ESPOL-LAB team consists of twenty-one faculty members working on the transformation of European and global politics: eighteen Associate professors, a Professor (HDR), a Lecturer, three Post-doctoral researchers. ESPOL-LAB is headed by Sabine Weiland (Director) and Thierry Chopin (Deputy Director).
ESPOL has also ten associate researchers. We welcome applications of interested researchers to become associated with ESPOL.
ESPOL-LAB is member of the ECPR (European Consortium for Political Research), the principal political science research network in Europe. The ESPOL-LAB team supports the Revue Internationale de Politique Comparée and the Politique européenne journal.
ESPOL welcomes researchers to become associated with the School and, more specifically, with ESPOL-LAB, our Research Centre. The association of researchers serves the purpose of enriching the academic and intellectual life at ESPOL. We invite researchers with a scientific profile matching the research topics pursued at ESPOL to join us as associate researchers. To be eligible, researchers have to maintain a working relationship (e.g. a joint piece of research, writing project etc.) with one or more members of ESPOL-LAB prior to their association.
More information can be found below
29-30 March 2023 – Study Day
« Philosophie et théorie politiques (des relations) internationales »
Thierry BALZACQ – CERI – SciencesPo – Adrien SCHU – Université de Bordeaux – Thomas LINDEMANN – Université Versailles Saint-Quentin – R.B.J. WALKER – University of Victoria (BC, Canada) – Ninon GRANGÉ – Université de Paris VIII – Benjamin BOURCIER – ESPOL – Julie SAADA – Ecole de droit – SciencesPo – Valéry PRATT – EHESS – Thomas HIPPLER – Université de Caen – Institut pour la Paix – Janis GRZYBOWSKI – ESPOL – Philippe BONDITTI – ESPOL
29 March 2023 – Keynote Address
“International, Political, Theoretical. On the Theory of the Modern International”
R.B.J. WALKER – University of Victoria, Canada
27 April 2023 – ESPOL Seminar general
“Saving popular sovereignty from a slow death in the EU”
Jan Pieter BEETZ – Université of Utrecht, The Netherlands
4 May 2023 – ESPOL Seminar general
“Political ethnography of Lega and Rassemblement National and local power”
Elisa BELLÉ – Sciences Po
7-8 September 2023: ESPOL-Lab Academic Conference
“Rugby and World War 1 – An Unbreakable Bond”
Michael HOLMES – Université catholique de Lille / ESPOL, France ; Albert GRUNDLINGH – Stellenbosch University, South Africa ; Guillaume VILLEMOT – Le Tribut de la Nation – Mémoires de Rugby 2023 ; Philip DINE – University of Galway, Ireland ; Joris VINCENT – Université de Lille, France ; Arnaud WAQUET – Université de Lille, France ; Greg RYAN – Lincoln University, New Zealand ; Robert DEWEY – De Pauw University, Indiana, United States of America; Dale BLAIR – Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Canberra, Australia; Lydia FURSE – De Montfort University & Consult.ltd, United Kingdom; Rob HESS – Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia; Jake LAWTON – Liverpool Hope University, United Kingdom; Gethin MATTHEWS – Swansea University, United Kingdom; Liam O’CALLAGHAN – Liverpool Hope University, United Kingdom; Philippe DIEST – Université Catholique de Lille / FLSH, France; John KELLY – Edinburgh University, United Kingdom.
22 September 2023, 16:00-18:00: ESPOL Opening Conference
« Dans les coulisses d’une Commission Européenne politique »
Frédéric MÉRAND, Université de Montréal, Canada
28 September 2023, 14:00-16:00: ESPOL-Lab Research Seminar
“Party Politics in the Digital Age”
Ramón VILLAPLANA JIMÉNEZ, University of Murcia, Spain / ESPOL, Université catholique de Lille
5 October 2023, 16:00-18:00: Inaugural Lecture
“Lawyering imperial encounters. Negotiating Africa’s relationship with the world economy” Sara DEZALAY, ESPOL, Université catholique de Lille
12 October 2023, 14:00-16:00: ESPOL-Lab Research Seminar
« La sociologie du droit existe-t-elle ? »
Olivier CORTEN, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
9 November 2023, 14:00-16:00: ESPOL-Lab Conference
« Le christianisme politique en Europe »
Daniel-Louis SEILER, Sciences Po Aix, France
16 November 2023, 14:00-16:00: ESPOL-Lab Research Seminar
“Data Colonization in India”
Pratiksha ASHOK, Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium
14 December 2023, 14:00-16:00: ESPOL-Lab Conference
“Social Europe. Irrelevant, catching-up, or dangerous? A reassessment against the background of the just transition”
Amandine CRESPY, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
20 January 2022 – ESPOL Seminar
“The UN SDGs and food system transformation”
Sabine WEILAND – ESPOL, Université catholique de Lille
3 February 2022 – ESPOL Conference
« No Demos, souveraineté et démocratie à l’épreuve de l’Europe »
Céline SPECTOR – Sorbonne Université
24 February 2022 – ESPOL Conference
“The politics of (non)knowledge at Europe’s borders: Errors, fakes and subjectivity”
Sarah PERRET – King’s College London, United Kingdom
3 March 2022 – ESPOL Seminar
“Europeanisation of digital health policies in France, Austria, and Ireland”
Chloé BERUT – Laboratoire Printemps, DREES (Ministère des Solidarités et de la Santé)
9 March 2022 – ESPOL Seminar
“Climate change and security. Administrations facing the global and uncertainty”
Sofia KABBEJ – University of Queensland, Australia
17 March 2022 – ESPOL Conference
“Populist radical right parties in Europe and Latin America”
Lisa ZANOTTI ANDERLONI – Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago de Chile, Chile
24 March 2022 – ESPOL Seminar
« Une perspective wébérienne de l’articulation empirie et théorie »
Béatrice HIBOU – Sciences Po Paris, CERI
22 September 2022 – ESPOL Conference
“Prussian Marseillaise: French Intellectuals and the Second Cold War”
Grey ANDERSON – École Polytechnique, Paris
6 October 2022 – ESPOL Inaugural Lecture
“A Culture of Cakeism: Why do Brexiters and Rejoiners Misunderstand the EU?”
Andrew GLENCROSS – ESPOL, Université catholique de Lille
20-21 October 2022 – Inaugural Symposium of the Institut Pour la Paix
« Les paix en conflit ? »
Closing lecture on 21 October, by Étienne BALIBAR – Professor Emeritus, Université Paris Nanterre
3 November 2022 – ESPOL Seminar
« La figure du paysan. La ferme, l’AMAP et la politique »
Romuald BOTTE, AMAP des Weppes & Bruno VILLALBA, laboratoire Printemps, AgroParisTech
24 November 2022 – ESPOL Conference
« La justice sociale dans l’Union Européenne »
Mathilde UNGER – Université de Strasbourg
28 January 2021 – ESPOL Conference
“Beyond populism: Critical reflections on the debate about populism”
Benjamin DE CLEEN – Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
11 February 2021 – ESPOL Seminar
“The European Union in the Sahel: Projecting stability, transforming the region”
Edoardo BALDARO – Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
4 March 2021 – ESPOL Conference
“Diplomatic courtship and contestation in EU-Russia relations”
Anna-Sophie MAASS – University of Lancaster, United Kingdom
18 March 2021 – ESPOL Conference
“Harassment in Politics. The character, explanations and impact of political harassment”
Karina KOSIARA-PEDERSEN – University of Copenhagen, Denmark
15-16 April 2021 – ESPOL Symposium
“The Making of Modern International Realm: T. Hobbes to J. Bentham”
Benjamin BOURCIER – ESPOL, Université Catholique de Lille, France
Mikko JAKONEN – University of Jyväskylä, Finlande
6 May 2021 – ESPOL Seminar
“Militer, soulager, humilier, injurier :
Regards sur le rire politique en France lors des élections présidentielles de 2017”
Guillaume GRIGNARD – Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
23 September 2021 – ESPOL Seminar
“Framing Covid-19: Crises narratives and Europeanization in French, German and Swedish public discourse”
Tatiana COUTTO – Centre for European Studies and Comparative Politics (CEE), Sciences Po Paris, France
30 September 2021 – ESPOL Conference (online)
“Continuation or change? Germany after the Federal Elections”
Stephan BUKOW – Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, Berlin, Germany
14 October 2021 – ESPOL Inaugural Lecture (online)
“Making moral migration policies”
Shoshana FINE – ESPOL, Université Catholique de Lille, France
21 October 2021 – ESPOL Seminar
“Face à la nécessaire adaptation aux bouleversements de notre monde – Climat / biodiversité / géopolitique / technologie : Les défaillances de l’organisation institutionnelle française”
Thomas WERQUIN – urban planner and teaching assistant at ESPOL, Université Catholique de Lille, France
18 November 2021 – ESPOL Seminar
“Book launch: “Rewriting Histories of the Use of Force.” Cambridge University Press 2021”
Agatha VERDEBOUT – ESPOL, Université Catholique de Lille, France
25 November 2021 – ESPOL Conference (online)
“Book launch and panel discussion: “Digital parties. The Challenges of Online Organisation and Participation.” Springer 2021”
Giulia SANDRI – ESPOL, Université Catholique de Lille, France and guests