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.
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.
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 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.
ESPOL-Lab launched an electoral sociology project, together with the Collectif de Recherche sur les Élections Municipales et Intercommunales (CREMI) and CERAPS (University of Lille), focussed on the 2020 local elections in the Hauts-de-France region.
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 18 faculty members working on the transformation of European and global politics: thirteen 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 eight 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.
More information can be found below
6 February 2020 – ESPOL inaugural conference
“Understanding world politics through bordering practices:
from the Caucasus to the Sahara‐Sahel”
Giulia Prelz Oltramonti – Maîtresse de conférences, ESPOL, Université Catholique de Lille
20 February 2020 – ESPOL seminar
“Politics of irrationality – emerging technologies and their publics”
Gabriel Dorthe – Postdoctoral researcher, ETHICS, Université Catholique de Lille
12 March 2020 – ESPOL seminar – [CANCELLED]
“The norm cluster of sustainability and the global regime complex for food: Norm interpretation and contestation among key international organizations”
Sandra SCHWINDENHAMMER – Assistant Professor, University of Giessen, Allemagne
19 March 2020 – ESPOL inaugural conference – [POSTPONED]
“Rethinking the political economy of food after the 2007/8 global financial crisis”
Elisa GRECO – Maîtresse de conférences, ESPOL, Université Catholique de Lille
24 March 2020 – ESPOL seminar – [POSTPONED]
« La guerre des philosophes, ou : La guerre peut-elle être un objet de la philosophie ? »
Thomas BERNS – Professeur de philosophie politique, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgique
26 March 2020 – ESPOL conference – [POSTPONED]
“Compromise and publicity in democracy”
Stéphanie NOVAK – Assistant Professor, Université Ca’ Foscari de Venise, Italie
9 April 2020 – ESPOL seminar – [POSTPONED]
« Vérité, science, pouvoir. Foucault historien des sciences »
Jérôme LAMY– Chargé de recherche, CNRS-CERTOP, Université Toulouse 2 Jean Jaurès
24 January 2019 – ESPOL seminar
“Weapons of Mass Destruction and Global Security”
Paolo Foradori – Associate Professor, University of Trento
7 February 2019 – ESPOL conference
“Quand l’Europe improvise. Dix ans de crises politiques”
Luuk van Middelaar – Université de Leiden
21 March 2019 – ESPOL conference
“1989-2019 : de Vaclav Havel à Viktor Orbàn.
De la démocratie libérale au national-populisme?”
Lukáš Macek – Sciences Po Dijon
11 April 2019 – ESPOL seminar
“Pour une sociologie des inégalités environnementales”
Valérie Deldrève – Directrice de la recherche, IRSTEA Bordeaux
9 September 2019 – ESPOL opening conference
“Comment revitaliser la démocratie à l’heure de la post-politique ?”
Chantal Mouffe – Professeure de théorie politique, University of Westminster
3 October 2019 – ESPOL seminar
“Towards an African organic model of agriculture?
Institutionalization’s path comparison between Uganda and Benin”
Pauline Bendjebbar – Université Paris Est Marne-la-Vallée et CIRAD
10 October 2019 – ESPOL seminar
“Pour une histoire globale conceptuelle de la Paix”
Thomas Hippler – Professeur d’histoire contemporaine, Université de Caen
24 October 2019 – ESPOL conference
“Populism and Euroscepticism”
Duncan McDonnell – Professor of Politics, Griffith University, Australia
7 November 2019 – ESPOL seminar
“Contributive justice and the importance of
inclusive agricultural innovation system”
Cristian Timmermann – Universidad de Chile, currently Hoover
fellow at the Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve
15 November 2019 – ESPOL-LAB seminar
“International Political Theory and Economy from Hobbes to Bentham”
Benjamin Bourcier – ESPOL
21 November 2019 – ESPOL conference
“French Foreign Policy and Identity, or the End of Gaullism?”
Falk Ostermann – Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, Germany
18 January 2018 – ESPOL seminar
“Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late! –
Popularity Gains as an Incentive to Legislate Frantically?”
Etienne Farvaque et Mamadou Boukari – LEM, Universités de Lille
25 January 2018 – ESPOL-LAB seminar
“La séquence électorale du printemps 2017”
“2017 : un nouveau système partisan ?”
Florent Gougou et Simon Persico – IEP de Grenoble
“2015-2017 : un retour à gauche des quartiers marginalisés ?”
Antoine Hardin – UVSQ
“Le vote FN de 1992 à aujourd’hui”
Joël Gambin – UPJV / Datactivi.st
25 January 2018 – ESPOL conference
“Constructivism and World Politics Today”
Oliver Kessler – Erfurt University
8 February 2018 – ESPOL seminar
“Quasi-states in IR”
Françoise Mengin – Researcher at CERI, Sciences Po Paris
15 February 2018 – ESPOL conference
“L’Europe face au défi de la mondialisation : de la crise pétrolière au marché unique (1973 – 1986) – Présentation de l’ouvrage « Governing Europe in a Globalizing World. Neoliberalism and its Alternatives following the 1973 Oil Crisis » (Routledge 2018)”
Laurent Warlouzet – Professeur d’Histoire, Université du Littoral-Côte d’Opale (ULCO)
29 March 2018 – ESPOL conference
“Les ressorts et limites de la primarisation de la vie politique française”
Rémi Lefebvre – Professeur de Science Politique, Université de Lille 2 (CERAPS)
28 September 2018 – ESPOL conference
“International Relations and Contemporary Global Problems”
Thomas J. Biersteker – Gasteyger Professor of International Security, Director, Policy Research, The Graduate Institute (Geneva)
4 October 2018 – ESPOL seminar
“Retour sur la sequence électorale française du printemps 2017”
Caterina Froio – Sciences Po Paris – Nonna Mayer – CNRS Sciences Po Paris – Julien Talpin – CNRS Université de Lille – Annie Laurent – CNRS Lille 2 – Clémentine Berjaud – Paris 1 – Panthéon Sorbonne – François Briatte et Giuila Sandri – ESPOL
29 November 2018 – ESPOL Conference
“China’s Outward Investment: Direct and Indirect Issues for Europe”
Jean-Marc Blanchard – Distinguished Professor, School of Advanced International and Areas Studies, East China Normal University (ECNU – Shanghai, China)