Oriane Calligaro will give a keynote speech at the 15th HEIRS Conference (History of European Integration Research Network): “Experts, knowledge and the (de)legitimization of European politics” University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris, 23-24 May 2019 in the section “Academic institutions, research and education on the EC/EU”.
Since the beginning of the European integration process, decision-makers have worked closely with experts and researchers to formulate and implement policies. These actors can be considered as an integral part of European politics.
However, think tanks, expert groups and research services play an ambivalent role in policy-
making: on the one hand, they collaborate with politicians by helping them to provide
evidence and take informed decisions. They are supposed to be able to identify opportunities and risks of aspired policy goals, as well as to avoid unexpected outcomes of political decisions.
Moreover, expert knowledge, like other forms of legitimization such as transparency or
accountability, contributes to justify particular policies and political systems as a whole.
On the other hand, the influence of experts has also been criticized from various sides,
including by policy-making actors, the media or civil organisations. Such critique addresses the issue that experts are not democratically elected, that the expertise they produce is usually neither entirely detached from political issues nor always objective, and that at times they can pursue or represent personal interests, thus acting similar to lobbyists. Experts can hence also contribute to the delegitimization of politics.
The 15th HEIRS Conference aims to reassess the ambivalent role of experts and expert
knowledge in the history of European integration in the following areas:
1- Expertise as a form of (de)legitimization of European policies
2- Quantifying Europe
3- Academic institutions, research and education on the EC/EU: Since the late 1940s, different academic institutions with close links to the EC/EU were established. Examples are the College of Europe in Bruges (1949), the European University Institute (1976), and the College of Europe in Natolin (1992). We encourage contributions focusing on the development of such centers, on the creation of university courses and diplomas dedicated to the EU, and on research policies developed at the European level. What
were the driving forces and actors behind EU-focused teaching and research? What role did the EC/EU (and their individual institutions) play? And in how far did such research and education contribute to the (de)legitimization of European policies/policy-making?