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‘Amphis de l’Europe’ programme
The ‘Amphis de l’Europe’ (Lectures on Europe) are based on existing organisation and structures.The cross-sectoral nature of this programme was recognised by its incorporation into operation 8, ‘Political Spheres’, of the LabEx SMS for 2014-2017. This programme is also supported by the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence.
While the IRDEIC’s research on internormativity (Resoc+ programme) led to the recognition that, beyond a single theoretical approach, the professional practice of law should be looked at in its European dimension, obstacles have been highlighted in this regard which convey the limits of a single legal approach on the European project.
Other disciplines are thus required to be cross-referenced in order to understand the social representations of law professionals and subjects.
In this regard an interdisciplinary study is required that brings together jurists, political commentators, law historians, geographers, sociologists, psychologists and economists for the development of a common investigation into what is ‘Europe’. Accordingly, two IRDEIC teams took up this gauntlet and formed this programme, which is coordinated by Sylvaine Peruzzetto (LIEu) and Laure Clément-Wiltz (CEDRE).
Meetings with partners of other disciplines (A) finally enabled the formalisation of a long-lasting cooperation through the creation of the ‘Amphis de l’Europe’ in 2013 (B).


The first meeting was general in nature with the aim of identifying the disciplines, their approaches, the demarcation of their topic and their methods.
A situational analysis was organised for the first conference on 21 March 2011:
‘Europe, the renewed subject of social sciences – a situational analysis by geographers, historians and jurists’.
This first conference led to the formulation of a protocol for two-stage meetings: one for deciding a topic and its different approaches, the second for a conference followed by a publication.
In this respect, a symposium was held on 23 November 2012 entitled ‘Constructing European citizenry’ (Peter Lang 2013) and another on 21 March 2014, ‘Reflections on the borders of Europe’ (pending publication by Peter Lang).
The next theme chosen looked at the crisis of Europe and in Europe (June 2014).


The importance and interest for the cross-sectoral works of the programme has led to the institutionalisation of the ‘Amphis de l’Europe’ group. Through this common banner, the group wants to portray its universal character, the importance of the exchanges and the plurality of perspectives and contributions.

Philosophy of the programme:

The European project has been the subject of many, often virulent debates between specialists and the public over the last twenty years
For some, the multi-layered word ‘Europe’ permits very different definitions and tests the possibility of laying down a single European history; for others, recent changes (fall of the Berlin wall, growing competences of the European institutions, expansion of the union, globalisation) provoke questions and concerns to which researchers in human and social sciences are called upon to answer.
The ‘Amphis de l’Europe’ programme seeks to initiate a reflection on the issue of a Europe from a global perspective, without reducing it to just the European Union.
The studied objective aims especially to avoid the perceived wisdom that the founding fathers of the EEC began the European project, and thus rethink Europe in its entire complexity while showing that a European ‘script’ of Europe is possible.
The goal of the European Union is today to build a single political society, capable of extending an integration that has been based until now only on material issues.
The theme of identity is therefore important, and encompasses human and social sciences in the reflection on our European future and our common past.
Yet, legacies are not simple to handle because that past cannot be solely relied on, the part left in the shadows has to be taken into account, unless we only want to practice rote regurgitation or a negotiated forgetfulness.
With this in mind, various researchers in human and social sciences have decided to exchange viewpoints in order to expand their insight into the European project which has, until now, only focused on certain aspects of its progress.
The objective is to address the research methods of each discipline and assess the parallel studies ready to be incorporated for the benefit of all.
This idea has been supported and encouraged by Toulouse Capitole University and Toulouse 2 Jean Jaurès University, culminating in the collaboration of these universities’ laboratories, IRDEIC and FRAMESPA.
Both had already contributed heavily to active research on the European phenomenon.
With a starting point of law and history, this common will lead to a first inter-university meeting at Toulouse-Le Mirail University on 25 March 2011.
This initial meeting was to guide a cross-sectoral reflection on the very subject of ‘Europe’.
In addition to the participants concerned from UT Capitole and UT2, the larger audience from the two universities gave extra expectation to future fruitful meetings.
Indeed, this momentum has continued at an annual rhythm.
The success of this nascent Toulouse group of experts on Europe has gradually expanded to other human and social sciences, firstly political science (IEP Toulouse and LAASP) and geography (UT2, LISST), two disciplines that are at the apex of European research.
These meetings concerning the primary issues for researchers on Europe, whether they are specialists in law, geography (LISST), sociology (CERTOP), political science (LAASP), or history (FRAMESPA), have culminated every year in published works.
Changes to the framework of cooperation:
In the future, the objective could be to enrich the debates by inviting specialists from European universities, while in keeping with the multidisciplinary approach that underpins the seminars and the ‘Amphis de l’Europe’ group.
Likewise, its opening to civil society should not be forgotten as civil society was the first motivation for the project and it would provide a larger dissemination of the debates, both within the universities and beyond, in public spaces conducive to exchange.
The ‘Amphis de l’Europe’ have already collaborated with citizen groups, ‘Faisons l’Europe’ and the ‘Jeunes Européens en Midi-Pyrénées’ as well as Maison de l’Europe.
In this context, the proceedings of the following symposia are expected to be published and translated.

Choice of topics:

The topic chosen for 2015, with a symposium held in September, was:
Use and representations of crises in Europe.

Overall issue:

The term crisis is often associated with Europe, as if Europe were only one continuous crisis or a succession of them.
It is true that Europe’s history does present a succession of crises of varying types, more or less strung together.
  • Can Europe be depicted by presenting it as a long process strewn with crises from which Europe always manages to extricate itself?
  • Can Europe be represented as a process that requires crises and thus they are inherently linked?
  • Is the results-based representation of a Europe that has survived all setbacks the reason that crises are so inseparable from Europe?
  • Is it possible to speak about Europe without evoking the term crisis?
  • Is it possible to think about Europe at its birth and in its development without the crisis?
  • Is the crisis in Europe of a specific nature?
  • Does Europe make crises familiar, even necessary?
  • How does the particular period accentuate a crisis?
  • Should Europe be delineated into the long-, medium- and short-term to see how the crisis forms part of it?
  • How does the particular sphere contribute to the crisis?
  • Should the enlargement of the European Union (German reunification, gradual expansion, Turkish question) and spatial reductions of different European actions (enhanced cooperation) be considered?
  • Do globalisation and free trade impact the European project of free trade and coordination?
  • How does a state’s crisis interact with a European crisis since Europe is made up of states?
  • How does the dismantling of the nation and the holding of public power affect Europe?
  • How does the particular level (local, regional, national, European, global) of research account for Europe?
  • Are western disenchantment (rise in technical skills, end of myths, end of liberalism, etc.) and the desire of re-enchantment through Europe as a common peace and cooperation project connected to the European crisis?
  • Is the crisis a means to grasp the changes within a continuum or does crisis signify a break, a change of the paradigm?
  • Should crisis be distinguished from the necessary changes in Europe and thought of as a process for continual progress, change or evolution?
  • If the etymological origins of the word refer to judgements and decisions to separate between several opposed positions or trends, then what are the crises in Europe?
  • Which crises, which causes, which responses and developments, what adequacy of response and which assessments of response?
  • Can crises be classified by their causes?
  • Governance crisis (referendum, rejection of supranationalism, etc.)?
  • Political crisis (ECD defeat, empty chair policy, end of cold war; national crises and European crisis; foreign policy/position in contemporary conflicts, etc.)?
  • Economic crisis (oil prices, energy resources, growth, etc.)?
  • Financial crisis (European budget, etc.)?
  • Environmental crisis (Europe alone cannot do anything)?
  • Geopolitical crisis (repercussions of German reunification, fall of the wall, etc.)?
  • The geopolitical crisis is also external to the EU and begs the question of Europe’s position among the United States, Russia and China as well as in relation to terrorist networks like Al-Qaeda.
  • Disenchantment crisis (end of myths and rise of rationality and technocracy, end of forgiveness myth, etc.)?
  • Ideological crisis (end of liberalism / welfare state / communist model, etc.)?
  • Crisis of ties (Franco-German, Franco-British, Anglo-German)?
  • Crisis of the state (weakening of the state through ceding sovereignty to private sector or sharing it with Europe, and no longer holding sovereignty over its debt and deficits)?
  • Global crisis encompassing all?
  • Can the responses to crises be classified and assessed?
  • Formal or informal responses?
  • Institutional or para-institutional responses, monitoring of procedures or creation of new ones?
  • Type of text (hard or soft law)?
  • Appeal to third parties?
  • Can the crisis be a model of governance?
  • Has Europe given a new concept of crisis?
  • Does the crisis contribute to the creation of a new integration model (citizens, civil society, principles, methods, etc.)?


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