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Embedding European identity in context: changing social solidarities in Europe
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Human Work Science.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2350-2623
2008 (English)In: Dilemmas for Human Services 2008: 12th International Research Conference Changing Contexts and Dilemmas for the Human services, University of East London, UK 11th – 12th September 2008, London: University of East London , 2008Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper is concerned with contributing to an understanding of challenges facing an enlarged European Union, with a focus on issues of social cohesion and solidarity, linked to the idea of a European identity. This is of considerable importance at the present time as changes in lifestyle, immigration patterns, variations in culture and societal trends suggest a widening of differences - between nation states and within their regions - across Europe. Yet, as argued in this paper, it is in the very character of the tensions that the opportunity to build solidarity and achieve integration lie. Recent debates on the concept of democracy indicate a growing intellectual gulf between those, such as Habermas (1995), who seek democratic consensus, and those like Mouffe (1997) who seek acknowledgement of social and political conflict in a political context pervaded by an insistent neo-liberalism. Indeed, approaches from managerial and political elites, in offering top-down prescriptions for change (Pollitt and Bouckaert 2000, Hood 1995), fail to engage employees and electorates lower down the chain. This results in a mismatch with considerable consequences, since it elides the issue of involvement central to decision making in a democratic public sector. Little wonder perhaps that the new public management reforms have been contested (Barry, Chandler and Berg 2007) and political endeavour met with electoral apathy and a concomitant rise in social movement activity (Todd and Taylor 2004: 3) as those in civil society seek to make their oppositional voices heard, suggesting the need to take account of those involved since neo-liberalism is an incomplete project (Clarke 2004)It is accordingly contended that sustainable social solidarity in an enlarged Europe will be built by those who, directly or indirectly, it will affect. The challenge is, therefore, to engage with the ‘contested terrains' (Ellison 2007) embedded within the social processes and networks of European civil society in ‘conflictual democracy' (Balibar 2004:x). In this way, solidarity and integration will take embedded root within a plurality of diverse societies, with conflict resolution transparent and worked through in real-time. Recognition that nineteenth and twentieth century social policy and welfare provision were the fruit not necessarily of elite concession in order to maintain control (Saville 1957-8) but of agonistic labour movement struggle achieved at a price (Thompson 1958), indicates where to look today for the new drivers of social policy: partly through ‘governance' (Newman 2004: 203, 217), but also the autonomous organs of civil society in the guise of new social movements. It is this that the paper explores

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: University of East London , 2008.
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Research subject
Gender and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-32538Local ID: 71043930-8b11-11dd-8c36-000ea68e967bOAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-32538DiVA, id: diva2:1005772
Conference
Dilemmas for Human Services : 11/09/2008 - 12/09/2008
Note
Godkänd; 2008; 20080925 (elbe)Available from: 2016-09-30 Created: 2016-09-30 Last updated: 2018-05-18Bibliographically approved

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Berg, Elisabeth

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