After 1989: A European 'civil war' on economic issues?

Catégorie :Appels à communication

Date limite : mercredi, 30 mai 2012

Lieu :Turin (Italie)

Contact :

Résumé :

Economy as a whole appears to have become the main field of confrontation in post 1989 Europe. While a few new EU members joined the Euro Zone and are being more and more integrated with 'old' Europe through the common currency, other State entities are showing some sort of scepticism with respect to a stricter political integration.

Détails :

Nearly four years ago, on 23rd May 2008, a conference on interwar conflicts in Europe took place in Brescia, sponsored by the Luigi Micheletti Foundation. Thanks to Evgenij Jurevič Sergeev, Česlovas Laurinavičius, Irene Guerrini, Marco Pluviano, Marta Verginella, and us, Davide Artico and Brunello Mantelli, a comprehensive picture of post 1918 conflicts involving the Baltic States, Russia, Germany, Poland, Slovenia, and Italy was provided. From the proceedings, a fairly successful book was published. Its hardcover Italian version, Da Versailles a Monaco: Vent'anni di guerre dimenticate, appeared in Turin in early 2010. A paperback English version, From Versailles to Munich: Twenty Years of Forgotten Wars, followed later on in the same year by a Wroclaw-based publisher.

Given the sound success of the first conference, the Micheletti Foundation declared their will to support still another event to be held in Brescia on 28th November 2008. Its main theme were conflicts in the late Forties, that is, in the latest phases World War II and immediately thereafter. Thanks to Juha Meriläinen, Grzegorz Michalik, Bogdan Popa, Vygantas Vareikis and, once more, us, a variety of sensible, meaningful examples was provided of how the thirty-year conflict for Continental supremacy, which had uninterruptedly gone on since Sarajevo 1914, was turned into a confrontation of a completely different kind. On the one hand, the rise of the United States and the Soviet Union as global Powers led to the forming of two only blocks, which cut Europe into separate halves, opposed to each other. On the other hand, the threat of mutual annihilation by the two blocks led to a significant shift in the fields of confrontation, with a much more significant stress on inner block cohesion. If Central Eastern Europe had been an actual battlefield in the previous era, now it was turned into a playground where confrontation had to be won through sports, medical advancement, and social peace supported by the Church. Armed conflicts did not disappear completely, still they were limited to the pacification of minorities inside the single State entities.

The proceedings of this second conference, along with a contribution by Alexander Friedman on 'popular' anti Semitism in Belarus, gave birth to a second publication, printed in Turin in late 2011: Ideologia e geopolitica all'ombra della Guerra fredda. Though no English version is being planned yet for lack of funding, its appearance in a next future cannot be excluded.

In the meantime, a third and final conference on European conflicts is being organised. The chronological turning point taken into consideration this time is the two-and-a-half-year-long crisis of the Communist Block, which began with the free parliamentary election in Poland in June 1989 and ended in December 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union. The following two decades have shown a still different approach to the struggle for supremacy. While formally an heir to the USSR, the Russian Federation struggled for its economic and political survival till the very end of the 20th century. Later, it has never represented a direct military threat at Continental level, in spite of the originally unaccounted for expansion of the NATO till including former Warsaw Pact members, and even former Soviet Republics. Still, economic competition, especially on the energy market, can be (and it actually is) considered as a factor of tension in international relations involving Moscow.

Other supra national entities collapsed too, either in a violent manner (former Yugoslavia) or by mutual consent (former Czechoslovakia.) This initial trend was then reverted thanks to the wider scope taken by European integration projects in the late Nineties. Both Slovakia and the Czech Republic are now full EU-members, and Slovenia is soon to be joined by Croatia.

Economy as a whole appears to have become the main field of confrontation in post 1989 Europe. While a few new EU members joined the Euro Zone and are being more and more integrated with 'old' Europe through the common currency, other State entities are showing some sort of scepticism with respect to a stricter political integration. At times, this process has given birth to extreme right political movements, for instance in Poland and Hungary. While still unable to endanger the European construction, those movements point at the discomfort felt by large population areas going through pauperisation as a consequence of the neoliberal doctrines being dogmatically implemented in the EU. If in the first period, from the beginning of the First World War to the end of World War II, conflicts wore the 'fancy dress' (as we wrote in the first volume) of a clash of nationalities; if in the second period, that is the Cold War, geopolitical conflicts of a different kind were fought in the name of opposed ideologies; this latest period is witnessing conflicts within a politically and ideologically unified Europe where nationality is no longer an issue for mutual hostility. Rather, after 1989, we have faced as a Continent a sort of 'civil war' on economic grounds.

Transversal classes have struggled either for a still stronger primacy by financial capital holders or for the mere survival of the working and the lower middle classes as socially relevant agents.

The conference

This third conference, which is meant to show a strongly interdisciplinary approach, will be held in Turin in the fourth quarter of 2012. Besides scholars specialising in Contemporary History, researchers in the fields of Cultural Anthropology, Sociology and Political Science will be welcome.

Please submit a short abstract (some 1,000 characters) of your proposed paper, in English or Italian, by the end of May 2012. Chosen participants will be granted free accommodation and a partial reimbursement of travel costs. Should you not be in a position to personally take part in the conference, we request you to kindly suggest us which other scholars might be willing to do so.

Please address your answer to both us:, or


Davide Artico
IFR Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego
pl. Nankiera 4 50140 Wrocław PL

Brunello Mantelli
Dipartimento di Storia dell'Università
Via Sant'Ottavio 20
10141 Torino - Italy

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