Call for papers: The Politics of the Peripheries

Call for papers: The Politics of the Peripheries


Prague 9th – 10th December


Keynote speakers:

Wolfgang Streeck (Max Plank Institute), Michael Wilkinson (London School of Economics) and Veronica Anghel (European University Institute)


The European project as we know it today emerged from the ashes of Cold War and was infused by the enthusiasm of the countries of the former communist bloc. Eastern European reformers and their Western advisors perceived neoliberalism as the ultimate means to dismantle communist power and introduce liberal democracy. Such a position meant that alternative voices and positions critical of the market project were deemed not just irresponsible, but also politically threatening. It also had a far-reaching impact on the region socio-economically speaking as the accession of Central Eastern Europe (re)integrated them into global capitalism as “dependent market economies”. This development was accompanied by internal polarization, with some regions being transformed into important hubs of global capitalism and others losing economic relevance. The process of the so called “return to Europe” legitimized the established uneven relationship between the Core of Europe and its CEE peripheries.

The “return to Europe” also brought about a distinctive vocabulary perhaps best captured by the slogan "end of ideology" which implies the superiority of the blueprint of western democracies. This vocabulary was solidified by the coalitions between old and new elites who have embraced the neoliberal consensus post 1989 under the banner of the rule of law. To this day, this slogan remains a permanent reference point in our thinking about the current crisis of the European project. This turn to institutionalized democracy had important implications for the political economy of the Eurozone as well as for the consequent distribution and redistribution of power.  This process is perhaps best described as a continuous process of rolling out a specific logic, which produces “peripheries” through various social relations - the political, economic and social processes, expressed and enforced in the language of law. The way the EU is structured today and the way issues are framed for discussion makes it difficult to notice the asymmetric distributive effects and the role the legal structure plays in this process.


We are particularly interested in:

  • What was the role of the CEE intellectual networks constituting the ideational underpinnings of the “return to Europe” and later on, contrary to the 1990s, in formalizing networks that promote further diffusion of illiberal thought in Europe?
  • What specific visions of the recent past (collective memory) contribute the most to the clash between liberal democracy and populism?
  • How/Why did alternative ideas openly challenging liberal tenets (‘illiberal backlash’) in post-communist Europe, emerge and – as in the case of Poland and Hungary – win impressive public support?
  • What is the role of the legal system in the structure of domination and reproduction of hierarchies within the EU?
  • Does the hybrid, multi-level system of economic and monetary governance of the single currency and the ever-growing degree of centralization of decision- and policy-making and the concomitant transfer of competencies from localities, regions and nations to “Brussels” create specific path dependencies?


Politics of Peripheries creates a platform for the exchange of ideas and formulation of new perspectives on the old problems of the European Union.

We welcome proposals for a roundtable contribution. In a typical roundtable, panelists will give a short reflection of the keynote and a short introductory statement of 5-6 minutes and the rest of the session will consist of discussion and debate. Please send 300-500 words abstract to Petr Agha by 15th November.

We will communicate acceptance of proposals by 20th November 2022. Please include all titles, names, and institutional affiliations as you would like them to appear on the name badges and on the conference programme.