Areas of Specialization:
Advanced European Integration & Europeanization
Core Courses: European Integration and Europeanization (Wilson), Cultures of Capitalism (Holmes), Cultures of Expertise (Holmes), Political Anthropology (Wilson), Ethnographic Analysis (Holmes), Science, Technology and Knowledge (Reno)
For little more than a decade serious anthropological attention has focused on the institutions of the European Union (EU) and the wider processes of advanced European integration and Europeanization. The institutional project of European integration seeks to integrate more than 27 very different nation-states within an evolving supranational structure encompassing 450 million citizens. By any measure this is a daunting challenge that we believe constitutes the defining issue for the anthropology of Europe. The following interleaved approaches to integration provide an overview of our shared interests:
• The supranational institutions of the EU – notably in Brussels, Strasbourg, and Frankfurt – provide crucial ethnographic settings for investigating the political economy of integration. Within the burgeoning technocratic and political precincts of these EU capitals the issues defining the New Europe are gaining a complex political articulation.
• Integration encompasses manifold transformations of fundamental aspects of economic, social, political, and cultural life that can be acutely observed ethnographically among the inhabitants of Europe's complex borderlands. Indeed, across the border regions of Europe the key imperatives of integration as well as their contradictions are revealed. The people who inhabitant these zones continually negotiate the history of the nation-state and the future-oriented imperatives of a supranational EU.
• Integration has brought into being a vast multiracial and multicultural society that is coalescing most dramatically within the great urban centers of Europe. Cities like London, Paris, and Berlin, the research sites of a number of our faculty, provide settings-immigrant and refugee communities, exuberant youth clubs, and entrenched working class districts-where diverse groups of urbanites participate in the creation of a radically new society.
Finally, we believe that European integration has broad anthropological significance. The supranational operation of the EU reveals how deeply our extant repertoire of analytical concepts, our historical perspectives, even our ethical and moral assumptions are predicated on the nation-state as a social fact. When we seek to examine European integration we must confront phenomena that aggressively challenge all the means and methods by which we produce anthropological knowledge. This theoretical and methodological challenge is precisely what makes the EU – as it continually reinvents itself – such an important object of study for political economy and critical anthropology.