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fEUtures

Carlsberg Foundation Monograph Fellowships

What

The way people imagine the future of the EU matters - and the fEUtures project will show how. At the heart of fEUtures is the development of a conceptual tool to map and categorise future imaginaries, that is ways in which possible futures of the EU are imagined by various actors and social groups. These imaginaries are not expressed in theoretical terms; rather they are carried, often implicitly, in the visions and narratives that people formulate, always anchored in the present. To understand the specific dimensions of these imaginaries, they need to be captured and analysed.

Why

Debates invoking the future of Europe and the EU have become a veritable growth industry in policy-making and public debates. There is also a recent turn towards an engagement with future expectations and imaginaries within social sciences. Economic sociology highlights how fictional expectations drive modern economics and politics; political economy discusses the economy as a series of fictions and science fiction as a means of anticipating different economic futures. Literary fiction has fruitfully been employed side by side with social science as imaginaries for a post-capitalist future. But HOW are these futures thought about, which implications and assumptions are they based on, what are their specific conditions? fEUtures will provide ground-breaking answers to these questions.

How

The fEUtures project builds on the analysis of a corpus of material over a period of ca 15 years, covering key moments in recent processes of European integration and crisis. The material includes policy documents from key EU institutions; surveys; reports and publications from ThinkTanks and NGOs; reports and visual/recorded material from art projects on the future of Europe; literary material (books, short stories). The outcome will be a monograph published with an international academic publishing house. At the same time, key findings will be made available in open access in conjunction with public events to discuss the implications of the project's main arguments.

SSR

The fEUtures project sets out to to have a significant social impact by providing an accessible tool for understanding discussions about EU futures. This seems particularly pertinent in a period where the future of the European Union is contested by multiple crises. fEUtures will contribute to a better understanding of how the way we think about the future matters for politics and policies in the present. Project dissemination has been planned with this in mind, for a Danish audience and an international context.