As compared to other world power, the European Union (EU) faces difficulties to combine the different visions of its place in the world. More, after the last enlargement, the question of the EU’s borders have re-emerged with the rest of the world considered as a threat or as an opportunity. The project proposes two interlinked objectives. Firstly, demonstrate that different visions of European Union in the world currently exist. Secondly, examine the place allotted to EU in the visions of the World produced by other non-European countries and to chart their implications. Our approach is to linked objective evidence (demographic and economic structures, trade and migration flows etc.) with subjective visions (maps and visions of the world produced by foreign office, NGO’s etc.) in order to build a non-Eurocentric vision of the world and of the place of European Union in the world.
The work, conducted by 12 international multidisciplinary teams (France, Belgium, Portugal, Sweden, Malta, Romania, Turkey, Brazil, Cameroon, China and India) is focused on the specific question of map of the world with particular attention paid to world divisions in general and to perceived limits of Europe in particular both within and beyond the EU, in a comparative perspective through space, time and social groups. Our main approach is based on a worldwide survey that has the particularity to use mental maps to gather some of the answers. Its aim is to catch some aspects of the representation of European Union: its limits, its attractiveness etc. The survey is conducted in different countries according to the type of relations they have with the EU and on a panel of undergraduate students in different fields (economics, politics, geography etc.) who are representatives of a generation that will have a decision making role to play in the near future. Another strategic population is surveyed concerning its visions of Europe: the migrants who are surveyed at different stages of their migration on two routes (Asia and Africa). Those subjective visions of the world are completed with work done on the “political Europe”, i.e. the existence and place of Europe in political discourses and from an institutional point of view. More, the EU is approached from a functional point of view, trying to determine how EU is linked to the rest of the world by different kind of flows and networks. Those three visions are then combined in order to propose an integrated vision of Europe as Subjective, Political and Functional Europe are three facets of a global reality that can be analytically separated but are, in practice, not independent.
Participants : Claude Grasland, Clarisse Didelon
Period : 2009-2011