Technology and the Making of Europe

Workshop Tensions of Europe: Quo Vadis?

2 October - 3 October 2014
Location: Chios, Greece

Call for participants - Tensions of Europe workshop for young scholars

Tensions of Europe: Quo Vadis?

2-3 October 2014 Chios, Greece


Anna Åberg, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm
Elitsa Stoilova, University of Plovdiv
Frank Schipper, Eindhoven University of Technology
Katerina Vlantoni, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Léonard Laborie, Aristotle Tympas, Erik van der Vleuten (obo ToE management committee)

This meeting aims to bring together early career scholars trained in the Tensions of Europe research network, who are 1) able and willing to contribute to developing a new Tensions research agenda, and 2) interested in issues relating to technology and democracy, broadly defined.

This workshop is explicitly aimed at young scholars in the Tensions network. It seeks to involve Tensions young scholars in the development of the Tensions of Europe research agenda, and use the Tensions network as a platform to strengthen the position of young scholars - a possibility to discuss career paths, present their research, discover synergies and foster collaboration between them, and perhaps develop new publication or research proposals.

In the past 15 years, the Tensions of Europe network has contributed tremendously to our understanding of the role of technology in Europe’s modern history. Its research agenda rode the waves of the evolving European integration process, and particularly the EU-enlargements since the 1990s (the number of Member States grew from 12 to 28). Tensions historians placed this process in a technological, critical, and long-term perspective by demonstrating the pivotal role of technology in the integration and fragmentation of Europe.

The atmosphere in Europe has changed, however. Today the topic of enlargement no longer shapes debates about what Europe is or should be. The optimistic spirit of the 1990s gave way to a sense of crisis - economically, socially, environmentally, geopolitically, and politically - and the need for fundamental changes or transitions. Technology again plays a key role in these debates. The Europe 2020 agenda, for example, calls for innovation to achieve smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.1 And, like in the 1990s, we believe that Tensions historians can make vital and critical contributions to current debates about Europe, for instance by historically examining the historical role of technology in key issues such as privacy, public participation, environmentalism, social inclusion, and so on.

We propose that the new Tensions agenda will focus on the role of technology in past and present ‘grand challenges for Europe’. This workshop follows up on the last Tensions conference on Technology & Democracy (Paris, 2013). Democracy is one such major challenge - we have recently witnessed major debates about the return of technocracy in several European states and EU governance (the role of the European Central bank, for instance), and the EU’s ‘democratic deficit’ and the threat of Europe falling apart. The theme of Technology and Democracy calls for historical scrutiny. Moreover, the workshop is also a stepping stone towards coming Tensions of Europe conferences that also address big challenges, such as (tentatively) Technology – Nature – Environment (Stockholm, 2015) and Technology & Disability (Athens, 2017). At these conferences we will continue to debate the Tensions of Europe research agenda. The workshop aims to involve the young scholars to this debate, and possibly produce an intervention - perhaps even a young scholars' manifesto.

In form, the workshop follows a Tensions of Europe tradition for experimental and activating work forms. We do not aim at ‘traditional’ paper presentations. Instead we encourage you to propose alternative ways of exchange (roundtables, workshop-style sessions, poster presentations, pitches). Ideally, your intellectual contribution should reflect the Tensions of Europe agenda as it has taken shape in the past decade-and-a-half, explore new avenues of research in the Tensions of Europe community, and reflect on your own role in this.

How to participate

To participate, please submit the following two items by 20 July 2014:

- A personal research statement on your research and involvement in the Tensions of Europe network (300-500 words), including:

o Name a topic you think should definitely be on the Tensions of Europe agenda (explain why);

o Succinctly state your research interests and possible future research projects; these can be projects that you are already working on, or projects for which you hope to attract funding in the (near) future.

o How can your project benefit from the Tensions network, and how could the Tensions network benefit from your project?

- An Abstract of your proposed intellectual contribution to the workshop, including its work form (300-500 words). Think of it a as a ‘paper abstract’, except that we do not aim at ‘traditional research papers’ but rather aim at a variety of work forms. Be creative. Contributions may be research-based, but can also be exploratory.

The organizing committee will study these proposals and use them to develop a program well in advance of the workshop.

Please send these items to Frank Schipper,

Practical details

The workshop will take place in Chios, Greece. Food and accommodation will be covered for all participants. Still, our budget is limited. We will be able to cover some travel costs, but we cannot yet say to what extent. Therefore, please indicate whether you will be able to cover your trip with your own funding, or whether you will need support from us.

For questions, please contact Frank Schipper,, or Elitsa Stoilova,