Skip to main content
Centre for European Research

Decentring Europe: Critical Approaches to European foreign policy

7 March 2019

Time: 10:00am - 7:00pm

Decentring Europe: Critical Approaches to European foreign policy

Research Seminar

7 March 2019, University of London Institute in Paris


Background and Rationale

A number of subsequent events that took place in the past few years such as the Arab uprisings or the crisis in Ukraine have exposed the systematic failures of EU foreign policy. This has led many experts in the academic as well as policy communities to point to the lack of attention of EU policy-makers to the vulnerable, socio-economic inequalities, the gap between centres and peripheries, as well as to the lack of prospects for the youth.

In a way, these assertions resonate with several recent attempts to propose a decentred agenda for the study and practice of the EU’s actorness in international relations (Fisher-Onar and Nicolaidis, 2013; Keukeleire and Lecocq, 2016), and foster further debate on Eurocentrism, including on the EU’s practices of geopolitical othering that orientalises other parts of the world (Borg and Diez, 2016: 145). Bar a few exceptions (see Kamel and Huber, 2015), however, such questions, formulated in the framework of critical social, have barely entered the realm of European Studies.

Therefore, this workshop aims to depart from prevailing conceptualisations of European foreign policy and develop new epistemological and ontological approaches as well as methodologies to formulate novel, decentred analytical perspectives for European foreign policy. It will engage scholars as well as experts from the EU’s diplomatic service in what is expected to be a fruitful discussion.

Please consult the concept note for further discussion of the concept and the approach of the workshop

Workshop added-value
This workshop focuses on the research agenda of decentring Europe and engage scholars into a discussion over its significance and relevance for EU foreign policy. It includes leading scholars in the field and bring in scholars from other disciplines and young scholars to brainstorm about the furthering of the research agenda, its methodological challenges and operationalisation. These ateliers aim to provide room to operationalise the research agenda. This workshop is kindly supported by a UACES small grant, the Centre for European Research and the General Research Fund of the School of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary University of London.

Organiser: Sarah Wolff, Director of the Center for European Research, Queen Mary University of London (

Contact: David Gazsi, King’s College London (



10.00 Arrival of participants, registration & coffee

10.15-10.45am Welcoming and Presentation of the overall project

  • Kim Hutchings (QMUL)
  • Tim Gore, Chief Executive Officer (ULIP)
  • Sarah Wolff (QMUL)

10.45-12.45pm A de-centering agenda on European foreign policy studies: what’s new?

  • Operationalizing the decentring agenda: analysing European foreign policy in a non-European and post-Western World, Stephan Keukeleire and Sharon Lecoq (University of Leuven)
  • Re-centring Europe and its legitimacy implications for European foreign policy, Kolja Raube (University of Leuven)
  • Secular Power Europe and Islam: decentring polities, Sarah Wolff (QMUL)
  • On the constitutive power of outsiders, critical geopolitics and local states, William Kutz (Cambridge University)

Chair: Kim Hutchings, QMUL

Discussant: Christian Lequesne, Sciences Po Paris


12.45-1.30pm Lunch

1.30- 3.00pm Thematic Atelier on de-centring the EU as an international actor in practice to split up in 4 small sessions and reconvene for 30min conclusions, these ateliers will provide the opportunity for other participants to present their research on the theme, a call for short presentations has been published through UACES targeting in particular young scholars. Participants to be specified. Moderators:

  • Class and Gender peripheries (Daniela Hubner, IAI, moderator; Ragnar Weiland, rapporteur)
  • Migration & borders (Federica Zardo, University of Vienna, moderator)
  • Religion & secularism (Sarah Wolff, QMUL, moderator; Jonathan James, rapporteur)
  • Democracy promotion & rule of law (Anna Khakee, University of Malta, moderator; David Gazsi, rapporteur)

3.00-3.30pm Summary of the Thematic Atelier debates

3.30-3.50 Coffee break

3.50pm-5.35pm Methods and Practice in Decentring European Foreign Policy

  • Decentering ‘decentering’: tentative epistemological considerations on decentering studies (Magali Gravier, Copenhagen Buisness School)
  • Ethnography as a decentring methodology? (Christian Lequesne, Sciences Po)
  • A policy-makers’ view on the relevance of decentring for European diplomacy (Alexandre Escorcia, Centre d’Analyse et de Prévision et de Stratégie, Ministère de l’Europe et des Affaires étrangères)
  • Developing a de-centring methodology to study Euro-Mediterranean relations. The experience of the H2020 project MEDRESET, Daniela Huber (IAI)

Chair: Sharon Lecocq, KU Leuven

Discussants: Stephan Keukeleire, KU Leuven


5.40-7pm Kimberly Hutchings’ Keynote speech on Europe and the ‘pluriverse’: a global ethical approach to cultural pluralism.

Discussants: Stephan Keukeleire (Leuven University) and Peter Brett (QMUL)
Chair and Moderator: Sarah Wolff (QMUL)

Thematic Atelier Participants

  1. Class, gender & peripheries (Daniela Huber, IAI, moderator; William Kutz, Cambridge, rapporteur)
    • Kim Hutchings, QMUL
    • Stephan Keukeleire, KU Leuven
    • Christian Lequesne, Sciences Po Paris
    • William Kutz, Cambridge University

  2. Migration & borders
    (Federica Zardo, University of Vienna, moderator; Alizée Dauchy, Université St-Louis-Brussels, rapporteur)
    • Nora El Qadim, Sciences Po Paris
    • Paul James Cardwell, University of Strathclyde
    • Felix Rüdiger, ETH Zürich
    • Alizée Dauchy, Université Saint-Louis–Bruxelles
    • Clara Rachel Eybalin Casseus, IMLR, University of London

  3. Religion & secularism (Sarah Wolff, QMUL, moderator; Jonathan James, rapporteur)
    • Sharon Lecocq, KU Leuven
    • Jonathan James, ULIP
    • Christian Lequesne, Sciences Po Paris
    • Benedetta Voltolini, King’s College London

  4. Democracy promotion & rule of law (Anna Khakee, University of Malta, moderator; Matthieu Burnay, Queen Mary University of London, rapporteur),
    • Matthieu Burnay, QMUL
    • Kolja Raube, KU Leuven
    • David Gazsi, King’s College London
    • Nathan Vandeputte, Ghent University
    • Laura Luciani, Ghent University
    • Jianzhe Zhao, ETH Zürich
    • Camille Nessel, ULB
    • Magali Gravier, Copenhagen Business School
    • Diana Potjomkina, Vrije University Brussels
    • Ragnar Weilandt, Warwick University

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CHECK THE EVENT’S 2 Concept note - Paris UACES CER Decentring Europe.pdf [PDF 222KB]

CER Avatar

 UACES logo

ULIP logo





Back to top