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Christine Moderbacher

cheap, nothing explosive!” one of them advertises his colorful products. People living in Molenbeek, Brussels, are well aware of their persisting international reputation. “Europe's jihadi central” ( Traynor 2015 ), “the Islamic State of Molenbeek

Open access

Building Bridges over Troubled Waters

EU Civil Servants and the Transcendence of Distance and Difference

Seamus Montgomery

This Forum contribution presents fragmented accounts of historical narratives collected while conducting ethnographic fieldwork among civil servants in and around the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium. It focuses on the roles that heritage-making practices play in articulating European identity and belonging within these institutional spaces. In the ongoing debates over ‘bridges’ and ‘walls’, Commission officials advocate building the former and tearing down the latter. The European heritage narratives they enact tell the story of a supranational community formed from the expansion of external borders and the elimination of internal ones. Through the transcendence of borders, both physical and cognitive, geographic distances and social differences are made increasingly irrelevant. Their efforts in this regard are nonetheless hindered by futurist temporalities that orient Europeanness in opposition to the past.

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The regional offices in Brussels

From “push and pull” to “people and place”

Justin Greenwood

English abstract: The potential of “people and place” is assessed as a means to broaden research about regional political actors into key questions about their role in European integration, largely dormant since the European Commission's 2001 White Paper on Governance raised the potential for territorial authorities to bridge EU institutions with territorial civil society. Interviews were conducted with a subset of executives from EU liaison offices performing leading roles in the formation and maintenance of a cluster of cognate networks. A key driver involves differences in their working constraints, assessed by a dual typology of offices in conjunction with literature applied to lobbyists in outreach contexts. A tendency to “go native” over time, coupled with the opportunities for long-time post holders to control their own working agendas, may lead to activities orientated toward bringing the EU to regions, rather than just promoting their regions in EU institutions.

Spanish abstract: “La gente y el lugar” son un medio para ampliar investigación sobre los actores políticos regionales en la integración europea, preguntas ausentes desde que el Libro Blanco sobre Gobernanza de la Comisión Europea (2001) elevó el potencial de las autoridades territoriales para establecer relaciones entre la sociedad civil y las instituciones de la Unión Europea (UE). Se entrevistaron ejecutivos de oficinas regionales de enlace de la UE que desempeñan actividades importantes en la formación de un conjunto de redes afines. Un factor clave involucra diferencias en sus restricciones de trabajo, evaluadas por una tipología dual de las oficinas junto con la literatura aplicada a grupos de presión en contextos de divulgación. Una tendencia a “volverse nativo”, junto con oportunidades para los antiguos funcionarios de controlar sus agendas, puede conducir a actividades que promueven la UE en las regiones, en vez de simplemente promover sus regiones en instituciones de la UE.

French abstract: Cet article évalue le potentiel des «personnes et des lieux» comme un moyen d'élargir la recherche sur les acteurs politiques régionaux sur des questions clés relatives à leur rôle dans le processus d'intégration européenne, en berne depuis la publication du Livre blanc de la Commission européenne en 2011 sur la gouvernance qui a soulevé le potentiel qu'avaient les collectivités territoriales à combler le dé ficit des institutions de l'UE en collaboration avec la société civile territoriale. Les entrevues ont été menées auprès d'un sous-groupe de cadres des bureaux de liaison de l'UE chargés du premier rôle dans la formation et le maintien d'un groupe de réseaux apparentés. Un facteur clé implique des différences dans leurs contraintes de travail, évalués par une double typologie des bureaux en conjonction avec la littérature appliquée aux lobbyistes dans des contextes de sensibilisation. Une tendance à «aller indigène» au fil du temps, couplé avec les possibilités pour les titulaires de poste à long termes de contrôler leurs propres programmes de travail, peut conduire à des activités susceptibles d'orienter l'UE dans le sens des régions, plutôt que de promouvoir essentiellement la promotion des régions au sein des institutions de l'UE.

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Two Failures of Left Internationalism

Political Mimesis at French University Counter-Summits, 2010–2011

Eli Thorkelson

international counter-summits that I examine here—Brussels in March 2010, Dijon in May 2011—were both perceived as failures. The key claim of this article is that the perception of failure in these two cases stemmed from what I term a trap of political mimesis

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Demos and Nation

Misplacing the Dilemmas of the European Union--In Memory of Stanley Hoffmann

Charles S. Maier

countries were living under the Nazi yoke, and Brussels 2017 were Berlin 1942. For all of the EU’s vaunted achievement in spreading democratic values to Eastern Europe, leaders in Poland and Hungary seem intent upon imposing conformist if not authoritarian

Free access

Editorial

A Thematic Issue about Central and Eastern European Societies

Zuzana Reptova Novakova and Laurent van der Maesen

Brussels and western EU members. This is over democracy and rule of law: judicial reforms, restrictions on media and erosions of checks and balances that help PiS and Fidesz to entrench themselves in power. Instead, the two parties can claim to be fighting

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Raphaël Taylor, Bart Beaty, Robert Duggan, Catriona MacLeod, and Ann Miller

REVIEW ARTICLE

Daniel Couvreur, Frédéric Soumois and Philippe Goddin, Les Vrais Secrets de la Licorne [‘The True Secrets of the Unicorn’] (Brussels/Tournai: Moulinsart/Casterman, 2006). 127 pp., ISBN 978-2-87424-118-5 (hardback, €15.00)

Daniel Couvreur and Frédéric Soumois, with a preface by Dominique Maricq, À la Recherche du Trésor de Rackham le Rouge [‘In Search of Red Rackham’s Treasure’] (Brussels/Tournai: Moulinsart/Casterman, 2007). 135 pp., ISBN 978-2-87424-160-4 (paperback, €15.00)

REPORT

Angoulême, 2009

EXHIBITION REVIEW

Musée du Louvre, Paris, Le Petit dessein: Le Louvre s’ouvre au neuvième art [‘Modest Plans: The Louvre Opens up to the Ninth Art’]

BOOK REVIEWS

Charles Hatfield, Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature (Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 2005). 182 pp. ISBN 978-1578067190 (paperback, $22.00)

Jeff McLaughlin, Comics as Philosophy (Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 2005). 246 pp. ISBN 1-57806-794-4 (paperback, £12.50)

Pierre Fresnault-Deruelle, Images à mi-mots [‘Images Halfway to Words’] (Brussels: Impressions nouvelles, 2008). 191 pp. ISBN 978-2-87449-048-4 (€20.00)

Free access

The considerable labour of many over the last three years to develop the concept of social quality, has finally been rewarded by the European Commission. Not just one, but two projects will be implemented with financial support from Brussels. The first of these projects is concerned with the development of indicators of social quality and the second one seeks to apply the theory to employment. This can be seen as recognition of the importance of the work that has been done so far and an incentive to carry on with our task.

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Bordering Intimacy

The Fight against Marriages of Convenience in Brussels

Maïté Maskens

Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted between January 2012 and June 2013 in eight civil registry offices in Brussels, this article explores how assumptions about intimacy intersect with the moral standards of bureaucrats evaluating the authenticity of conjugal life in order to prevent 'marriages of convenience'. From the 'intimate conviction' of the agents of the state to the co-production of intimate narratives, this article tries to understand the intrusion of states in contemporary intimacies. I look at how the bureaucratic application of a civilizational ideology affects the subjectivities of those engaging in partnerships across two different nationalities (bi-national couples) – and blurs an historic distinction between what is public and what is private.

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Softening culture, opening Europe

The European Civil Society Platform for Intercultural Dialogue

Jeff Katcherian

This article examines the development of cultural policy recommendations, in the form of “soft law,” by the Civil Society Platform for Intercultural Dialogue, a nascent European civil society collaboration aiming to make culture a separate political endeavor within the context of European integration. Drawing on fieldwork among European bureaucrats and members of European civil society in Brussels, Belgium, the article offers an alternative discussion from common understandings of soft law, paying close attention to law as an aesthetic form that challenges dominant modes of policy-making. An investigation of soft forms of law provides a useful perspective to those who attempt to define, locate, and create European identity.