9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS05 Historical Sociology

2009-09-03 09:00:00 2009-09-03 10:30:00 Thursday, 3 September 09:00 - 10:30 Social Europe in Historical Perspective Building II, C3.02

Paradoxical turns and changing horizons. Notes on the current landscape of the project of a cohesive Europe

Metamorphoses of the European project have to be understood in the broader dynamics of welfare capitalism that characterizes its historical development. The paper focuses on two social and institutional key-elements of that project. On the one hand, individualisation, as social process and ideal project; on the other hand, publicness, as fundamental characteristic of the institutional programme, on which was concretely based the individualisation project itself. But (welfare Eu) capitalism has dramatically changed in the recent history. The "new spirit of capitalism", based on network models of organization that have been increasingly applied not only in the labour and market spheres of social life, but also in public life as well as in the area of social policies (through the so called passage from government to governance), is associated to emerging grammars of justification, orders of evaluation, modes of individual engagement into the socioeconomic.
The emerging of these new grammars of justification, that is that motivational resources through which apparently only economic action can be constantly reproduced, is strictly interwoven with a paradoxical turn that crucial factors for the European project - individualisation, publicness - have been undergoing and that produced a structural metamorphoses of their concrete meaning. Considering that social reality is never linear and monolithic, what are the grammars of justification working in this new context? What "moral economies" are emerging? Beyond its power of appealing, what does concretely mean a network society based on imperatives of active connectedness and which new fields of tension it raises?
The paper deeply develops and inquiry these aspects, drawing supporting signs and signals supporting the interpretations advanced mainly from labour market and social policies and matters.