March 31, 2014 - Lecture

The ambivalent morality of European Integration: Anthropological insights on the circulation of European funds

Speaker: Dimitrios Gkintidis, Mary Seeger O'Boyle Postdoctoral Fellow, Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies, Princeton University

This talk is part of the public lectures series "European Union Luncheons/Les Midis de l'Union européenne".


This presentation aims to introduce the analytical concepts of “gift” and “moral economies” in the study of the project of European Integration. Based on ethnographic material from the political field in Greece, I will attempt to analyze the circulation of EU funds in Greece and Europe as a crucial condition that defined to a large extent the hegemonic dynamics of European Integration over the last 25 years. I am particularly interested in the construction of this political project among Greek politicians and technocrats in the terms of morality, in close perspective to similar conceptualizations among European officials and scholars in the 1980s and 1990s. Current debates on debts and contractual obligations seem to communicate with the lived or imagined experience of an overall moral relation between southern EU member states and the northern core of the EU. In this sense, this presentation will raise in a tentative way a questioning with both anthropological and political significance: what are the commonalities between the discourse on “debts” and “gifts” in such political projects? Is the current “cynical” state of affairs in Europe radically opposite to the enchanted past of a “solidary” European Union?



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