Promoting reconciliation, preventing security threats – research towards peaceful coexistence between minorities and majorities in Europe
In 2014, the crisis in Ukraine has once again brought to the fore the frailty of the path to peaceful integration that Europe embarked upon, as well as the direct threat that conflicts pose to minority groups.
Together with another major crisis confronting Europe today, the rise of right-wing populist parties whose discourse almost invariably includes an exclusionary drive, the conflict in Ukraine shows that state and nation building processes remain enduring topics that nevertheless require fresh approaches adapted to the realities of 21st century Europe.
As the roots of conflict in inter-ethnic or intercultural contexts can often be traced back to the history of groups inhabiting a certain territory, often manipulated by nationalist interpretations that emphasise divisiveness and antagonism, the research carried out within the Conflict & Security Cluster will approach contemporary challenges to minority groups by placing due weight on their historical legacies.
This approach brings a historical perspective to the understanding of these conflicts, which in turn appears as a necessary prerequisite for the development of effective strategies leading towards their contemporary resolution and the reconciliation of the ethnic groups in question.
At the same time, the new challenges confronting minority groups, as well as the new modes of mobilisation they often entail, call for a more elastic concept of security, departing from traditional interpretations that have focused on the state to concentrate more on the individual.
This focus of the Cluster on human security allows addressing emergent security issues such as the increasing incidence of extremist violence directed against members of minority groups, particularly the Roma, the proliferation of hate speech in the new media, or the resurgence of the radical right in the post-Cold War political environment.
This reorientation in focus towards the individual implies that potential solutions to these challenges need to take into consideration the new vulnerability emerging in the context of the double threat posed on the one hand by extremist radical groups and on the other by the enhanced state surveillance and control associated with their monitoring, and the fact that this new, global vulnerability is particularly salient for minority groups.