PhD course on a differentiated Europe

Differentiation is key to understanding the European Union. This spring, ARENA will offer PhD students access to frontier research on all EU relevant aspects of differentiation.

STV9431 – A differentiated Europe and its implications

  • Taking place:
    Oslo/Online, 18 –21 May 2021
  • Application deadline:
    13 April 2021
  • Teaching language: English
  • Level: PhD 
  • Credits: 10
  • Examination: Essay

All modern political systems are differentiated; the EU is distinctly so. Precisely how and what the implications are for the EU and its member states remain contested.

That is why EU3D coordinator John Erik Fossum and professor Jarle Trondal have developed the annual PhD course STV9431 – A differentiated Europe and its implications.

State-of-the-art research

Fossum and Trondal aim to offer cutting-edge theoretical and empirical knowledge in the field of EU studies.

‘PhD students will gain access to state-of-the-art research on all relevant aspects of differentiation in the EU context. Differentiation is key to understanding the internal workings of the EU as well as how relations between the EU and the external world are structured and conducted’, Fossum explains.

Trondal is also pleased to be able to offer this course on behalf of ARENA, the top Norwegian research centre in European studies. ‘It gives us an opportunity to make frontier research available to the next generation of researchers, and to discuss and get feedback on our work from rising talents in the field’.

The first PhD course will take place this May. The training will take form as an intensive 4-day seminar where active participation in seminar discussions is expected.

Teaching will overall be digital, but a combination of physical presence on campus and digital learning may be available depending on the development of the Covid-19 pandemic. In any event, students who cannot travel to Oslo will be able to participate digitally throughout the training.

The PhD course is free of charge. ARENA has been granted funds to organise it for a period of three years.

Linking up to international networks

The PhD training will draw resources from a large network of scholars with whom ARENA researchers collaborate.

The teaching will build upon the research of EU3D, and the broader network of its sister projects InDivEU and EU IDEA, which come together in DiCE.

Through a combination of lectures by leading scholars and group work, the PhD course will introduce doctoral students to theories and observations on core aspects of differentiation in the European context.

For the training, Fossum and Trondal will collaborate with other distinguished international lecturers: 

  • Dirk Leuffen, Professor of political science and international politics at the Department of Politics and Public Administration, at the University of Konstanz, and work-package co-leader in EU3D
  • Benjamin Leruth, Assistant Professor in European Politics and Society, University of Groningen
  • Vivien A. Schmidt, Jean Monnet Professor of European Integration, Professor of International Relations in the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies and Professor of Political Science at Boston University
  • Sieglinde Gstöhl, Director of the Department of EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies and full-time Professor, College of Europe in Bruges

A differentiated Europe

The core objective of this course is to address differentiation as a central concern in European studies, across academic disciplines from political science, public policy and public administration, to law, sociology and history.

The course aims to conceptualize differentiation, discuss causes and effects of differentiation, and show how differentiation manifests itself internally in the EU and in the EU’s relations with non-members.

There is no doubt that the EU has become more differentiated. With 27 member states the EU’s ethnic, linguistic, cultural, institutional and structural diversity is pronounced. The EU is in direct contact with a more multifaceted and diverse neighbourly environment, which increases the likelihood that the EU imports diversity. A further source of differentiation stems from increased contestation.

For those starting to take EU integration as a natural given, the Eurozone crisis and Brexit came as rude awakenings. The rise of Euroscepticism and Europhobic right-wing populism has given added impetus to a change from the ‘permissive consensus’ of the past to today’s ‘constraining dissensus’.

The PhD course will be structured around four key themes:

  1. Conceptualizing and theorizing differentiation: What are the key characteristics of differentiation? What are the various forms of differentiation? What is the relationship between differentiation and democracy? It is recognized that some forms of differentiation are conducive to democracy, while others might be pathological. We understand these under the heading of dominance, as arbitrary and unjustified forms of rule.
  2. EU and differentiation: Overview of the current situation of differentiation in the EU context, with a focus on internal and external forms of differentiation.
  3. The corona pandemic and EU differentiation: Discussing the corona pandemic’s implications for the EU: Will it lead to increased fragmentation and differentiation, towards increased integration and consolidation, or to incremental and path-dependent processes of pragmatic change?
  4. Implications for Norway and the UK: Comparing the role and status of one ex-member and one closely associated non-member. What kinds of EU affiliations will these states have when the UK actually departs from the EU post-2020? How to locate these affiliations in the differentiation scheme that the course develops?

Apply here

Read more about the PhD course here.

To apply, please complete and send in the application form within 13 April 2021.

Further information and enquiries may be directed at John Erik Fossum, Jarle Trondal or Torill Settemsdal Hansen.

Published Mar. 12, 2021 12:08 PM - Last modified Apr. 12, 2021 10:03 AM