Culture and Society

Our research themes 

Recent speeches by some of Europe’s political leaders have called into question the merits of multiculturalism as a response to Europe’s increasingly diverse societies.

While mainstream politicians steer clear of any suggestion that Europe should abandon its commitment to ‘unity in diversity’, there is a rising tide of ‘populist’ rhetoric which warns that Europe’s identity – an identity supposedly forged by its ‘cultural, religious and humanist inheritance’ – is threatened by migration, and especially Muslim immigrants and refugees.

Our research cluster examines the diversity of cultural, political and philosophical ideas invoked in Europe's name, the ways these have been politically contested and reshaped, and the extent to which they intersect with the lived experiences of Europeans. We combine the methods of philosophy, sociology, political science and anthropology..


Politics of Last Resort: Governing by Emergency in the European Union

by Jonathan White


Prominent in the EU's recent transformations has been the tendency to advance extraordinary measures in the name of crisis response. From emergency lending to macro-economics, border management to Brexit, policies are pursued unconventionally and as measures of last resort. This book investigates the nature, rise, and implications of this politics of emergency as it appears in the transnational setting. As the author argues, recourse to this method of rule is an expression of the deeper weakness of executive power in today's Europe. It is how policy-makers contend with rising socio-economic power and diminishing representative ties, seeking fall-back authority in the management of crises. In the structure of the EU they find incentives and few impediments. Whereas political exceptionalism tends to be associated with sovereign power, here it is power's diffusion and functional disaggregation that spurs politics in the emergency mode. The effect of these governing patterns is not just to challenge and reshape ideas of EU legitimacy rooted in constitutionalism and technocracy. The politics of emergency fosters a counter-politics in its mirror image, as populists and others play with themes of necessity and claim the right to disobedience in extremis. The book examines the prospects for democracy once the politics of emergency takes hold, and what it might mean to put transnational politics on a different footing.

Key Research Themes

  • Ideas and Images of Europe
  • Post-conflict Resolution and Transitional Justice
  • Ideologies, Parties and Political Movements
  • Ideas of Political Community and Place
  • Multiculturalism European Identities
  • Religious Belief and Securalism
  • Minorities

Selected recent publications 

Bojicic-Dzelilovic, Vesna, Denisa Kostovicova and Ahmet K. Suerdem (2021) “Persistence of Informal Networks and Liberal Peace-building: Evidence from Bosnia and Herzegovina”, Journal of International Relations and Development.

Kostovicova, Denisa, and Tom Paskhalis (2021) “Gender, Justice and Deliberation: Why Women Don’t Influence Peace-Making”, International Studies Quarterly.

Kostovicova, Denisa, and Eleanor Knott (2021) “Harm, Change and Unpredictability: The Ethics of Interviews in Conflict Research’, Qualitative Research.

Kaldor, Mary, and Denisa Kostovicova (2021) “Global Civil Society, Peacebuilding and Statebuilding”, In The Oxford Handbook of Peacebuilding, Statebuilding and Peace Formation, edited by Oliver P. Richmond and Gëzim Visoka. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Garibay-Petersen, Cristóbal (2021) "Constitution and Regulation in the Context of the Schematism Doctrine", Kant-Studien, vol. 112, no. 3, 2021, pp. 372-399. 

Glendinning, Simon (2021) 'Europe: A Philosophical History – Volume I: The Promise of Modernity', Routledge.

Glendinning, Simon (2021) 'Europe: A Philosophical History – Volume II: Beyond Modernity', Routledge.

Kreuder-Sonnen, Christian and Jonathan White (2021) "Europe and the Transnational Politics of Emergency", Journal of European Public Policy.

White, Jonathan. (2021) "What Kind of Electoral System Sustains a Politics of Firm Commitments?", Representation 57 (3).

White, Jonathan (2021), ‘Emergency Europe after Covid-19’, in Gerard Delanty (ed.), Pandemic, Politics, and Society: Critical Perspectives on the Covid-19 Crisis (De Gruyter: Berlin), pp.75-92.

Kostovicova, Denisa (2020) 'Skirts as Flags: Transitional Justice, Gender and Everyday Nationalism in Kosovo', Nations and Nationalism 26(2), 461-476. (with Vjollca Krasniqi and Ivor Sokolic)

Kostovicova, Denisa (2020) ‘Introduction: Below Peace Agreements: Everyday Nationalism or Everyday Peace?’, Nations and Nationalism 26(2), 424-430. (with Ivor Sokolic and Orli Fridman)

Kostovicova, Denisa (2020) ‘Drawing on the continuum: a war and post-war political economy of gender-based violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina’, International Feminist Journal of Politics, 22(2), 250-272. (with Vesna Bojicic-Dzelilovic and Marsha Henry)

White, Jonathan (2020) "Europeanizing Ideologies", Journal of European Public Policy 27 (9), pp.1287-1306. 

Invernizzi Accetti, Carlo, and Jonathan White (2020) "Ideologies and the EU", special issue, Journal of European Public Policy 27 (9). Reprinted as: Carlo Invernizzi Accetti and Jonathan White (eds.) (2021) "Ideologies and the European Union", London: Routledge.

White, Jonathan (2020), ‘Technocracy after Covid-19’, in Thinking in a Pandemic: the Crisis of Science and Policy in the Age of COVID-19 (ed.) Boston Review (London: Verso).

White, Jonathan and Lea Ypi (2020), ‘Reselection and Deselection in the Political Party’, in The Politics of Recall Elections, eds. Yanina Welp and Laurence Whitehead (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan), pp.179-99.

White, Jonathan and Lea Ypi (2020), ‘Recalling Representatives’, in Michele Battini and Nadia Urbinati (eds.) The Future of Democracy (Milan: Feltrinelli).

Glendinning, Simon (2019) 'A Community that is Not One', in *Continental Perspectives on Community: Human Coexistence from Unity to Plurality*, eds G.J. van der Heiden and C. Bax, Routledge.

White, Jonathan (2019), Politics of Last Resort: Governing by Emergency in the European Union (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

White, Jonathan (2019) ‘What Kind of Electoral System Sustains a Politics of Firm Commitments?’, Representation, online early

White, Jonathan (2019) ‘The Democratic Production of Political Cohesion: Partisanship, Institutional Design and Life Form’, Contemporary Political Theory 18 (2), pp.282-310. (With Richard Bellamy, Matteo Bonotti, Dario Castiglione, Joseph Lacey, Sofia Näsström and David Owen)


Academic staff working in this area 


Academics in the "Culture and Society" stream provide expertise on European philosophy, democracy, technocracy, populism, politics of left and right, security, religious conflict, minority rights, anti-Semitisim, Islamophobia, post-conflict resolution, and transitional justice, Our academic staff are regularly interviewed in media outlets including the BBC, Sky News, CNN, Sputnik, Al-Jazeera, Der Spiegel. They are invited as keynote and guest speakers to most prestigious national and international universities including Harvard, Columbia, Cambridge, Oxford, Stanford, Princeton, Cornell Universities. They present their research findings in conferences in the UK, Europe, and the United States.