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The role of perceptions, formed by traditions, values and beliefs, in shaping European societies and politics in the 21st century

Values, norms, traditions, beliefs, our historical past, mentalities, age or gender - to name just a few - shape our perceptions, the way we see our societies and the role of the individual, the state and the economy in it. This means that, while speaking of the same subjects, our underlying understanding of them might vary to a certain degree. This has caused misunderstandings and frictions in the European integration process over time, including inter-generational differences. Research should scrutinize the idea of a socially and culturally coherent Europe. While research has tackled various aspects of this topic, it is however necessary to further undertake an in-depth investigation of the role of these factors in and their impact on the European integration process.

Proposals under this topic will identify and examine the factors that influence and change people’s perceptions of the European project over time, under different geographical, political or socio-economic circumstances. Changes may also affect how people’s perceptions are expressed and become visible in different media (e.g. social media, language). Research should also address the role of values and socio-political behaviour in perceiving and dealing with emergencies and economic crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Lessons learnt during the COVID-19 crisis and the recovery period could be used to provide policy scenarios for facing future crises and building resilient and sustainable post-crisis societies. Finally, proposals should investigate the role of perceptions in understanding and interacting with politics and political legitimacy in the EU. They should provide recommendations on how to address these different perceptions in the policy shaping and implementation of the EU integration process.