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The We in Times of Physical Distancing. From face-to-face interactions to enduring we-identities


"What does it mean to feel, act, and think as member of a we in times of cultural upheaval and uncertainty, physical distancing and social isolation? In the aftermath of a pandemic crisis with its consequent confinement, a renewed critical reflection on how to maintain the social ties that bind us together is of urgent societal and political significance. As the first multi-level approach to the topic, this project aims to develop a novel theoretical framework to account for the constitution of configurations of the “we” that go beyond the here and now and involve the plural position of you and they. Proceeding from the working hypothesis that in order to meet this goal one need to shift the theoretical focus from the “You” to the “Third” that is to say, from dyadic face-to-face (immediate) relations of reciprocity between I and You, to ternary relations of ""mediated reciprocity"", involving the figure and the functions of a “third party”, the project will integrate hitherto unrelated phenomenological investigations on the “we” with current social theories on the roles of the “third” in the social sciences. It will also combine theoretical work with the analysis of two very telling case studies and historical examples. In so doing, it will break new ground by elaborating a particular aspect of the relation between the we, the inter-subjective dyad (I-you), and the third and offer a new phenomenological paradigm to account for the complexity of the social relation involved in enduring and normatively mediated configurations of the “we” that is, at the same time, an innovative way of conceiving the “we” in view of the ethical and political stakes it entails and a renovated approach to political questions related to the constitution of shared identities. The project will also explore the implications of this new paradigm in the political field for addressing the question of how we are to cultivate a sense of shared identity (European identity) despite separatist drifts."

Fields of science

Call for proposal

See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MSCA-IF-EF-ST - Standard EF


45, Rue D'ulm
75230 Paris Cedex 05
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 184 707,84