Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - EUR PROTEST (European Protest Movements since the Cold War: The Rise of a (Trans-)national Civil Society and the Transformation of the Public Sphere)

In the four years of its existence, the project has succeeded in establishing itself as an international, trans-disciplinary research network with more than 250 affiliated researchers from over 35 countries. The project organised five conferences and workshops at the universities of Heidelberg, Zurich, and Halle, as well as a summer school at the Charles University of Prague. With these events and its online presence, the project has provided a platform for discussing innovative research in the areas of contemporary European politics and history with a particular emphasis on civil society, social movements, and transnational processes between East and West.

The project has explored in great detail the impact protest movements, in paving the way for substantial changes in domestic and international systems, have had on the emergence of a (trans-)national civil society and on the fundamental transformation of the public sphere in Europe. It has utilised approaches from sociology, political science, and media studies and analysed the aesthetics and lifestyles of peace and protest cultures in Europe. It has examined the institutional and social impact of protest, as well as how globalisation processes, human rights discourses, and the emergence of international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) have influenced European politics, transnational exchange, and international relations since World War II. During the project's events, young academics from various disciplines had the opportunity to present their work to peers and open it up to critical debate. Furthermore, leading international experts in the respective academic fields extended high-level instruction to these early-stage European researchers in keynote lectures, workshops, and individual consultations. This thorough training endowed participants with a comprehensive knowledge of the multiple scientific approaches to protest movements and phenomena of opposition and dissent on a political and cultural level, enabling them to apply proper conceptual, theoretical, and methodological frameworks to their own research.

The large geographical scope and the multidisciplinarity of this network were important to ensuring the wide dissemination, impact, and attractiveness of the project's results beyond the traditional spheres of the academy. The events and various online presences of the project not only enabled participants to establish crucial contacts and engage in training activities but also supported a variety of additional conferences, workshops, projects, and publications on related topics in Europe and elsewhere. As a result, many additional, independent and cross-disciplinary research networks and initiatives have been formed among project participants, both continuing and further expanding the project's mission for the future. This not only secures the sustainability of the project's work and the on-going functioning of its network, but also makes a lasting contribution to the European Research Area.

From its inception, the project also actively sought utmost public transparency and firmly incorporated public outreach into its local events with panel discussions, keynote lectures, or related exhibitions that were open to a general audience. It maintained close contacts with local and national media, kept the international academic community informed about its events with its newsletter and regular panels at major annual conferences, and initiated its own publication series. Next to a whole host of other project-related publications and the creation of long-lasting personal and online networks among young scholars from all over Europe, this series, "Protest, Culture, and Society" (Berghahn Books), represents the scholarly legacy of this project and will continue to stimulate academic research and public debates about the European Community and its common history and identity in the future.

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