Belonging – or not belonging – lies at the core of many of the recent ‘crises’ and ongoing processes of change that continue to shape as well as to shake up contemporary Europe. New forms of socio-spatial inclusion and exclusion have been both embraced and contested – and always (re)negotiated – as part of ongoing processes of social change, connected to migration and displacement, post-socialism and decolonisation, populism and polarisation.
The new book Diversity of Belonging in Europe, co-edited by Susannah Eckersley and Claske Vos, analyses conflicting notions of identity and belonging in contemporary Europe. Addressing the creation, negotiation and (re)use of diverse spaces and places of belonging, the book examines their fascinating complexities in the context of a changing Europe. Taking an innovative interdisciplinary approach, the book examines renegotiations of belonging played out through cultural encounters with difference and change, in diverse public spaces and contested places. Highlighting the interconnections between social change and of culture, heritage and memory, chapters analyse multi-layered public spaces and the negotiations over culture and belonging that are connected to them.
During this event Susannah Eckersley and Claske Vos will discuss their book with Elisabeth Niklasson, Sharon Macdonald and Irene Stengs, exploring new directions in the research on belonging in Europe related to wider questions of heritage, memory and public space.
Susannah Eckersley is Senior Lecturer at Newcastle University, Associated Research Fellow at the Centre for Contemporary History in Potsdam, Germany, and the Project Leader of en/counter/points – a collaborative European research project on public spaces and belonging funded by HERA. Her expertise is in memory, museums and difficult heritage; migration, identities and belonging. Susannah has recently started a new research project: Cultural Dynamics: Museums and Democracy in Motion.
Elisabeth Niklasson is Lecturer Cultural Heritage at the University of Aberdeen. Her research examines how political rhetoric and funding structures influence heritage governance and ideas of a shared past. She has published widely on EU identity, politics and more recently on populist radical-right movements in Scandinavia. In 2023 she edited the book: Polarized Past: Heritage and Belonging in times of Political Polarization.
Irene Stengs is senior researcher at the Meertens Instituut (KNAW) and, professor by special appointment Anthropology of Ritual and Popular Culture at the Vrije Universiteit. She received her PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the Universiteit van Amsterdam. Her research in the Netherlands and Thailand focuses on popular religiosity, material culture, commemorative ritual and processes of heritage formation.
Claske Vos is anthropologist and Assistant Professor at the Department of European Studies at the Humanities Faculty of the University of Amsterdam. Her current work focusses on the intersection of EU funding, cultural activism and enlargement. Her expertise is in European cultural policy, cultural heritage, Southeast Europe and European identity formation.