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Research

Current Research Project
 
The Jew as outsider: postnational political community and European anti-Semitism 1990 to the present

 Funding: Ford Foundation / Hanadiv Charitable Foundation £70,000

 Period: 1st October 2006 to 30 September 2008

 Team Robert Fine was lead investigator and Dr Veronique Altglas (now University of Cambridge) was Research Fellow.
 
Abstract: The broad aim of this research project is to contribute to the sociological understanding of modern antisemitism and the construction of the Jew as outsider. The narrower aim is to investigate the nature and extent of antisemitism in two European countries (France and the UK) between 1990 and the present as well as efforts at the national and European levels to combat it. The theoretical basis of this research is one that draws the connections between antisemitism and forms of political community. The guiding assumptions behind this research are first that antisemitism cannot be understood in isolation but only in relation to other forms of political inclusion and exclusion; second, that antisemitism is neither a unitary nor a static phenomenon and that its understanding is generated less by definition or legislation than by a plurality of critical standpoints; and third, that every society constructs its own outsiders, but in significantly different ways.

 

Previous Research Projects   

The elaboration of a paradigm: cosmopolitanism and military intervention

Funding: ESRC-funded research project (New Securities Programme)

Period: 1st October 2003 to 30 September 2004

Team: Robert Fine was lead investigator and Dr William Smith (now Department of Politics, University of Dundee) was research assistant.

Abstract: This research reflects on the contemporary application of cosmopolitan ways of thinking to questions of military intervention. It explores the elaboration of a cosmopolitan paradigm in contemporary social and political theory, how it lends itself to both justifications and repudiations of military intervention, and how it has in fact been translated into processes of opinion formation in the public sphere.  The paradox that informs this research is that the new cosmopolitanism that has proliferated in the social sciences over the last decade declares a strong debt to Kantian conceptions of ‘perpetual peace’; yet it has also leant itself to justifications of war on universal moral grounds.  This may appear as a ‘betrayal’ of the original idea or as the pursuit of an interior logic.  This research suspends both assumptions in exploring the relation between ideas and social agency: first, concerning the elaboration of the original cosmopolitan paradigm, second, concerning the application of this paradigm to the question of military intervention, and third, concerning the uses of this paradigm in public deliberation.  It requires examination both of social scientific texts and of public statements by key social actors made in the course of public debates around particular military interventions.