Author Archive

Treading the tightrope of activist research

Written by Nicholas Barrett. Posted in Current profiles, Profiles

The purpose of academic research is to pursue a cold and clinical objective truth, but many researchers who find themselves delving deep into the crux of a political issue are driven by a profound sense that something is wrong with the status quo and that something ought to be done about it. And yet, there is a widespread stigma against ‘activist research’ which is often considered biased. Meanwhile many believe there is also something slightly deceptive about concealing a strongly held conviction. So somehow, a balance must be struck.

What now for independence movements in Europe?

Written by Nicholas Barrett. Posted in Current features, Features, Uncategorized

The referendum on Scottish independence was an unprecedented event in British history. Many had hoped that a ‘no’ vote would settle the country’s status and allow it to move on with its political and cultural identity intact. But this hasn’t happened. Instead, membership of Scottish National Party (SNP) has tripled since the vote, with added autonomy promised to the disenfranchised, while south of the border calls for an English equivalent to the Scottish parliament have thrown Westminster into a constitutional quagmire. So how might this affect the futures of nations and regions across the rest of Europe?

The Road to Europe

Written by Nicholas Barrett. Posted in Current events, Current profiles, Events, Profiles, Uncategorized

Since the Arab Spring started in 2010, those living in the countries around the edge of Europe have endured unprecedented levels of political and economic uncertainty that has, across the region, resulted in bloodshed and instability. As violence escalated in North Africa and the Middle East, populist anti-immigration rhetoric has steadily proliferated throughout Western European politics in the wake of the Eurozone debt crisis. This has created a political landscape hostile to any kind of pro-immigration legislation and fostered a desire for each country to protect its own narrow economic and social interests.

Islamic State of Mind

Written by Nicholas Barrett. Posted in Current features, Features

The situation in the Middle East is moving fast and the maps showing who controls which area of land are being redrawn almost every day. And it may be asking a lot to expect the steady and analytic disciplines of social science to keep themselves relevant alongside the 24-hour rolling news coverage. But it would also be slightly strange if experts, in any given subject, didn’t try to influence or inform a national debate when it wonders into their field.

‘Hard to believe that they could be serious’ – Professor Martin Scheinin and the British Bill of Rights

Written by Nicholas Barrett. Posted in Current features, Features

Adopted in 1950, the European Convention on Human Rights can be viewed as Europe’s collective response to the horrors of the holocaust and Second World War and its repudiation of Nazism, fascism and Stalinism. Today, the Europe the convention emerged from, still in shadow of the great dictatorships and often referred to as ‘the midnight of the century’, can feel like a distant place.

A light at the end of the tunnel?

Written by Nicholas Barrett. Posted in Current profiles, Profiles

For the first time in living memory a generation of Europeans are expecting to grow up worse off than their parents as living standards across the western world continue to slide. Professor Juan J. Dolado joined the the EUI in January, he has written extensively on the issue and is now one of the rare optimistic voices in the debate.

How did it come to this?

Written by Nicholas Barrett. Posted in Current publications, Publications

Over the course of 2011 and 2012, Athens became the flaming jewel in the crown of the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis. A climate of punitive austerity measures and near daily rioting bought the systematically dysfunctional nature of Greek politics to the world’s attention. How could democratically accountable leaders fail to address the country’s unsustainable finances year after year and decade after decade until it was all too late?