IMAGINE: European Constitutional Imaginaries: Utopias, Ideologies and the Other

The project is funded by the ERC Starting Grant (803163) with Professor Jan Komárek as the Principal Investigator. It will run from February 2019 for five years and will investigate constitutional imaginaries behind the European integration project at both national and the EU level.

While scholars have presented and promoted a series of specific theories of EU constitutionalism, no one has yet attempted to analyse their wider intellectual context and the relationship among them – what we call ‘European constitutional imaginaries’ (ECIs). In addition, IMAGINE does not limit this general analysis to the mainstream thinkers writing for the audience located at the supranational/transnational level. It includes the perspective of thinkers writing in particular EU member states. IMAGINE seeks to uncover whether there are individuals and ideas that have made important, yet often overlooked, contributions to ECIs. Crucially, IMAGINE puts emphasis on post-communist Europe’s experience, until now mostly ignored in EU constitutional scholarship.

As a result, IMAGINE will provide the first-ever synthesis and critical evaluation of the core theories of EU constitutionalism, theorising their mutual relationship and the ways in which they have influenced each other.

The overarching objective is to provide a novel account of ECIs: one informed by their intellectual history, which comprises both post-communist an “Old” Europe. It seeks to understand the various problems that lead some people to reject EU constitutionalism and its core values, seeing them as mere utopias or oppressing ideologies.

IMAGINE employs an innovative combination of research methods: empirical surveys, citation network analyses and in-depth interviews, together with traditional legal analysis. It will involve experts from particular member states through a number of workshops and a conference organised by the IMAGINE Team.

For more information about IMAGINE’s activities and job openings related to IMAGINE please contact Professor Komárek.

Forthcoming activities related to IMAGINE:

  • Lecture Series - Rethinking Law, Democracy and Capitalism – co-organised with Niklas Olsen (CEMES) – more information (including the video recordings of particular lectures) are available here.

Job openings/research positions:

IMAGINE Team will include two PhD students and four postdoctoral researchers. We are currently in the process of selecting the first IMAGINE PhD student. The hiring process for the four postdoctoral researchers will begin later this year before the summer. Please get in touch with Professor Komárek in case you might be interested in joining IMAGINE Team.

Past activities related to IMAGINE:

  • 1-2 November 2018, iCourts: EU Constitutional Imagination: Between Ideology and Utopia – international conference (co-funded by the Carlsberg Foundation and the Dreyers Fund). More information (including the video recordings of the conference presentations) are available here.
  • 8 May 2018, iCourts: The Transformation of Europe: Twenty-Five Years On – Book launch and critical assessment – more information here.