A new global space race? Eco-social transformation in regional integration contexts
Presented as “Europe’s man-on-the-moon moment”, the European Green Deal’s (EGD) ambitions to gain political traction and societal momentum was made clear from the beginning. This has crucial implications for global interdependencies and transnational social integration. The EU’s claim of a global leadership role in a worldwide green transition has already prompted other global powers to symbolically engage in a ‘green space race’ and strongly shapes current EU foreign relations. At the same time, becoming the first continent to achieve climate-neutrality can only compare to sending the first man on the moon if policies align with public sentiment that sees green prosperity as an extraordinary goal worth the historical and collective effort – in other words, that “all of us must work to put him there” (Kennedy 1961). In light of these global and inner-societal dimensions of a (potential) ‘green space race’, the project is interested in the social legitimacy green transition strategies and their potential for transnational social integration within regional integrations projects (particularly the EU, MERCOSUR and ASEAN). Will regional integration projects be able to unite their population behind a collective effort for the sake of their global power position (and probably for the sake of planetary ecosystems)? Observing the rather precarious reliance on legitimation derived from different and sometimes opposing societal actors and particularistic discourses on ‘the universal’ will provide important insights into the societal embeddedness of green transition strategies, which can become a source of trust in institutions – or provide a platform for a climate of distrust and political failure.
Related publications and presentations:
- Special Issue “Global moonshots, European responsibilities: Governance and Contestation of Eco-social Transformation” in der Zeitschrift “Culture, Practice & Europeanization, edited by Vincent Gengnagel und Katharina Zimmermann. [Call for Papers]
- Gengnagel, Vincent; Zimmermann, Katharina: “The European Green Deal – An inclusive moonshot for a climate-neutral yet prospering continent?”. Talk at the European Sociological Association Conference 2021 (31.8. – 3.09.2021).