This panel considers the value in shifting attention toward an anthropological focus on, rather than a focus from, Europe. We invite papers that explore the challenges now facing the continent and that generate new insights amid periods of social, political, economic and environmental uncertainty.
Europe has been regarded within anthropology as an area of social, political and economic stability and a centre of anthropological knowledge production (Comaroff and Comaroff 2012). This observation has proliferated since the inception of the discipline, sustained through fieldwork, undertaken in local and global "peripheries", that has distinguished anthropology as a discipline and served to establish Europe's geographic, cultural and intellectual superiority, as the authoritative 'knower' of the peripheral 'other'. Yet, in recent years, the wider European continent has faced the effects of fiscal and border crisis and ecological decline. These threats continue to affect the social imaginary of Europe (Loftsdóttir, Smith and Hipfl 2018), destabilising it by real or imagined challenges to liberal democracy, neoliberal economics, environmental sustainability, social harmony, and national/European identity. Such adversity continues to bring into question the values that underscore life across the continent and the ways they are being challenged in a contemporary moment of unprecedented uncertainty. In this panel, we consider the value in shifting attention towards an anthropological focus on, rather than a focus from, Europe. We invite presentations that explore political, social and cultural challenges facing the continent, and its constituent nations. We particularly encourage papers that draw ethnographically on how these challenges are being experienced on the ground and how they are leading to new insights into contemporary challenges within and outside of Europe. We also encourage papers that highlight how such challenges are repositioning global and/or local power relations, as well as giving rise to new ones.