Flagship 2

Europe in a changing world: Understanding and engaging societies, economies, cultures and languages

Flagship 2 brings together scholars from various disciplines in the field of the Humanities, with the aim of providing a comprehensive understanding of the concept of Europeanness”. This umbrella term is used to cover both institutional and grassroots perspectives as well as collective and individual facets of living in Europe and being European. Deriving from this definition, Flagship 2 covers two general lines:

  1. The governance/regulatory aspects of Europeanness (e.g., politics, economics, law), and

  2. The multitude of factors that contribute to European self-identification (e.g. Social Sciences/Psychology, Linguistics, Cultural Studies).



The questions to be considered are: How can Europeanness in this double sense be characterized at present? What are the roots of Europeanness and how were they established? What predictions can be made about its future development, given the rapidly changing world we are living in? The combination of different perspectives and the use of different methodologies, all inherently linked to the disciplines represented in the Flagship, enables a scientifically solid and holistic understanding of Europe as a non-physical entity. Europe is an inherently complex human-made construct that has an undeniable integrative potential. A better understanding and communication of European commonalities and diversities will help overcome ever re-surfacing sources of conflicts inside Europe, as well as between Europe and the world.


Flagship 2 activities are organized in and around several already existing networks that have specific topics and agendas, with new initiatives encouraged and expected during the 4EU+ activities. The networks provide the basis for educational programs set up to disseminate expert knowledge and state-of-the-art methods in the Humanities.


Alphabetical list of current networks:


One of the common denominators among Flagship 2 partners is to foster high-quality research-based education. It aims to provide students with the essential transversal skills defined by the 4EU+ Alliance (multilingualism, data literacy, critical thinking, entrepreneurship, and social engagement), as well as discipline-specific skills needed to advance research in the Humanities with respect to the study of “Europeanness” in all its different aspects. What unites us is the confidence that only a positive, integrative approach towards education and research will guarantee that the inherent European diversity is maintained while rejecting a construal of uniformity. This is our understanding of the role of the European University.


While “Europeanness” is a general theme for Flagship 2, “European citizenship” and “multilingualism” have been identified by the 4EU+ Alliance to provide Flagship 2 with a unique profile.


European citizenship is understood as both a legal and philosophical term, referring to a “Weltanschauung”. Respective research questions and educational programs place the focus on the tension between the rights that European citizens are benefitting from and the burden of responsibilities regarding the union and the community. At the same time, the goal is to understand what is the sense of belonging and other collective ideas (e.g., ‘collective memories’) in Europe and how this can be objectively identified by using innovative methods (e.g. Big Data).


Multilingualism, at a very general level, concerns the ability of Europeans to express and communicate their ideas, beliefs, and convictions with one another. More specifically, this is a phenomenon concerning both the individual and societal level. Many individuals acquire and speak multiple languages while speakers of different languages live side-by-side in one society. At the level of individuals, the most important research questions concern how multiple languages are acquired, and how a second/third language is taught best. At the level of the society, research questions concern the prestige of one or more specific languages over one or more others as well as similarities and differences in discourse and communication patterns in and across the European languages.


The great potential of the educational and research activities Flagship 2 has to offer lies in the multi-facetted approach, which not only encompasses distinctive combinations of disciplines and methodologies, but also the specific traditions and perspectives immanent to each of the six European universities – here united as equal partners in the 4EU+ Alliance.