Flagship 2

Europeanness: multilingualism, pluralities, citizenship

Flagship 2 brings together researchers academics from various disciplines in 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).

Examples of 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?

Flagship 2 introductory video (2021)

The combination of different perspectives and the use of different methodologies, all linked to the disciplines represented in the Flagship, enables a 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 rooted in several networks that provide the basis for educational programmes set up to disseminate expert knowledge and state-of-the-art methods in the humanities. This fosters high-quality research-based education.

Flagship 2 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 and social sciences 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.

While Europeanness is a general theme for Flagship 2, the specific themes of “European citizenship”, “pluralities” and “multilingualism” have been identified by the 4EU+ Alliance to provide Flagship 2 with a unique profile which is represented in the three educational pathways.

European citizenship

European citizenship is understood as both a legal and philosophical term, referring to a “Weltanschauung”. Respective research questions and educational programmes place the focus on the tension between the rights that European citizens are benefitting from (1. Governance, regulation and justice: the multilevel legal, political, economic and social frame; the sustainability of European structures, regulations and models) and the burden of responsibilities regarding the union and the community (2. Fundamental rights and freedoms: social and economic structures, health, migration flows, EU core visions, digital environment, multidisciplinary challenges, EU external action). The goal is to understand what is the sense of belonging and other collective ideas in Europe (e.g. ‘collective memories’) (3. History and historical processes: European external political and economic relation, international law and politics, societal diversities, European integrated models; 4. literature, arts, cultural heritage: imaginaries, representations and epistemological models for Europeanness, identity issues) and how this can be objectively identified by using innovative methods (e.g. Big Data).


Pluralities mean here the internal plurality of European cultures, politics, and societies. The theme consists of four aspects. 1. The plurality of memories in Europe in general, put emphasis on mass violence, politics of memory, and memory wars in Central, East and Southeast Europe in particular, working towards more inclusive public history and collective memory and building a research and teaching network for interdisciplinary, institutionalized memory studies. 2. European spaces cover different cultural and political areas (regional studies). 3. European external relations focus on challenges and opportunities created for the European countries and societies by the outside European powersand as a result of the mutual relations while understanding Europe’s own complexity. 4. European practices regard plurality and innovative teaching methods, gender issues, problems connected to the environment, among other things, which will have an impact on the future lives of European citizens. 


Multilingualism, at a general level, concerns the ability of Europeans to express, communicate, and mediate their ideas, beliefs, values, and convictions with one another. Specifically, this phenomenon encompasses both the individual and societal levels. Many individuals learn and speak multiple languages. These phenomena form the core of Module 1 of the pathway, which includes submodules focusing on multilingual cognition and the process of language acquisition. However, these individuals, who are speakers of different languages, coexist within their respective societies. Module 2 addresses the distribution of languages in geographical space, in particular questions of migration and minority languages, as well as the dynamics of language use in multilingual societies. To understand multilingualism, it is important also to gain insights into the convergences and divergences between languages as semiotic systems and communication tools. Module 3 is dedicated to languages in contrast, encompassing a wide range of linguistic phenomena from grammar to pragmatics and discourse patterns. Finally, the theoretical analysis of multilingualism also enhances an understanding of the interaction between different cultures and speakers of different languages. That is why Module 4 is dedicated to multilingual and multicultural communication, particularly focusing on different forms of translation and interpreting.

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