The Meaning of RECAST

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COST Action CA 16211 RECAST

Reappraising Intellectual Debates on Civic Rights and Democracy in Europe

The Title

Scholars have a political, intellectual responsibility even when doing solely research. To name that double condition, RECAST takes inspiration from Tony Judt’s 2008 book Reappraisals: Reflections on the Forgotten Twentieth Century, which is an insightful composition of intellectual, ideological and political history, of moral and political thinking.

Civic Rights and Democracy illustrates the strains produced by the universalizing claims of rights, most clearly of human rights, on the national character of democracies. Even though the democratic ideal is formulated in universalist terms, the historical practices of democracy are only achievable in non-universalist conditions. That fundamental tension is epitomized by the predicament of democratic citizenship, whose legal status gives access to universal rights, yet at the same time sets the political boundaries of non-universalist communities.

Reappraising Intellectual Debates entails revaluing humanities’ and social sciences’ contributions to address the challenge. Current debates on the relations of civic rights and democracy in Europe reflect separate lines of scholarly work, which to a great extent reproduce structural political and policy divisions. RECAST seeks to revamp the path connecting intellectual debates, public debates, politics, and policy action.


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