Call for papers

Important dates

Plenary speakers

Conference programme


Venue and accommodation

Hotels and restaurants in Ljubljana

Getting to, from and around Ljubljana




Call for papers


The conference has been canceled due to too low number of applications. We apologize to everyone and wish you all the best in the coming year.

International conference

Questioning European Values - Discursive Constructions of Europe

Ljubljana, 11 - 13 March 2011

Organized by Educational Research Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia


Consortium in Humanities (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Hungary, Romania, Croatia, Slovenia)


In his recent essay, French philosopher Etienne Balibar called into question the very vitality of the European political project, pronouncing it dead. Although such a verdict might be too hasty, in recent years it has become certain that the EU is suffering from a lack of confidence, social cohesion, and political orientation. The widespread enthusiasm for Europe at the beginning of the 1990s is largely being replaced by equally widespread resignation; it seems that the European political project is continuing more on inertia than on genuine political, social, and economic ideas or coherent programs.

At the same time, the social, economic, and political problems that have caused disappointment and disillusionment among the peoples of Europe are very real and persistent: the financial and debt crisis, migration problems, the rise of xenophobia and discriminatory legal measures concerning migrants from outside the EU, the failures of the Bologna and Lisbon strategies, which have caused massive student and labor unrest, lack of political legitimacy and ideological coherence on the part of the EU’s administrative apparatus, which has shown itself to be little more than a legal superstructure for the imposition of a common market and common currency, and lack of democratic and popular control and influence on key decisions regarding the EU’s social and economic policies. The list could go on.

We are therefore confronted with a social, political, and economic crisis of Europe on the one hand, and a crisis of popular political and social imagination on the other, allowing for project Europe to (lifelessly?) perpetuate itself despite its increasing lack of political legitimacy and despite the increase in social ills, which the EU is (if not outright responsible for) at least unable to remedy.      


Specific conference topics

Europe in Media and Public Discourse. How is Europe as a political entity and social agency constructed through mass media and parliamentary discourse? How is Europe (re)presented to its various constituencies? What do the media coverage and political discussions on European political projects reveal about the nature and functioning of the EU—and, perhaps more importantly, what do they downplay and exclude? How does the public image of Europe encode, present, and/or distort its policies and its structure.

Europe, the Welfare State, and Neoliberalism. On the one hand, the EU presents itself as the continuation and/or even embodiment of Europe's characteristic sensitivity to issues of social justice and equality but, on the other hand, certain EU measures and policies actually result in its precise opposite. Catchphrases surrounding such unpopular (or even anti-popular) measures are thus usually a quasi-dialectical union of opposites such as “flexicurity.” The EU seems to be caught in a crossfire of demands from multinational corporations and financial institutions on the one hand, and its own peoples on the other. Is there a way out beyond the old choice between the welfare state and neoliberalism?

A Common European History? In the mobilization rounds for its political project and enlargements, the EU seems to focus a lot on Europe’s common and glorious history. This strategy is suspicious on both counts: the actual history of Europe is a history of deep and violent ethnic, religious, class and gender divisions, subjugations, and inequalities. How is this common history (discursively) (re)constructed and/or invented? Is there a way to come to terms with such history that goes beyond the paeans to contemporary “multiculturalism” and “celebration of diversity”? Can European history teach us more than Christian charity and humility, liberal respect for private property, and superficial tolerance? 

Knowledge-Based Economy and Knowledge Society. The propaganda that followed in the wake of the Bologna reform promised the rise of the knowledge society and knowledge-based economy. Actual reforms of the universities involved budget cuts, closing down certain departments, attempts to privatize the universities, and introducing (or raising) student fees and credits. Does a knowledge-based economy mean an economy in which knowledge production is commercialized, commoditized, and standardized? How are these developments (discursively) legitimized? Is it possible to conceive of a knowledge-based society that is not based on entrepreneurial and business-friendly knowledge? Is there more to European education than “skill-enhancement” and “lifelong learning”?

Europe and Democracy. The establishment of the EU in its most recent form coincided with the fall of communism as the last remaining “totalitarianism.” The Europe-wide dominance of democracy, one of the key European values, was thus guaranteed—or was it? Although political threats to democracy have been successfully eliminated, a new threat has emerged with the development of the EU’s core project: the single market with a single currency. The new threat to democracy seems to be economic, wresting control over the most basic and crucial aspects of people’s lives—such as working conditions and relations, wage policies, and governance of public institutions—away from democratic supervision and control. Can democracy survive European integration? Should it be reinvented? How is democracy (discursively) (re)presented to different publics, and for different purposes? 


Papers and abstracts 

Papers will be allocated 20 minutes plus 10 minutes for questions. The language of the conference is English.

Abstracts of 400-500 words (excluding references) should be sent by email as a Word attachment to and by 15 December 2010. Please include name, affiliation, email address and paper title in the body of the email.  All abstracts will be subject to peer review. Notification of acceptance decisions will be communicated via email by 31 December 2010.

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Important dates

15 December 2010, abstracts due.

31 December 2010, notification of acceptance.

31 January 2011, all conference fees due (registration fee & accommodation package).

28 February 2011, final program.

11 - 13 March 2011, the conference.

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Plenary speakers

Professor Bo Strath, Renvall Institute, University of Helsinki.

Professor Bob Jessop, Department of Sociology, Lancaster University.

Professor Andreas Musolff, School of Language and Communication Studies, University of East Anglia.

Professor Chris Lorenz, Department of History, UV University, Amsterdam.

Professor Jonathan Charteris-Black, Department of English, Linguistics & Communication, University of the West of England.

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Conference programme

Full programme due 28 February 2011.

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The registration fee is €120 and covers all conference materials, refreshments, and lunches. A discount fee of 100 EUR is offered to participants from Central & Eastern Europe and countries with currency restrictions, as well as doctoral students.

Registration and Accommodation Fees must be paid by bank transfer before 31 January 2011. Fees should be transferred to the account below with the reference “Conference Europe - Your Name”.

ACCOUNT NAME: Pedagoški inštitut (Educational Research Institute), Gerbičeva 62, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenija.

BANK NAME: Banka Slovenije, Slovenska c. 35, 1000 Ljubljana

ACCOUNT NUMBER: 01100-6030346085

IBAN: SI56 01100 6030346085


Email notifications of payment should be sent to

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Venue and accommodation

The conference venue will be a recently renovated three star City Hotel, located at the city center (Dalmatinova st. 15), within close walking distance from the main train/bus station (turn South, towards the horseman statue, and walk for 5 minutes on Kolodvorska street).

City Hotel conference facilities include four separate conference rooms for parallel sessions, which can be combined into one lecture hall for plenary sessions, and all necessary technical equipment: LCD projector, laptop in each room, wireless and cable internet, DVD player, wireless and desktop microphones, portable and fixed projection screens, slide projector, printer, TV, VCR, overhead projector, desks for speakers and charts.

There will be two coffee breaks and a lunch per day provided by the hotel and covered by the registration fee. When you register, please note whether you are vegetarian so that we can plan the meals accordingly.

City Hotel will also take care of a buffet style conference dinner, which is not included in the registration fee and will cost €20. You'll be able to book the dinner and pay for it upon registration (on site).

Aditionally, City Hotel will provide a special room discount for conference participants for a limited number of rooms. Discount room rates are:

one bed standard €71 (30 rooms available)

two bed standard €100 (15 rooms available)

two bed superior single use €108 (four star standard, available by demand)

two bed superior €119 (four star standard, available by demand)

All rooms are equipped with a cable internet connection (free of charge).

If you choose to accept this offer, please indicate it in your registration email, and use the account number provided above in the registration section, with the additional reference "City Hotel Single" or "City Hotel Double" (for example "Conference Europe - Your Name - City Hotel Single"). Accommodation deadline is the same as the registration one, 31 January 2011.

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Hotels and restaurants in Ljubljana

If you choose not to take the City Hotel offer, here are some recommendations on hotels in Ljubljana:

City hotel, the conference venue.

Hotel Emonec, moderately priced and located in the city centre.

Hostel Celica, lively and alternative, located very close to the main train/bus station.

Hotel Park, also moderately priced and close to the main train/bus station.

Hotel Union, located in the historical building in the city center.

Hotel Slon, a signature Ljubljana hotel, also located in the inner city center.

Hotel Mons, a business hotel near the Ljubljana highway.

More information on Ljubljana's hotels can be found here.


Ljubljana's city center is full of restaurants. Some recommendations:


Foculus and Trta

Traditional Slovenian food:

Šestica, Figovec, Žabar.

Asian/Oriental food:

Dabuda (Thai), Sushimama (Japanese), Shambala (South-East Asian), Namaste (Indian), Yildiz han (Turkish), Zlato runo (Georgian), and numerous Chinese restaurants across the city.

Balkan food:

Harambaša (Vrtna ulica 8, no website, Bosnian), Sofra (Bosnian), Keršič (Serbian).


Vitez, Manna.

More information on Ljubljana's restaurants can be found here.


For entertainment, visit Metelkova (an alternative concert and club venue across the street from the main train/bus station) or any of the numerous bars by the river bank in the old city center. Those who prefer rock music might consider Orto bar, while K4  club is a place for electronic music enthusiasts.

For those with a more classical taste, we recommend Philharmonic Society, National Opera, two major classical theatre venues (Drama,  MGL), and Cankarjev dom.

Constantly updated information on tourist attractions, festivals, public life and cultural events in Ljubljana can be found here.

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Getting to, from and around Ljubljana

Arrival by plane: there are buses, shuttles and taxis from the Ljubljana Airport  (Jože Pučnik Airport) to the city.  Buses are the least expensive (€4), and taxis the most  expensive (€20 when you request them by telephone, up to twice that amount if you pick them up at the airport). When scheduling your trip back, please note that buses to the airport depart from the main train/bus station  starting at 5.20 a.m., and then every hour at 10 minutes past the hour (6:10 am, 7:10 am, etc. up to 8:10 pm). They take 45 minutes to reach the airport. To reach the main train/bus station, you can take a bus No. 9 from the city centre (direction Štepanjsko naselje) or call a taxi, but it is also within close walking distance from the conference venue.

Alternatively, you can call for a taxi at +386 31 73 22 89. They have a fixed rate of €20 for an airport trip.

Here is Ljubljana Airport Official Website.

A list of taxi companies in Ljubljana, together with rates and telephone numbers, can be found here.


Arrival by train or bus: the main train/bus station is located in the city center, within walking distance of the conference venue and most hotels.

Main train station's website can be found here.

Main bus station's website can be found here.

More information on arriving to Ljubljana in general can be found here.


Getting around Ljubljana: city centre is rather small and all bars, restaurants and tourist attractions are within walking distance from each other. To take a bus, you have to purchase an Urbana bus card at any newspaper stand . For terms of use, see here. Bus services stop after midnight. There is no urban rail system. Taxis are inexpensive, most trips around the city centre cost only from €3 to 4.

More information on public transport in Ljubljana can be found here.

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Programme Comittee

Igor Ž. Žagar, Educational Research Institute & University of Maribor, Slovenia.

Primož Krašovec, Educational Research Institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Jef Verschueren, University of Antwerp, Belgium.

Guenther Kress, Institute of Education, London, United Kingdom.


Organizing Comittee

Igor Ž. Žagar,

Primož Krašovec, (please use this email address for questions and inquiries regarding the programme).

Sabina Ž. Žnidaršič, (please use this email address for organizational, financial, and technical matters and questions).




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