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The (trans)formation of a European sense of solidarity: Visceral politics and social belonging in a comparative European context

New grant from VolkswagenStiftung to IMC and four European partners

The Challenge for Europe

In a complex world in which many feel a profound sense of alienation, how we create and maintain the social ties that bind us is an important question with profound consequences for national and international policy-makers. Generating a sense of solidarity in a cohesive community is central to the challenges facing Europe.

The project brings together a truly multidisciplinary team from five leading universities across four European countries in a novel and ambitious exploration of the complexities of Europeans’ sense of belonging and identity. It carefully integrates different methods, from literature studies and surveys to monitoring of social media and on-line and lab-based experiments. 

The findings will be shared with policy makers, research institutions and cultural innovators across Europe, including EU’s Joint Research Centre, the European University Institute and influential art practice at Studio Olafur Eliasson.

The consortium has received 1.1m Euro from the VolkswagenStiftung to the 3-year research project.

The project aims to:

  • produce a nuanced comparative understanding of the emotional impact of the challenges facing the European Union and its citizens in different social, political, economic and territorial contexts.
  • produce a longitudinal emotional barometer of contemporary responses to the European Union and its challenges, as expressed by the public in the media, in new social media communications and in response to experimental interventions.
  • understand the mechanisms behind actions, narratives and symbols that are important for addressing emotional needs and for facilitating a sense of social belonging, security and cohesion amongst European Union citizens.



  • Prof. Andreas Roepstorff, University of Aarhus, School of Culture and Society, Interacting Minds Centre (PI)
  • Prof. Dr. Michael Pauen, Institut für Philosophie, Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt- Universität Berlin
  • Dr. Dominika Kasprowicz, Department of Journalism, Media and Communication, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland
  • Prof. Dr. Manos Tsakiris, Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway University of London, Great Britain & The Warburg Institute & The Institute of Philosophy, School of Advanced Study, University of London
  • Prof. Dr. Laura Cram, NRLabs Neuropolitics Research, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh, Great Britain



Andreas Roepstorff, Professor, Director
Interacting Minds Centre, Aarhus University
School of Culture and Societyr and
Department of Clinical Medicine


About the Foundation: