Europes Crises, edited by Manuel Castells et al.

First published by Morning Star on Thursday 22nd February 2018

In-depth analysis of a Europe in disintegration

A review of Europe’s Crises, edited by Manuel Castells et al. (Polity Press, £18.99)

Often one of the difficulties with books written by academics, is that they have a tendency to become narrowly focussed within the author’s specialism, ignoring the transactional nature of what it means to be human. Europe’s Crises is not such a book. It is edited by leading academics from sociology economics, communications science and science and technology, and contains 18 essays written by 29 leading academics from a spectrum of disciplines.

The driving argument is that rather than one existential crisis, the European Union is facing multiple interrelated crises. The essays are collected under three categories; Economics, Sociology and Politics. Within each of these are multiple essays. For instance, in the section on economics, there are essays on European integration, the Greek crisis, the European banking system, and cross border collaborations in science and technology funding.

Because this book is a collection of many people’s work, it is also a collection of writing styles. The essays range from the very readable, to at times the dry and highly specialised. That being said, it is worth remembering that to have encompassed everything in a more digestible style would have more than likely oversimplified what is a complex amalgamation of problems.

Europe’s Crises takes the reader on a journey of relationships and interdependencies, from Maastricht to Brexit, via Lehman Brothers, Schengen, Refugees, Austerity, Neo-fascism and Podemos. And, unlike the mainstream news media’s insistence on hiding the wider context, the reader is constantly reminded of the history, geography, and wider geopolitics impacting the day to day lives of the Europeans on the receiving end of these events.

Many of us living in Europe are facing multiple crises in our everyday lives, from rising unemployment, increased standard of living costs, underfunded public services,transnational corporations bleeding our governments dry, and a rise in right-wing extremism. But this isn’t how it was meant to be. Closer European integration held a promise for greater equality, freedom and community. But while the rich and powerful argue over which of them should be in charge, the rest of us are suffering from their arrogance and greed. The first stage of standing up to power is having enough information to see through their lies. Europe’s Crises is an excellent starting point for doing exactly that.

Nicolas Lalaguna, author of Seven May Days