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HomeEurope’s devices, European devices?

Europe’s devices, European devices?

Dispositifs d’Europe, dispositifs européens ?

Observatoire des discours de/sur l’Europe

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Published on Thursday, February 16, 2023


After five successful international conferences (Besançon 2013, Brussels 2015, Turin 2017, Bucharest 2019 and Cyprus 2021), the Observatory of Discourses of/about Europe launches its sixth call for papers. This year, the conference aims to explore the discursive construction of Europe through the devices that make it exist, whether they tend to promote it or, on the contrary, seek to distance themselves from it or even to question it. The main aim is to continue to forge an international and interdisciplinary space for discussion on the ways in which the link between discourses on/in Europe and the approach(es) in terms of device(s) can be theoretically addressed and empirically analysed.



Discourse & Device(s)

In the field of the humanities and social sciences, the notion of 'device' is often and commonly attributed to Michel Foucault, who envisaged it as 'a resolutely heterogeneous whole comprising discourses, institutions, architectural arrangements, regulatory decisions, laws, administrative measures, scientific statements, philosophical, moral and philanthropic proposals; in short, the said as well as the unsaid' (Foucault, 2001a: 299).

Giorgio Agamben is notably responsible for highlighting the heuristic potential of this notion and for establishing a proposed definition. Following Foucault, he proposes to call 'a device anything that has, in one way or another, the capacity to capture, orientate, determine, intercept, model, control and ensure the gestures, conducts, opinions and discourses of living beings' (Agamben, 2007).

In so doing, he broadens the notion to include uses that are not only linked to the exercise of power but also common, a dimension that is also primordial in Michel de Certeau's conception of the dispositif, from the point of view of users’ "tactics" (Certeau, 1990). « The pen, writing, literature, philosophy, agriculture, cigarettes, navigation, mobile phones and, why not, language itself, the oldest device », can be considered as devices. (Agamben, 2007).

The growing plasticity of the concept can explain its plural mobilisation, in meanings which, although distinct, are not antagonistic. It thus allows us, without being exhaustive, to understand the political and institutional logics of 'governmentality' (Lascoumes, 2004), the sociological dimension of innovation (see Akrich, Callo, Latour, 1989), the processes of organising discourse (Veron, 1983, Angermuller, 2015, Maingueneau), or even to enter into the depths of 'representation', in semiology and aesthetics (Marin, 1981). It is also encountered in information and communication sciences when it is declined as a 'mediation device' (Caune, 1999) or 'info-communication device' (Jeanneret, 2014). In 2015, an issue of the French journal Communication&Langages proposed to 'take an interest in the daily life of the European Union', intending to 'propose a new approach to the use of communication devices on the Internet (social networking sites and websites) by political actors to promote or not to promote it' (Jeanne-Perrier and Roginsky, 2015).

The focus

The upcoming conference intends to take advantage from this disciplinary diversity, in order to critically question the dispositive construction of Europe and the discourses or counter-discourses that accompany it. 

The proposed papers may thus come from discourse analysis, linguistics, information and communication sciences, political science, law, history, etc. and be based on theoretical discussions, empirical cases, comparative and interdisciplinary studies that contribute to the development of approaches and methods for understanding the relationship between discourse, device(s) and Europe. This plurality of possible approaches is matched by a deliberately broad understanding of 'Europe', seen as a 'cultural being' (Jeanneret, 2007): research can thus be proposed that considers it from an institutional (EU) or geographical angle, or as a space for political, cultural, commercial or intellectual exchanges...

While remaining open to the diversity of proposals that seek to contribute to the analysis of devices related to Europe, we hope to receive contributions from the following perspectives :

  • Epistemological: In what way does the very notion of device prove to be operative for thinking about Europe today? What place should be given to discourse analysis?
  • Methodological: How can we empirically approach the scope of the devices of and in Europe?
  • Strategic and tactical: Who are the actors at the origin of European mechanisms? What are their motives for action and/or mobilisation ? And, in relation to this, who are those who propose alternative paths? Who are trying to appropriate or oppose them, more or less openly? Who is 'poaching' with Europe to propose inventive and dissident forms? And how?
  • Representational: how is Europe presented? Through what kind of staging and signage or narrative? By what technical, symbolic and semiotic means can a 'European semiosphere' (Bal, 2023) be manifested and constituted?

Guest speaker

Professor Mieke Bal (University of Utrecht, The Netherlands)

How to contribute

Proposals, in English or French, should be sent to the following address: colloqueeurope2023@gmail.com

The deadline for submission of proposals is June 1st, 2023.

Proposals should be no longer than 350 words and should include a title, author's name, academic affiliation, e-mail address, and an abstract explaining the relevance of the proposed topic to the conference themes, the methodological approach used and the main/principal results.

Proposals will be subject to a double-blind review by members of the scientific committee.

Key dates

  • Deadline for submission of proposals: 01.06.23
  • Notification of acceptance: 20.06.2023
  • Conference: 16 &17 November 2023, GRIPIC- CELSA Sorbonne Université (France), Paris-Neuilly

Registration fees

There is no registration fee. Travel and accommodation costs are not covered by the conference organisation. 

Scientific Committee

  • Julien Auboussier (University Lumière Lyon 2)
  • Francesca Bisiani (Catholic University of Lille)
  • Lisa Bolz (Sorbonne University)
  • Juliette Charbonneaux (Sorbonne University)
  • François Fecteau (Université Libre of Brussels)
  • Marie-Hélène Hermand (Bordeaux Montaigne University)
  • Valentina Pricopie (Romanian Academy)
  • Rachele Raus (University of Bologna)
  • Sandrine Roginsky (Catholic University of Louvain)
  • Florian Tixier (Bordeaux Aquitaine Institute of Journalism)
  • Dimitris Trimithiotis (University of Cyprus)

Responsible for the organisation

  • Juliette Charbonneaux (GRIPIC, Sorbonne University)
  • Lisa Bolz (GRIPIC, Sorbonne University)
  • Johanna Cappi (GRIPIC, Sorbonne University)
  • Claudia Marson (GRIPIC, Sorbonne University)
  • Anita Saleh (GRIPIC, Sorbonne University)


  • GRIPIC- CELSA Sorbonne Université (France)
    Paris, France (75)

Event attendance modalities

Hybrid event (on site and online)


  • Thursday, June 01, 2023


  • Europe, dispositif, communication, discours, institution, loi, administration, usage, pouvoir, langage, écriture, Certeau, Foucault, Agamben


  • Juliette Charbonneaux
    courriel : juliette [dot] charbonneaux [at] sorbonne-universite [dot] fr

Information source

  • Johanna Cappi
    courriel : johannacappi [at] hotmail [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Europe’s devices, European devices? », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, February 16, 2023, https://calenda.org/1051028

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