Presentation of the Sciences Po Aix / Iméra – Albert Hirschman Chair: Identity passions between Europe and the Mediterranean

Two major reasons led to the creation of an Albert Hirschman Chair at Iméra in Marseille. The first is an act of recognition, given the historic role that Albert Hirschman had in Marseille between 1940-41. He was indeed the deputy of Varian Fry, who headed the American Rescue Committee. It made it possible to save hundreds of personalities who needed to be exfiltrated and to leave Europe in the face of Nazism, from Marseille. The second reason that presided over the birth of this Hirschman chair is the eminent scientific role that it embodies. A Senior Fellow at the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, Hirschman is a world scientific authority in his field and an original thinker in the field of social science. He notably wrote Passions and interests and this is why it was decided to orient this Chair around the passions of identity, between Europe and the Mediterranean.

Hirschman invites us, based on his historical experience and his civic commitment to the duty of vigilance in the face of the rise of identity passions, between Europe and the Mediterranean. Through his career as an economist and social science researcher, and in particular in his two masterpieces: Defection and Speech and Passions and Interests, he laid the foundations for a close link between the economy and politics.

The Chair’s research themes, within the framework of relations between Europe and the Mediterranean, are non-exclusively:

  • Studies of collective passions;
  • Studies of national and identity movements;
  • Studies of social and political behavior;
  • Studies of protest mobilizations;
  • Studies of mobility, migration and their societal impacts;
  • Studies of politico-religious movements, especially centered on Islam;
  • Studies of political forms, including democratic fragilities;
  • Cross-sectional studies, etc.

About the Chair’s partner

A founding member of Iméra, Sciences Po Aix is a training and research institution that is part of the network of major schools of political science, which supports numerous cooperation projects with other scientific operators in the territory, and first and foremost with Aix-Marseille University. The two institutions recently created, in partnership with the CNRS, a brand new research unit, the Mediterranean Center for Sociology, Political Science and History (MESOPOLHIS UMR 7064). In addition, thanks to an agreed partnership, some of the teacher-researchers at Sciences Po Aix deploy their research activities within the Aix-Marseille School of Economics (AMSE) and the International, Comparative and European Rights laboratory (DICE, UMR 7318). Sciences Po Aix is also a founding member of the A*Midex Excellence Initiative. This multidisciplinary scientific potential in tune with changes in the contemporary world constantly feeds Sciences Po Aix training, through educational innovation experiences (RSO, BWS programs), partnership chairs or meetings where the latest scientific advances are valued: the cycle of conferences-debates Sciences Po Aix dans la Cité or the Franco-German Forum on the Mediterranean (organized with Iméra, CFAP and the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation).