An accessible transcript of the entire interview can be found here:
Visiting us in this episode is scholar and EuroStorie team leader Timo Miettinen. Miettinen is a docent and a University Researcher at the University of Helsinki and the director of the research project Between Law and Politics: Rethinking the Intellectual Foundations of the European Economic Constitution (funded by the UHEL). His work focuses on the topics of history, politics, universalism and liberalism.
Miettinen says that liberalism is not only freedom, but also self-governance and the COVID-pandemic has forced us to question some of the basic presuppositions of liberalism. Liberalist thinking usually understands risks in an individualistic way, yet the logic of responsibility in COVID is different, as the risks are very asymmetrical.
According to Miettinen, during the pandemic we have seen a rise in trust towards leaders, especially nationally, and people still highly value scientific expert knowledge. The pandemic has treated Northern and Southern European countries differently and a narrative of juxtaposing the “obedient North” and the “irresponsible South” has been strong. Miettinen reminds us that this division was especially dominant during the Eurocrisis.
"Even though the pandemic had very little to do with economic defects, the legacy of the Eurocrisis still affected the public debate."
Universalism broadly defined means that there are certain truths, norms and rights that are common to all people, despite our unique perspectives. There is a paradox in current debates about universalism: Its practices are very central to certain ideas such as democracy or the welfare state, but on the other hand it has been criticized for being very Eurocentric. Miettinen’s new book Husserl and the Idea of Europe starts with this paradox and traces the relationship between different understandings of universalism and the birth of philosophy.
References in the episode:
Timo Miettinen: Husserl and the Idea of Europe / Northwestern University Press 2020
Dr. Timo Miettinen is the team leader of subproject 2, Discovering the Limits of Reason - Europe and the Crisis of Universalism. He is docent and a University Researcher at the University of Helsinki and the director of the research project Between Law and Politics: Rethinking the Intellectual Foundations of the European Economic Constitution (funded by the UHEL). He is a scholar of philosophy and European studies and has worked on the topics of history, politics, universalism and liberalism.
Bea Bergholm is the host of the podcast. She has a Master's Degree in Social Sciences (social and cultural anthropology) and works as a project planner at the Centre of Excellence in Law, Identity and the European Narratives. She is interested in human rights issues, environmental justice and sustainable development.
Dr. Paolo Amorosa the host of the EuroStorie podcast. He is a post-doctoral researcher in subproject 1, Law and the Uses of the Past. He has a background in international law, law and religion, and legal theory. His research deals primarily with the history of international law and human rights in the twentieth century.
Episode no: 3
Release date: 26 August 2020
Recording: ArtLab Helsinki
Audio elements: Antonio Lopez Garcia
Banner photo: Unsplash/Jakob Braun
Text: Bea Bergholm
Banner: Tuomas Heikkilä