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SOURCE Final Conference

  • Institute for European Studies, Vrije Universiteit Brussel Boulevard de la Plaine 5 1050 Bruxelles Belgium (map)


The conversation about what makes European society what it is—and what potentially threatens it—involves many voices and many perspectives. SOURCE is an EU Network of Excellence whose aim is to provide a framework, tools and basic data, to facilitate this conversation.

It brings together policy makers, industry representatives, technology specialists, academics, civil society and end-users, and tries to resolve and harmonise crisscrossing and sometimes conflicting understandings about what societal security is and should be.

Through documentation, information, debate, and dissemination, SOURCE attempts to connect dots between the differing stakeholders concerned with societal security in Europe.

Societal security

Societal security is a response to an perception that society is under threat. Where traditional security is concerned with the security of the state and state sovereignty, societal security is concerned with threat to society itself.

To say that society is under threat is to say that the properties that make Europe what it is—the every-changing ‘we’ of the European project—are under threat.

Beyond the formal, administrative definitions like passports or identity cards, there are a set of convictions about who we are and what holds us together. These include values like human rights, democracy, rule of law, secularity, rationality, humanism, etc.

These values are under constant debate and reformulation. But it is this conversation about what they are, which is at the core of keeping them secure. Society is secure when these values—and their legitimate contestation—are secure.

4 societal security concepts

The conference will be structured around 4 concept-based panels, based on existing SOURCE thematic working groups. Framed by a keynote intervention and a conclusion.

  1. The freedom-technology-surveillance paradox
  2. Heterodox political groups
  3. Internet of things and security
  4. Ethics of countering violent extremism

These concepts will anchor panels based on sharp, well-chaired discussions between researchers and practitioners, half form SOURCE, half from beyond SOURCE.

A detailed programme will follow soon.