Nottingham ESRC Doctoral Training Centre

Image of Benjamin Thorpe

Benjamin Thorpe

PhD Student, School of Geography, Faculty of Social Sciences


Research Summary

My work looks at the shaping of a specifically European political imagination during the interwar years. Specifically, I am interested in questions regarding:

  • The shaping of 'Europe' as a space for political action, and the negotiation of what was to be possible in such a space

  • The development of the concepts of internationalism and supranationalism within the interwar European political scene

  • The mobilisation of scale as a political tactic, and the ways in which this tactic was resisted or co-opted

  • The legacy of these interwar developments, and their contradictory memorialisation as both failure and ahead of their time.

In order to address these questions, I am focusing on the efforts to create a Pan-European Union; a movement helmed by the Austro-Hungarian aristocrat Richard Nikolaus von Coudenhove-Kalergi which swelled in the 1920s, reaching a peak in 1929 with Aristide Briand's speech in favour of a European Union in the League of Nations, before losing favour in the 1930s. I wish to ask what the expression of Pan-Europe can tell us about the political imagination of the time, what it contributed to the discursive construction of European political space, and what its legacy was in shaping the concepts that underlie contemporary European (dis)affection.

Recent Publications

Past Research

Previously, I have looked at the political conditions that underlie contemporary patterns of discrimination against Roma in Europe. My Master's thesis examined this topic with reference to the 'emergenza nomadi' in Italy in 2008.

Nottingham ESRC Doctoral Training Centre

University Park

telephone: +44 (0) 115 748 4507