I see history as the great upheavals that have affected human societies. At a time when more and more numerous aspects of our existence evolve through innovations and transitions, we tend to forget that this same existence still largely remains the product of more ancient changes. To name just a few from my European viewpoint: the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, the development of the modern state, the Industrial Revolution, the two world wars and European Integration have shaped languages that we speak, the cities and countries that we take for granted, the social and political orders that organize our existence, and the material forms of our daily life. Moreover, the study of past transformations and conflicts teaches us, I believe, the deepest lessons about human societies. Historical knowledge is therefore key for anyone who wants to understand the current world and recognise the direction it is likely to take.
I have devoted my first historical works to the study of European Integration. First because I consider that this evolution has deeply transformed the European continent. Second because it is still an on-going process. I therefore think that it is a field of research in which historians are the most likely to demonstrate their usefulness to explaining the current world. My works have been located at the intersection between the questions of European Integration and of migration movements. The latter have become such a contentious issue because they touch on fundamental interests that deserve to be better understood. I have published one book on these questions: The History of the European Migration Regime, in which I explain how an open migration regime was able to occur within Europe in the last decades. The book is now available in the Routledge Studies in Modern European History. I have also published articles that have explored questions more or less directly connected to this same matter.
Currently I continue publishing articles to help better understand various aspects of the transformation of the European migration regime during the last decades. I am also working on a second book project. In this second book, I want to investigate the nexus between immigration to Europe and labour conflicts in Europe over the post-war decades. I believe that fundamental factors explaining why immigration has become such a contentious issue in Europe lie there. I also believe that this nexus has shaped in still underestimated ways European societies and politics.
Dr Emmanuel Comte
Vienna School of International Studies
Department of History
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