Europe’s Futures Fellow 2023/24


Kultura Liberalna Foundation and Zentrum Liberale Moderne
Collective Emotions in Times of Global Crises

Karolina Wigura will devote her time during the Europe’s Futures Fellowship working on the following questions: What are the most important collective emotions in today’s Europe? How can we understand and work with them? How can politicians respond to collective emotions in a way that is relevant to today’s technologies? What is the best way for the politicians and leaders of opinion to communicate with citizens? How can we promote expertise in times of crisis to prevent people from spreading fake news and conspiracy theories? How do we stop populists from building on negative emotions? In ancient Greek, crisis meant a deep change and a chance of development, rather than decline. Is it possible, then, to embrace this meaning in addressing our needs? Wigura intends to work on these questions from a political philosopher’s point of view. Ideas matter greatly for political practice, and thus the hope is that the research and ideas generated during the fellowship can provide a valuable source of inspiration and reflection for activists, policymakers, and experts in the wide context of Europe.

Karolina Wigura is a historian of ideas, a sociologist, and a journalist. She is member of the board of the Kultura Liberalna Foundation in Warsaw, and a senior fellow of the Center for Liberal Modernity in Berlin. She is a lecturer at Warsaw University’s Institute of Sociology and focuses on the political philosophy of the 20th century and on emotions in politics, as well as on sociology and ethics of memory, particularly transitional justice, historical guilt, and reconciliation. She is member of the European Council on Foreign Relations. 

Previously, Wigura was a co-director of the Polish Programme at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford. In 2008, she received the Grand Press Prize for her interview with Jürgen Habermas, Europe in death paralysis. She is the author of The Guilt of Nations: Forgiveness as a Political Strategy (2011) and The Invention of Modern Heart: Philosophical Sources of Contemporary Thinking of Emotions (2019). The book she co-authored with Tomasz Terlikowski, Polish atheist vs. Polish Catholic (2022), became a bestseller in Poland. Her latest publication, co-authored with Jarosław Kuisz, has been published by Suhrkamp under the title Posttraumatische Souveränität. Ein Essay (2023). She is frequently interviewed and quoted in major international media outlets.