Relevant Realism - Truth, Power, and Action for 21st Century Societies


The aim of this project is to develop a fully functional new concept of realism which intrinsically combines theories of truth with theories of action. This new theory will be measured against other contemporary approaches and adapted to current political problems to validate it and to investigate its practical applications. The problems underpinning the urgent need of developing a new concept of realism are, namely, the rise of authoritarianism and the apparent ineffectiveness of current truth-concepts and communicative strategies in countering totalitarian, authoritarian, and simplistic-populist discourses. The innovative, nostalgia-free concept of realism titled “relevant realism” will provide new ways to frame current political problems and new tools for political communication while avoiding both the current realist backlash and the postmodern relativist trap. The project will engage in a detailed analytic assessment of concepts of realism and a comparative analysis and fusion of positions in Neopragmatism, Poststructuralism, and adjacent theories. Providing a realist approach without losing sight of postmodern and poststructuralist contributions to disentangle and unveil the power-mechanisms involved in every truth-claim is of utmost interest for a culturally diversified space like Europe where constant complexifications of cultures and ways of living have to be faced and are to be preserved as a value. The project will be carried out at the University of Bologna and at the University of Oslo during a secondment period. Research outcomes will be disseminated via conferences, workshops, and scientific publications, exploited for broad policy impacts, and communicated to the larger public via multiple outreach activities. With its cross-cultural, interdisciplinary approach and via mutual theoretic reinforcement the project offers the perfect balance between research innovation, individual career development, stronger networks, and mobility between systems.

Project details

Unibo Team Leader: Sandro Mezzadra

Unibo involved Department/s:
Dipartimento delle Arti

ALMA MATER STUDIORUM - Università di Bologna(Italy)

Total Eu Contribution: Euro (EUR) 183.473,28
Project Duration in months: 24
Start Date: 01/09/2019
End Date: 31/08/2021

Cordis webpage

Partnerships for the goals This project contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 832636 This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 832636