Karlsruhe Dialogues 2012

Everything in (dis)order? New obscurities in a globalized world

Ophélie Latil




Ophélie Latil is an online activist and founder of the French group Génération Précaire (the French equivalent of the German term Generation Praktikum, i.e. ‘the Precarious Generation’ or ‘the Internship Generation’). She began her studies of political science in 2001, with a focus on business administration. In 2006 she received a Masters in literature and art, and in the following year she earned a Masters in management. During her studies, she has gathered cultural and economic experience through various internships - among other things, she was an intern at the Institut Français in Saint Petersburg. Latil garnered international fame through the activities of Génération Précaire, where she is chiefly responsible for events. In addition to this, she is a spokesperson for the organisation Jeudi Noir (‘Black Thursday’), a campaign to combat the housing shortage in Paris.


ZAK asked Ophélie Latil and Valentine Umansky to answer the following questions:

1. Has our need for security grown or merely our perception of insecurity?

I would suggest it is our perception of insecurity that has grown, due to a media focus on this matter since the 2008 presidential campaign in France. More generally, the broadcast of images is used to modify the public perception of such matters (e.g. ‘riots’ in London, and in Paris’ suburbs...). The perception of insecurity has grown due to the real insecurity people feel (job-wise, housing-wise, and so on), resulting in politics that are more and more state-handled and focused on security (e.g. immigration matters in France).

2. To what extent are interferences between the different risks on the increase? Is a domino effect recognisable?

The domino effect is logical, in the sense that there are links between each aspect of the society and between risks. I think it is quite obvious.

3. In the face of the present crisis situation should more decision-making authority be shifted to the European institutions/organs?

Generally, we suggest that more authority should be shifted to the European institutions, considering they have very little power in facing the current crisis. In a context where some countries start to doubt the European existence itself, that is the only response to the strong nationalist politics of many European countries. Many French activists were surprised how little power Europe had to handle Greece’s and Spain’s crisis first of all, so that trust in the entity itself gets smaller and smaller. Therefore, the feeling of insecurity (or the feeling that Europe has difficulties handling economic and political matters) rises.