The 2nd Annual European Photo Exhibition Award – epea02: “The New Social”

For the past decades Europe has been under the impact of great political, social and cultural transformations. The transition towards a post-industrial economy, the growing flows, networks and mobility of people and goods, the outcomes of the economic and technological globalization, among several other phenomena, have strengthened the view that we are now passing an inevitable and radical shift in our civilizational parameters. This perception has been recently accentuated with the serious financial and economic crisis that has had a strong social impact not only in terms of working conditions, employment and welfare but also at the level of family lifestyles and educational systems.

Under this historical context, several analysts have highlighted the fact that we are witnessing the emergence of a “new social” as a result of the fragmentation of public spaces and discourses as well as the arising of new types of social tensions, conflicts and contradictions. Within this framework, the “new social movements” set themselves differently from the traditional social movements by being first and foremost “social” in the sense that their active demands and public reasoning tend to embrace a wider debate on lifestyles and, more specifically, on human rights. This is manifestly evident on the numerous social initiatives such as the movements driven by ecological and environment defense concerns, feminist, migration or consumer rights, rural conservation, access to land or indigenous rights, global peace, critics of globalization, or vegetarian interests.

In this second edition of epea, we would like to challenge the photographers to work on themes related with this new and emergent social landscape, to explore the signs revealing significant mutations in terms of cultural identities, lifestyles, ways of communication and sociability, working types and conditions, civic and political participation, local cultures, territorial issues and migration rights among many others. This way, we understand that working on the “new social” calls for a growing attention and critical analysis on the evolution of values closely attached to citizenship and democratic participation.