Dr Eric Sangar | Forscher Fellow

Former Member
The State, Political Norms and Political Conflicts
Centre Marc Bloch, Friedrichstraße 191, D-10117 Berlin
Email: eric.sangar  ( at )  cmb.hu-berlin.de Tel: +49(0) 30 / 20 93 70700

Position : Assistant Professor (Maître de conférences) in Political Science | Disciplines : Political Science |


Eric Sangar is working at the Centre Marc Bloch as part of a CNRS research fellowship.

Since 2018 he is an Assistant Professor in Political Science at Sciences Po Lille and a full member of the research unit CERAPS (University of Lille). Prior to his arrival in Lille, he worked in various positions at European research institutions, including as a FNRS research fellow based at the University of Namur (Belgium), as a Research Associate at King's College London as part of the EU project INFOCORE, and as a Fernand Braudel Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institut de Recherche Stratégique de l’Ecole Militaire (IRSEM) in Paris.

He holds a doctorate in Political and Social Sciences from the European University Institute in Florence and an MA in International Affairs from Sciences Po Paris.


In his personal research, he is studying the links between collective memory and uses of history in foreign policy and conflict discourses, the role of emotions in the justification of violence, and norm diffusion processes in Franco-German relations. Eric has published articles in various peer-reviewed journals such as "Political Psychology", "Contemporary Security Policy", or the "Journal of Strategic Studies". He is also the author of the two monographs “Historical Experience: Burden or Bonus in Today’s Wars? The British Army and the German Bundeswehr in Afghanistan” (2014) and “Diffusion in Franco-German Relations: A Different Perspective on a History of Cooperation and Conflict” (2020). As a co-editor he published the collective volumes "Researching Emotions in International Relations: Methodological Perspectives on the Emotional Turn" (2018, with Maéva Clément) and "Memory Fragmentation from Below and Beyond the State (2023, with Anne Bazin, Emmanuelle Hébert, and Valérie Rosoux).


Eric Sangar is the academic coordinator of the Franco-German double degree (FIFA) and, together with Sami Makki, he is coordinating the Master "Stratégie, Intelligence, Gestion des Risques" (SIGR).

He also serves as a work package coordinator as part of the collaborative project DATAWAR, funded by the French research agency ANR (2020-2023).
Website: How data makes us see and expect war: the impact of research practices in quantitative conflict analysis on perceptions of political violence by NGOs, political institutions, and the media (DATAWAR) | Sciences Po CERI

Analysing German "Grand Strategy" as interaction between strategic narratives and societal memory discourses

This project aims at providing a novel interpretation of contemporary German foreign policy and its historical origins by focussing on the interplay between political uses of historical experiences and societal memory dynamics.

My fellowship at the Marc Bloch Centre will be mainly devoted to research and writing required for the monography project "Germany's Grand Strategy: Escaping the Grip of the Past?  (to be published in 2024 by OUP). This project aims to develop an analysis of the longue durée of “German” representations of its “relationship to the world”, i.e. its perceptions of the international environment, the nature of relations with other states, and the appropriate instruments to achieve its political objectives. Building on the concept of Grand Strategy, a recently rediscovered concept in foreign policy analysis designating the long-term continuity of foreign policies of international powers beyond short-term internal or external changes, this monograph will propose a novel interpretation of German foreign policy. This interpretation will focus on the ways in which memory discourses produced by political and military elites,  but also circulating within civil society, have both constituted ideational resources for forging German strategic narratives in the 19th and 20th centuries, but at the same time limited the capacity of foreign policy elites to take into account changes in international political, military, and economic developments.

The book’s main hypothesis suggests explaining the lack of coherence and hesitation of German foreign policy since the end of the Cold War by the fragmentation of collective memory, that is the decline of a public consensus around the lessons of the Nazi past for contemporary German politics. Far from implying the existence, at a given moment, of "one" collective memory shared by all members of German society, the term "fragmentation" refers above all to a pluralization of publicly expressed memory discourses since the 1980s, including ones that had previously been "marginalized" by political institutions. Thus, Germany's difficulty in articulating its grand strategy since reunification would be less a result of the uncertainties of the international environment but above all of the fragmentation of collective memories within civil society, limiting the ability of contemporary political elites to forge a new strategic narrative that would take the place of that of "civilian power" of the Cold War.

Memory Fragmentation from Below and Beyond the State: Uses of the Past in Conflict and Post-Conflict Settings.

May 22, 2023

Eric Sangar , Anne Bazin, Emmanuelle Hébert, Valérie Rosoux


Edition: Routledge London
ISBN: 9781003147251


This volume suggests a model of collective memory that distinguishes between two conceptual logics of memory fragmentation: vertical fragmentation and horizontal fragmentation. It offers a series of case studies of conflict and post-conflict collective memory, shedding light on the ways various actors participate in the production, dissemination, and contestation of memory discourses.

With attention to the characteristics of both vertical and horizontal memory fragmentation, the book addresses the plurality of diverging, and often conflicting, memory discourses that are produced within the public sphere of a given community. It analyzes the juxtaposition, tensions, and interactions between narratives produced beyond or below the central state, often transcending national boundaries.

The book is structured according to the type of actors involved in a memory fragmentation process. It explores how states have been trying to produce and impose memory discourses on civil societies, sometimes even against the experiences of their own citizens, and how such efforts as well as backlash from actors below and beyond the state have led to horizontal and vertical memory fragmentation. Furthermore, it considers the attempts by states’ representatives to reassert control of national memory discourses and the subsequent resistances they face. As such, this volume will appeal to sociology and political science scholars interested in memory studies in post-conflict societies.


Monographies :

  • Historical Experience: Burden or Bonus in Today’s Wars? The British Army and the Bundeswehr in Afghanistan. Freiburg: Rombach, 2014.
  • Diffusion in Franco-German Relations: A Different Perspective on a history of cooperation and conflict. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.

Edition d’ouvrages collectifs et de numéros spéciaux / edited special issues and collective volumes : 

  • Memory Fragmentation from Below and Beyond the State: Uses of the Past in Conflict and Post-Conflict Settings. (co-edited with Anne Bazin, Emmanuelle Hébert, Valérie Rosoux). Routledge 2023.
  • Researching Emotions in International Relations: Methodological Perspectives on the Emotional Turn. (co-edited with Maéva Clément). Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.
  • "Krieg ohne Heimatfront?" Special issue of the journal Berliner Debatte Initial, 25 (2), 2014.

Articles publiés dans des revues pratiquant l’évaluation anonyme par les pairs / peer-reviewed research articles :

  • "L’impact de la fragmentation des mémoires collectives nationales sur la politique étrangère : le cas de la France." In: Etudes internationales, 50 (1), 2019, 39-68.
  • “How do non-governmental organizations influence media coverage of conflict? The case of the Syrian conflict, 2011–2014” (with Christoph Meyer and Eva Michaels). In: Media, War & Conflict 11 (1), 2017, 149-171.
  • "'The ‘Hero-Protector Narrative': Manufacturing Emotional Consent for the Use of Force” (with Maéva Clément and Thomas Lindemann). In: Political Psychology (2017), 38 (6), 991-1008.
  • “The pitfalls of learning from historical experience: the British Army’s debate on useful lessons for the war in Afghanistan.” In: Contemporary Security Policy, 37 (2), 2016, 223-245
  • ”Die Rückkehr der Heimatfront? Frankreich nach dem 13. November 2015”. In: Berliner Debatte Initial, 27 (1), 2016, 88-93.
  • ”From ‘Memory Wars’ To Shared Identities: Conceptualizing the Transnationalisation  of Collective Memory” In: La Revue Tocqueville 36 (2), 2015, 65-93.
  • “Défendre Duffer’s Drift : l’influence de la mémoire collective et du régime d’historicité sur le choix des enseignements historiques en temps de crise” In: Temporalités, 21, 2015, http://temporalites.revues.org/3085?lang=en
  • The weight of the past(s): the impact of the Bundeswehr’s use of historical experience on strategy-making in Afghanistan” In: Journal of Strategic Studies 38 (4), 2015, 411-444.
  • "La présence de la Grande guerre dans les discours : persistance d’une « asymétrie » de mémoire franco-allemande ?” In : La Revue Tocqueville 35 (2), 2014, 119-143.
  • “What’s African? Identifying Traits of African Security Governance” (with Fairlie Chappuis and Deniz Kocak) In: Journal of Regional Security 9 (1), 2014, 7-30.
  • The German Bundeswehr after Afghanistan – a return to which ‘normality’?” In: Polish Quarterly of International Affairs 23 (2), 2014, 27-42.
  • Editorial“ In: Berliner Debatte Initial 25 (2), 2014, 2-5.
  • "Strategisches Denken in Deutschland nach Afghanistan: Die Renaissance der Technokraten der Gewalt?“ In: Berliner Debatte Initial 25 (2), 2014, 71-89.

Chapitres publiés dans des ouvrages collectifs et autres publications / Book chapters and other types of publication :

  • « Why the Ukraine War Caught Europe by Surprise: Right Numbers, Wrong Predictions? ». Publication collective de l’équipe DATAWAR sur Books & Ideas, Octobre 2022, https://booksandideas.net/Why-the-Ukraine-War-Caught-Europe-by-Surprise.html
  • « Bons chiffres, fausses prédictions ? Pourquoi la guerre en Ukraine a pris l’Europe par surprise ». Publication collective de l’équipe DATAWAR sur La Vie des Idées, Octobre 2022, https://laviedesidees.fr/Bons-chiffres-fausses-predictions.html
  • « Les engagements violents des femmes : contournements discursifs sous le nazisme et sous l'État Islamique » (avec Maéva Clément), in : L. Aubry, G. Patiño-Lakatos & B. Turpin (Eds.), Les discours meurtriers d’aujourd’hui (pp. 77-95). Bruxelles : Peter Lang, 2022. 
  • Récension de : Hélène Miard-Delacroix, Andreas Wirsching (éd.), Emotionen und internationale Beziehungen im Kalten Krieg, Berlin: De Gruyter Oldenbourg 2020, in: Francia-Recensio 2021/2, DOI: https://doi.org/10.11588/frrec.2021.2.81996
  • "Die Fragmentation nationalstaatlicher kollektiver Erinnerung und ihre Auswirkung auf strategische Narrative: Legitimationsschwierigkeiten deutscher Außenpolitik seit dem Ende des Kalten Kriegs". In F. Kießling & C. Rothauge (Eds.), Außenbeziehungen und Erinnerung: Funktionen, Dynamiken, Reflexionen (pp. 153-172). Berlin: De Gruyter, 2021.
  • Exploring Practices of Conflict Data Production, Analysis, Dissemination, and Practitioner Reception: Methodological Framework and Preliminary Findings. DATAWAR Working Paper 2021/1 (with G. Anderson, L. Beaumais, L. Carnapete, I. Lambert, S. Makki, F. Ramel). Paris: CERI, 2021, https://www.sciencespo.fr/ceri/sites/sciencespo.fr.ceri/files/DATAWAR_workingpaper_1_2021.pdf 
  • "La Bataille des Eperons d'Or : une histoire de mythes en compétition". In B. Heuser & I. Davion (Eds.), Batailles : une histoire des grands mythes nationaux (pp. 127-138). Paris: Belin, 2020.
  • “The Enduring Value of Reliable Facts: Why NGOs Have Become More Influential in Conflict Discourse” (with Christoph Meyer). In R. Fröhlich (Ed.), Media in War and Armed Conflict: The Dynamics of Conflict News Production and Dissemination (pp. 191-217). London: Routledge, 2018.
  • “Courtrai, the Battle of the Golden Spurs 1302”. In B. Heuser & A. S. Leoussi (Eds.), Famous Battles and How They Shaped the Modern World: From Troy to Courtrai (pp. 121-135). Yorkshire (Philadelphia): Pen & Sword, 2018.
  • “Introduction: Methodological Challenges and Opportunities for the Study of Emotions” (with Maéva Clément), in: M. Clément & E. Sangar (Eds.), Researching Emotions in IR: Methodological Perspectives on the Emotional Turn. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, 1-29.
  • “Of Heroes and Cowards: A Computer-Based Analysis of Narratives Justifying the Use of Force” (with Maéva Clément and Thomas Lindemann). In M. Clément & E. Sangar (Eds.), Researching Emotions in International Relations: Methodological Perspectives on the Emotional Turn. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, 179-206.
  • “Measuring Transnational Memory? Discovering the Potential of the Corpus-Linguistic Analysis of Historical References in Debates on Current Conflict.” In B. Mottura, L. Osti & G. Riboni (Eds.), Media and Politics: Discourses, Cultures, and Practices Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017, 330-355.
  • Recension/Review “P. Münch, Die Bundeswehr in Afghanistan: Militärische Handlungslogik in internationalen Interventionen.“ In: Defence Studies, 2016, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14702436.2016.1222868
  • “La présence de l’histoire dans les relations stratégiques : influence inconsciente ou ressource rhétorique ?“ Note de recherche stratégique n°16, décembre 2014, Institut de recherche stratégique de l’Ecole militaire (IRSEM), http://www.defense.gouv.fr/content/download/343711/4847884/file/NRS_n16_2015.pdf
  • “NGOs, Media And Conflict: Conceptual Framework” (with Christoph Meyer). INFOCORE Working Paper 2014/04, http://www.infocore.eu/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/INFOCORE-conceptual-framework-WP4_NGOs-and-media.pdf
  • “Les relations armées-société en Allemagne” (with Nadja Douglas), in: La Lettre de l’IRSEM, 2014 (1), 6-9. Disponible sur : http://www.defense.gouv.fr/content/download/237677/2704250/file/Lettre%201%20-%202014%20V2[1].pdf
  • Recension / review “Théorie du drone, par Grégoire Chamayou”, in: La Lettre de l’IRSEM, 2014 (6), 36-37.
  • Recension / review “P. Dixon: The British Approach to Counterinsurgency: From Malaya and Northern Ireland to Iraq and Afghanistan” In: Defence Studies, 2014, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14702436.2014.972105 
  • Die Bundeswehr in Afghanistan: Grenzen einer erfundenen Tradition“. In: M. Daxner (Ed.), Deutschland in Afghanistan. Oldenburg: BIS-Verlag, 2014, 115-138.
  • “Les relations armées-société en Allemagne” (with Nadja Douglas), in: La Lettre de l’IRSEM, 2014 (1), 6-9.
  • "The Past Stimulating the Change? The Use of Historical Experience by the British and American Armies in Iraq and Afghanistan. In: Militärgeschichtliches Forschungsamt der Bundeswehr (Ed.): Auftrag Auslandseinsatz: Neueste Militärgeschichte an der Schnittstelle von Geschichtswissenschaft, Politik, Öffentlichkeit und Streitkräften. Freiburg: Rombach, 2012, 355-365.
  • Historical Experience as an Intellectual Resource Fostering Operational Change: The German and British Armies in Afghanistan”. In: Institut de Recherché Stratégique de l’Ecole militaire (Ed.): L’académie de la boue : Regards croisés sur l’apprentissage des forces armées. Paris: Ministère de la défense et des anciens combattants, 2012, 26-39.
  •  “Fratricide”. In: Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence. Paris: Sciences Po. Disponible sur: http://www.massviolence.org/IMG/article_PDF/Fratricide.pdf 
  • “Classicide”. In: Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence. Paris: Sciences Po. Disponible sur: http://www.massviolence.org/IMG/article_PDF/Classicide.pdf