Human knowledge and technologies grew exponentially over the last two centuries, but so did our population and ecological pressure on the Planet. Consequently, we now face existential threats we must address both as a species and as part of the biosphere; yet, we still keep relying on ideas and power structures that are deeply rooted on reified “identities”, “sovereignties”, “belongings” – as if they could provide absolute and reciprocally exclusive criteria to distinguish human sub-groups and legitimize the current juridical, political and partially cultural division that entrusts the task of tackling common problems to mere and voluntary international cooperation. In this context, the European Union constitutes a laboratory, as precious as it is fragile and ambiguous since it can dangerously be ‘heterodirected’, for alternative solutions to the dominant paradigm, which Europe itself, through its system of nation states, had reified and spread at the dawn of modernity.

The CITOYEN-NE-S Research Centre was born from the Action Research experience of Gli Spaesati and from the encounter with scholars from different disciplinary fields who share an interest in investigating, on a theoretical level and on the level of educational, creative and social experimentation and practice, both the existing cultural paradigm and its possible (or already emerging) “multi-scale” alternatives, with particular (but not exclusive) focus on the epistemological, pedagogical and artistic dimensions.

A special feature of the Centre’s scientific activities is the development and methodological application of the concept of “multi-scalarity” to different fields of action and research in the humanistic, social and naturalistic spheres. We borrow this term from geography and cartographic representations because it provides a particularly effective – and today extremely necessary – key to better understand and interact with the systemic complexity of which we are part as living beings, human beings and citizens.