FAILURE - Reversing the Genealogies of Unsuccess, 16th-19th Centuries (H2020-MSCA-RISE-GA-823998)  Descrição

REVFAIL is a RISE (Research and Innovation Staff Exchange) network coordinated by the Madrid Institute for Advanced Study. It brings together 11 participants in 10 different countries of Europe and the Americas and it is designed to offer pathbreaking insights on failure on an interdisciplinary, transnational perspective. REVFAIL moreover aims to provide critical tools to analyse and revert self-imposed and external narratives of failure.

The dynamics between inclusiveness and the failure to integrate is not only a key social problem of our present, but also one with deep historical and philosophical roots. Discourses on failure are present in many aspects of contemporary societies, and rango from those regarding the individual entrepreneur, to programs to minimize the failure of regional economies at the expense of larger and more populated areas, and ideas on international leadership. But quantitative approaches to development and integration need to be supplemented with critical awareness of the consequences of attributing failure to groups, individuals or even nations (sometimes as a covered synonym in racist and Eurocentric discourse).

Inclusiveness, and integration in all social institutions are challenges that demand reassessing the criteria used to identify failure. At the same time, it is necessary to promote a clear understanding of the temporary nature of failure and the possibilities of reversing and challenging it. These reversals are both a matter of fact and the result of changes in social conceptions of success, taste and well-being. While failure is a heavy and paralyzing category, a concept crafted to perpetuate colonial dominion and legitimize inequalities, positive psychology, engineering and philosophy among other disciplines have nevertheless pointed to several positive aspects and effects of failure and recovery.


REVFAIL project has three types of interrelated objectives:

A. Scientific

  • Provide historical, anthropological and philosophical critiques of failure.
  • Assess the relevance of failure in the creation of modern ideas regarding the self and individuality.
  • Document and compare the relationships between failure, marginalization and inclusiveness in different societies.
  • Reassess the links between community pressure, social position and individual failure from an interdisciplinary perspective.
  • Analyse the role of failure in Eurocentrism and post-colonial discourse, and in ideas on “civilizations”
  • and world leadership.

B. Training, skills and collaboration procedures:


  • Create new standards and strategies for the transfer of knowledge between Europe and the Americas.
  • Customize open-access publishing to meet current scientific standards in the humanities and social sciences.
  • Develop innovative strategies for on-line publishing and communication of results to wide audiences.
  • Training in recording of educational videos and audios.
  • Reinforcing doctoral programs of recent creation (PUCP, UNMDP) and increase international participation within existing programs (UAM, UNAM, CVZ, EHESS, JHU, LMU).

C. Civic/public:


  • Offer resources and performative tools with which to contextualize, analyse and de-articulate social, ethnic, religious, racial and gendered discourses of failure.
  • Foster the social inclusion of groups and individuals stigmatized as unsuccessful.
  • Offer new means of dealing with differences in integration using innovative perspectives on life-time achievements and long-term, intergenerational goals.
  • Reassess regional, national and social stereotypes linked to unsuccess and backwardness in Latin America and the Iberian Atlantic.

Início: 2019
Investigador Principal: Antonio Alvarez-Ossorio Alvariño (UAM)

Entidade(s) Financiadora(s)
- Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange Evaluations (RISE)

Instituição Coordenadora
- Madrid Institute for Advanced Study / Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

- Casa de Velázquez
- CHAM — Centro de Humanidades / Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas/Universidade Nova de Lisboa | Universidade dos Açores
- École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales
- Ludwig-Maximilians University

- Johns Hopkins University
- Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú
- Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Chile
- Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
- Universidad Nacional de La Plata
- Universidade Federal Fluminense