FAILURE - Reversing the Genealogies of Unsuccess, 16th-19th Centuries




Code . 823998-H2020-MSCA-RISE-2017

Start  . 2019

Principal Investigator . Antonio Alvarez-Ossorio Alvariño (UAM)





Funding Entity

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


Main Institution

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



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

B. Training, skills and collaboration procedures:


C. Civic/public: