Introduction

The Summer School on “European Politics: Interests versus Culture” is a one-week program for undergraduate and graduate students of various nationalities and academic backgrounds (political science, sociology, media studies, anthropology and cultural studies, behavioral sciences, gender studies) from all parts of the world. The program is designed for those who are interested in the complex ways in which culture and interests affect politics, especially within the European Union.

The impulse for launching the Summer School stemmed from the observation that the vital processes of the symbolic construction of European polity are sadly underrepresented in didactic practices.

Many of us encounter symbols and myths of Europe on a daily basis, be it through the press article on the migrants’ “waves”, EuroNews TV channel, European museums or European Football Championship. Not many know, however, that social anthropologists, linguists and ethnographers, political scientists and sociologists have conducted a number of studies aimed at examining and explaining these phenomena and demonstrating what consequences they have for the European public sphere, politics, identities as well as the daily lives of the Europeans.

The idea of the Summer School is to offer students a variety of perspectives on symbolic and discursive construction of European political and social processes as well as European identities. These perspectives will allow students to gain cultural sensitivity and reflexivity which, no doubt, are crucially important for successfully functioning in contemporary knowledge economies as well as global civil society.

Objectives

We aim to pay closer attention to the cultural dimensions of political institutions and processes in Europe (e.g. political communication, symbolism and ritualism of power). The European Union seemed to be coming ever closer to defining its finalité politique, yet how this political body will be actually constructed and how it will perform largely depends on identities, values and cultural imageries shared by its citizens. The objective of the program is to equip students with most recent research findings on if and how contemporary European institutions and processes of Europeanization rely on values and deeply rooted symbols. Are these values and cultural symbols capable of mobilizing people to action, (re)creating identities as well as rendering the EU policies and politics legitimate?

Politics and policies of the EU are produced not only by the EU institutions but also through the sense-making practices of people who are involved in them either as an insider or a subject. The program will pay particular attention to the construction and use of lobbying strategies through the fundamentally cultural processes of communication. The program’s purpose is to also discuss how various cultural aspects are related to political processes and how they could influence decision making in Europe.

The program’s ultimate goal is to allow students to broaden their possibilities of interpreting the unique European political phenomena. It is aimed at providing students with the knowledge and analytical skills in the area of cultural analysis of political events, processes and institutions. The dialogue with distinguished lecturers, experts, practitioners and fellow students will allow the participants to cultivate their knowledge in the motivating intercultural milieu. Visit ACADEMICS to find out more about the program.

Program History

Future of Europe was the main topic of the founding Prague Summer Schools in 2003 and since its foundation Prague Summer Schools brought to Prague more than a thousand outstanding students from all over the World for an intensive academic week to learn and discuss various topics. We are also proud that one of our students – Charlotte de Kock (PSS 2009) – published a book, which deals with the cultural aspects of EU politics: Charlotte de Kock, Cultural Politics in Europe and Intercultural Dialogue in the EU, 2010.

Founders Word

europe_horoletsDear Students and Colleagues,

I am happy to welcome you at the Prague Summer School on “Europe Politics: Interests versus Culture”!

The idea of launching the Summer School stemmed from the observation that the vital processes of the symbolic construction of the European polity are sadly underrepresented in didactic practices.

Many of us encounter symbols and myths of Europe on a daily basis, be it through the press article on the migrants’ “waves”, EuroNews TV channel, European museums or European Football Championship. Not many know, however, that social anthropologists, linguists and ethnographers, political scientists and sociologists have conducted a number of studies aimed at examining and explaining these phenomena and demonstrating what consequences they have for the European public sphere, politics, identities as well as the daily lives of the Europeans.

The idea of the Summer School is to offer students a variety of perspectives on symbolic and discursive construction of European political and social processes as well as European identities. These perspectives will allow students to gain cultural sensitivity and reflexivity, which no doubt are crucially important for successfully functioning in contemporary knowledge economies as well as global civil society.

The idea of the Summer School is also to allow young people from Europe and the world to meet and discuss the cultural aspects of EU policy making and to enrich each others’ understanding of these processes by introducing varying perspectives. The free time spent together while the School lasts will be as important as classes.

I wish you to enjoy you stay in a wonderful city of Prague and am sure it will be an enjoyable and rewarding academic and personal experience!

Kind regards,

Anna Horolets, Ph.D., University of Gdansk, Poland, anna.horolets@ug.edu.pl

Testimonials

„I really enjoyed my program. The best part was that we had a small group, so it was more easy to interact in class. Also, there were interesting subjects asn everyone attendind to the program was very well-aware of politics, so I learnt a lot not just from lecturers but also from the other students.“

Alumnus of Summer School on Europea Politics: Interests vs. Culture 2017

“I really enjoyed attending the program, it helped me a lot to develop my professional skills and gave me serious experience.”
“Very very satisfied: positive atmosphere, diverse program and great people.”

Alumnus of Summer School on European Politics, 2015

An interesting week of varying topics that covered European politics with a lot of interesting people.”  

Alumnus of Summer School on European Politics, 2014

“Thank you so much for some excellent lectures and I think I can say confidently that we all had a fantastic week in Prague overall. The summer school was so well organized and our group could not have been nicer and a more interesting bunch to discuss these issues with!” (Amy Busby, UK, 2009)

“… it was so beneficial and so intriguing that time went by quickly and I enjoyed it so much.” (Anikó Kurucz, Hungary, 2009)

It was my first experience of this sort, and I found the week not only intellectually stimulating, but also highly rewarding. I felt the combination of lecturers as well as students produced a truly unique experience for myself, and I feel very privileged to be a part of it.”

(Sarah Kerrigan, UK, 2009)

I feel that my time here has been an amazing opportunity, I have met very interesting people, and to be able to sit down and engage in academic conversation without feeling excluded because I am not from here has really been great. […] I would like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to generate discussions in class, I feel that is when the greatest ideas are thought of”

(Allison Carlson, Canada, 2009 )

Thanks … for a well organized program. I don’t think I have spoke to anyone who didn’t enjoy it.”

(Ramiz Cizer, UK, 2008)

Practicalities

The classes will be held at the Prague Summer Schools venue (Marianeum, Machova 7, Vinohrady, Prague 2, website). Accommodation will be provided to students in double rooms at the accommodation facilities in the venue or Hotel Ametyst which is located within a walking distance from the venue. Each room is equipped with a shower, WC, satellite TV, Internet connection and telephone. Meals provided by the organizer will include breakfasts served in the hotel and dinners in restaurant located nearby the Summer School venue. As the days are demanding there will be coffee, tea and small snack available free of charge during the breaks between lectures.

Apply now! Applications are reviewed on rolling basis.