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Culture and Politics in Europe

Class at Faculty of Social Sciences |



Course programme: 5/10               Introduction

                    Course structure, deadlines, assignments, group distribution


Different perspectives on culture. Why culture matters as public policy and diplomatic agenda? European culture and cultures. Cultural map of Europe. 12/10             Guest lecture

                    Ivo Šlosarčík – European Legal Culture(s)             19/10             No class – Inauguration ceremony                        

Reading 1:   Radakovič, Aleksander: Peoples and Nations: Cultural and Political Collective Self-Identification, National Identities, 2021.

Reading 2:   TFEU, articles relative to culture.   26/10             Soft power and its projection

Power and its elements. Hard power, soft power and smart power. Soft power tools and instruments. European soft power.

Reading 1:   Gahler, Michael:  Boosting the EU´s Soft Power in Eastern Partnership Countries, European View, 2021.

Reading 2:   Biersteker, Thomas: The Potential of Europe´s Sharp and Soft Power, Global Policy, 2020. 2/11               Cultural diplomacy versus cultural relations

                    Defining cultural diplomacy. Cultural diplomacy and international cultural relations. Innovative methods in cultural diplomacy. Cultural diplomacy, image and status building, nation branding strategies. Local, regional and international actors in cultural diplomacy.                                                                                                                                                              

Reading 1:   Kos-Stanišič, Lidija, Car, Viktorija: The Use of Soft Power in Digital Public Diplomacy: the Cases of Brazil and India in the EU, Croatian Political Science Review, 2021.

Reading 2:   Higgott, Richard, Lamonica, Alessandro Giovanni, The role of Culture in EU Foreign Policy: Between International Cultural Relations and Cultural Diplomacy, Okonomi & Politik, 2021.   9/11               Cultural policy

Actors, agendas, priorities in cultural policy. Cultural policy models. Where are the limits of cultural policy? Culture as a political and electoral topic.

Reading 1:   Sassatelli, Monica: The Arts, the State and the EU. Cultural Policy in the Making of Europe, Social Analysis, 2007

Reading 2:   Vrbek, Sandra, Pluchinotta, Irene: Is Culture a special Hub Policy Area for Co-Creation?, Journal of Comparative Politics, 2021.   16/11             Guest lecture  - MFA (TBC) 20-21/11      Brussels field trip 23/11             Brussels field trip debriefing in class 30/11             Identity

Identity and culture – where are the boundaries? Different forms of identity. Identity politics.

Reading 1:   Mormul, Joanna: The Commsunity of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) and the Luso-African Identity, Politeja, 2020

Reading 2:   Haugevik, Kristin, Sending, Ole Jacob:  The Nordic Balance Revisited: Differentiation and the Foreign Policy Repertoires of the Nordic States, Politics and Governance, 2020.

Presentations (group 1 and 2)   7/12               Guest lecture

                    Maxine David and Vera Scepanovic (Leiden University)   14/12           Cultural diversity

Roots of the debate on cultural diversity. Cultural diversity and cultural exception. International cultural organizations.

Reading 1:   Pyykkonen, Miikka:  UNESCO and Cultural Diversity: Democratisation, Commodification or Governmentalisation of Culture?, International Journal of Cultural Policy, 2021.

Reading 2    The Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, UNESCO, 2005           

                    Presentations (group 3 and 4)   21/12             Final test (in class)


Course description

The master course Culture and politics in Europe will introduce concepts related to the study of agendas on the crossroad between culture and politics, mainly culture and identity, cultural policy, culture and foreign policy, cultural diplomacy, and international cultural relations in contemporary Europy. It will offer different perspectives on geographical/political and cultural definition(s) on Europe and the way how European space is seen from within and outside of Europe. Students will study and analyze different sources such as primary documents, academic journals and book chapters, visual materials and speeches. The selection of academic articles reflects different perspectives on Europe from outside and from Europe in accordance with EPS diversity principles.

Course structure

The course has three components

- lectures centered around one of the key concepts related to culture and politics. For each session students read two set of texts – primary documents and academic articles or book chapters. The readings are obligatory and constitute a knowledge base for class discussions.

- guest lectures that give students a more practical perspective on topics studied in lectures or examples of specific research agendas.

- Brussels field trip

- Students are also invited to facultative on site visits- group visits and individually organized visits of local cultural institutions.