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International Conference on Culture and Cultural Policies

International Conference on Culture and Cultural Policies

Vienna, Austria, 24-25.04.2014.

Conference venue: ***** Hotel Le Meridien, Opernring 13-15, Vienna, Austria

RATIONALE

Culture is a set of rules and behavioural patterns we learn with socialisation. However, in a globalised (and multicultural) world culture became subject of discussions from various points of views, and its importance is not losing strength.

In the past century, we witnessed many attempts to foster cultural agendas using popular culture where identities were formed in a way to present one nation to other nations in a favourable way, and where audiences were confronted with various messages that are sometimes blurred with first-hand experiences. States indeed invest funding in their cultural policies, and particularly in their cultural policies oriented towards abroad via external cultural institutes, or tourist offers where culture is emphasized as an achievement of a certain nation (most notably, in art and music). Cultural relations, on the other hand, are centred on creating mutual recognition and understanding, however, many scholars and practitioners expressed criticism calling Western countries as imperialists imposing their cultural patterns over less advanced countries just via peaceful means and not through colonialism anymore.

On the other hand, culture is often a subject of discussion when minority groups are in stake because minorities find themselves surrounded by different culture, and in a dilemma whether to assimilate or to preserve their culture while still trying to lead average lives. The latter is then subject of criticism from conservatives and the Far Right that insist on integration, an unclear term that sometimes seems more like forced integration.

A selection of photos is available in the gallery below:

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Interdisciplinary Conference on Religion in Everyday Lives

Interdisciplinary Conference on Religion in Everyday lives

Vienna, Austria, 28-29. 03. 2014.

Conference venue: ***** Hotel Le Meridien Vienna, Opernring 13-15, Vienna, Austria

RATIONALE

Religion is often discussed through the eyes of secularisation theory; however, there is no agreement on what secularisation is, or to what extent religion is present in our present lives even though religion is as influential as ever. Whether we understand secularisation as a decline of religious beliefs, privatization of religion, or as differentiation of the secular spheres and emancipation (Casanova 2006; Berger 2001), we still have to ask ourselves to what extent religion shapes our present lives. Many scholars believed religion will eventually loose importance and that societies will face decline of religious beliefs, but by the end of the 20th century many changed their views and acknowledged that secularisation theory does not work, and that religion is as important as ever (Berger, 1999). Nonetheless, we can agree with a view “religious communities have survived and even flourished to the degree that they have not tried to adapt themselves to the alleged requirements of a secularised world” (Berger, 1999: 4).

Recently, scholars also advocated that religion emerges in times of crisis such as, for example, the Arab Spring, breakup of former Yugoslavia, current economic crisis that is shaking the world etc. It is questionable whether we can truly discuss secularisation as a phenomenon, or we should simply turn our attention to the notion of religion in all of its aspects, and try to increase understanding of this complex phenomenon.

A selection of photos is available in the gallery below: