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2nd International Conference on Women’s Studies

Second International Conference on Women’s Studies

12-13.09.2015.

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

RATIONALE

It has been a long time ago since feminists started to debate women’s rights, and different treatment women receive in societies, politics and working markets. Even though feminist voices are still loud, and feminists still warn about inferior position of women in comparison to men in all aspects of life, have we reached true equality? Statistics and events forming daily consumption of the international media show we have not reached an ultimate goal of equality, and yet certain movements are claiming that feminists are too loud and that men’s rights need to be protected due to the enormous influence of ‘women’s lobby’. Have we truly reached equality, and are feminists jeopardizing the rights of men? These and other issues were subjects of our conference.

A few photos is available in the gallery below:

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International Conference on Politics and Political Culture

International Conference on Politics and Political Culture

21-22 December 2014.

Venue: ***** Hotel Le Meridien Wien, Opernring 13-15, 10 10 Vienna, Austria

 RATIONALE

Politics makes our daily lives whether we are aware of it, or not. From social policies (e.g. financial help during unemployment, health insurance, etc.) that directly affect our wellbeing towards political decisions on foreign interventions and alliances, politics forms our daily lives. On the other hand, the notion of political does not stop in the realm of policymaking but also reflects in statements politicians make as well as in their party programmes. Because of the economic crisis, the Far Right re-gained power in many countries, but the Far Left also became more exposed in the public sphere offering criticism of current policies. Both Far Right and Far Left offer particular set of values and it seems as if central political positions are diminishing because people are turning towards finding the scapegoat by blaming those they consider as responsible for the crisis be it the so-called neo-liberal policies or immigrants. Religion has seemed to grow as strong as ever, and this also brings tensions because immigrants are often considered to be more religious than the hosts and religion is seen as too influential in policy making (i.e. in organizing referendums that enforce religiously-conditioned views, or by directly participating in ruling the country in certain countries). All of this changes our everyday lives and brings uneasy tensions in already turbulent relations. It also brings questions on political culture, which apparently varies from case to case. However, to what extent are we different, and how politics shapes our everyday lives?

A selection of photos is available in the gallery below:

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International Conference on Women’s Studies

International Conference on Women’s Studies

Vienna, Austria, 27-28.09. 2014.

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

RATIONALE

It has been a long time ago since feminists started to debate women’s rights, and different treatment women receive in societies, politics and working markets. Even though feminist voices are still loud, and feminists still warn about inferior position of women in comparison to men in all aspects of life, have we reached true equality? Statistics and events forming daily consumption of the international media show we have not reached an ultimate goal of equality, and yet certain movements are claiming that feminists are too loud and that men’s rights need to be protected due to the enormous influence of ‘women’s lobby’. Have we truly reached equality, and are feminists jeopardizing the rights of men?

A selection of photos is available in the gallery below:

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International Conference on Media and Popular Culture

International Conference on Media and Popular Culture

Vienna, Austria, 30-31.05.2014.

Conference venue: Hotel Le Meridien, Opernring 13-15, 1010 Vienna, Austria

RATIONALE

It is an unobjectionable fact that media participate in formation of our daily lives by creating identities, images, and by generally influencing our views. This applies not only to politics (i.e. political campaigns), but also to the formation on how we see ourselves and others. Popular culture, on the other hand, also affects our daily lives by fostering images and ideologies, and by selling way of life that is presented as acceptable or non-acceptable.

Sociological theories presented five models of audiences (hypodermic model, normative model, model of satisfying needs, interpretative model, structural interpretative model), and scholars still debate usability of each model due to the influence of media and popular culture over current issues.

A selection of photos is available in the gallery below:

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International Conference on Identity Studies

International Conference on Identity Studies

Vienna, Austria, 26-27.07.2014.

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

RATIONALE

Identities are various: personal, national, religious, regional, racial, gender etc., and it is very difficult to determine which identity is affecting us most. Sometimes it can be one, and sometimes the other. For example, during the presidential race in the United States between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, black women wondered which of the two identities represented them most: their racial or their gender identity.

National identity bears huge relevance and people are willing to die for their nations. Religious is as important as ever, and people are willing to sacrifice their own comforts and sometimes even to discriminate others because of their religious identities. European identity had been an issue of debate since the foundation of the EU when founders envisaged European unification based on a particular set of values shared among founders and prospective future members. The notion of identity is often ending up in stereotyping and othering of those who have different identities, and irrespective of the approach we take in identity studies we always end up with the same dilemma: why are identities and identifications so important?

A selection of photos is available in the gallery below:

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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: