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Europe´s Many Souls. Exploring Cultural Complexes and Identities

Lecturer
Joerg Rasche
Focus

Europe´s Many Souls. Exploring Cultural Complexes and Identities

Political decisions in modern democracy are often based on collective emotions. It is about the cultural unconscious of the members of a state, a nation, a religion or another tradition. Often these unconscious elements of the collective psyche are about projections to the neighbour, traditional rules and memories, which stabilise the cultural or national identity, and mythologies about the founders and the historical meaning of the own nation or group. The analysis of such often very powerful identities is difficult, because everybody is a part of his own group and shares often unconsciously its values and, also, its false memories. In critical times long forgotten age-old narratives and mythologies become alive again, and are multiplied by the media and politicians for their own interests. In the workshop cultural complexes of European nations shall be explored. To play with our own prejudices can also be amusing; like in the French joke about the French character:
Charles de Gaulle once said: “How can you govern a people who have at least 160 different kinds of cheese?”
Or in a Swiss joke:
A new teacher gives her first class in a school. “Today,” she says, “we will talk about a very interesting issue: Where do the babies come from?” One child answers: “They are brought by the stork.” Another child says: “The little children are born in the hospital.” A third child says: “The babies are born if the father and mother love one another.” Then a fourth child stands up and says: “I think this is different from Canton to Canton” (“es ist unterschiedlich von Kanton zu Kanton”).

Proposed reading: Joerg Rasche and Tom Singer: Europe´s Many Souls, Spring Journal books, 2016, with contributions from Great Britain, Russia, Greece, Italy, Poland, Denmark, The Czech Republic and others.