Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies 2005

Global Europe: Europe in Global Processes

Lecturer: Professor Göran Therborn, Swedish Collegium for
Advanced Study in the Social Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden

Main disciplines: Sociology, Political Science, Contemporary History

Dates: 1 - 5 August 2005
Course Credits: 10 pts (ECTS)
Limitation: 30 participants

Participants: Peter Akre-Johansson, Tatiana Coutto, Gabriela Cretu, Ombretta Dessi, Elise Frøseth, Bergthora Gottskalksdottir, Per Kleppe, Janek Kroon, Laurie McIntosh, Gunn Opdahl, Marianne Amanda Patiram, Triin Roosalu, Yana Sabeva, Erik Krogh Sites, Marianne Sætre, Marti Taru, Katri Vallaste. Professor Göran Therborn, Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden. Including: Summer School organizer Tron Harald Torneby.


The idea is to analyze social structures and processes of Europe as part of global processes, historical and contemporary. To see oneself and one's own part of the world properly is only possible, if one takes a broader view than that of the mirror. A major challenge to the social sciences of the 21st century is their classical Eurocentrism or North Atlanticism, the bases and rationale of which are now rapidly being eroded economically, socially, culturally, and politically, but which is still institutionally entrenched in academia.

The course will start, not from "globalization" but, from specific global social processes, and then aim at locating Europe and its different parts within these processes, in comparison with other continents of the world. The intention is to introduce a Brechtian Verfremdungseffekt into European studies. The main empirical focus is Europe, but from a vantage-point at a critical distance from it. The course will be able to touch upon only a few aspects of European and world society, but the hope is to present an approach which may be used for many others as well.

The outline is tangential to world system analysis, globalization studies, and European society research. But it follows neither the curriculum of any of the former schools, nor the aimed at comprehensiveness of the latter. The analytical framework is mainly intended to grasp the dynamics of particular world-wide processes, and the empirical field of reference is restricted to a few areas of the lecturer´s particular expertise. The areas selected differ widely, with a view to hinting at the possible range of this kind of analysis. The main emphasis will be on current Europe, but a historical dimension is held important.

Essential literature
A substantial knowledge of European societies is required as a starting-point for the course. As a base text in this sense students should have read, either;

Course outline
The course may be seen as having two parts. The first two lectures aim at providing a general theoretical base. The three consecutive ones are intended as applications, in three very different areas.
Texts marked with * will be included in the course compendium sent to the students in advance of the course for preparations.

Lecture 1 and 2: World Systems and Their Dynamics
A general approach to global analysis, as distinguished from universalist and national, will be presented. World system analysis will be specified into several world systems, globalization studies into dynamics of global processes. There will a special attention to the global dynamics of inequality, family, and urbanity.


Lecture 3 and 4: Modernities: The World Routes to/through them
This is meant as a general world historical background and context to contemporary society. It will deal with the meaning of modernity, and post-modernity, and with how differently it was arrived at and conceived in different parts of the world. Again, there will be a particular emphasis on the implications and effects of these road to modernity on inequality, family, and urban patterns.


Lecture 5 and 6: Europe and Processes of World Inequality
Here a theoretical framework for grasping different dimensions and processes of inequality will be presented. The empirical part will combine a long historical world view with current inter-continental comparisons.


Lecture 7 and 8: The Family Systems of the World and Their Recent Trajectories
The seven most important family systems of the world will bed presented. Their recent developments and future prospects with regard to patriarchy, fertility, and sex and marriage will be analyzed.


Lecture 9 and 10: Capital Cities: Power and Representation in the Modern World
Capital cities are manifestations and representations of political power. They constitute a privileged interface of art and architecture, on one hand, and political science, economy, and sociology, on the other. In a world context, capitals may be princely, imperial, and national - with a possible addition of "global". This lecture will provide a comparative overview, with focus on political representation and urban layout, but also relating to cultural imagery more generally.


The lecturer
Göran Therborn is Director of the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences (Uppsala) and University Professor of Sociology at Uppsala University, Sweden. He has had a tenured chair of political science in the Netherlands (l981-87), and has taught in the Americas (North and South), Asia (Tehran), Australia (Australian National University), Eastern Europe (European Chair of Social Policy in Budapest in l996), and Western Europe (Barcelona-Pompeu Fabra, Paris-Sorbonne, Paris-Sciences politiques), has held short-term positions of research and given individual lectures in a large number of countries, including Africa (South, West, and East). He has been the chairman of a Swedish national, inter-university, multidisciplinary research committee on Global Processes. Several of his recent publications are listed above, and in press is a collective volume on Asia and Europe in Globalization (Leiden: Brill, 2005). He is currently putting out a collective work on Inequalities of the world, working on the global challenge to the social sciences, and preparing a research project on capital cities of the world.

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