Cultural conditions influence societal development

The SAMKUL programme seeks to increase knowledge about the role cultural prerequisites play in the development of society. How are thought and action linked to phenomena such as the natural environment, technology, language, gender, religion, the media and an economy in flux?

In its first large-scale call for proposals in April, the programme announced funding for researcher projects and post-doctoral projects that explored and shed light on the cultural conditions underlying societal development and the formation of society taking place today. National and international cooperation was one of the criteria given special focus. A total of 138 grant applications were received by the programme, and applicants are now anxiously awaiting the outcome and allocation in November of all in all NOK 100 million for the period 2013-2016.

CASTL

Moral narratives in the East and the West

The programme’s extensive events calendar for the coming months includes an open conference and workshop to be held at the University of Bergen on 22-24 November 2012 on the growing significance of the strong Asian powers in shaping global moral narratives.

In the past few decades, hundreds of millions of people in China and India have been lifted into the middle class, and the countries have undergone tremendous social, economic and technological upheaval. What are the ramifications of this for moral narratives in China and India? Which historical experiences are being assigned the status of moral stories in these countries? Indian, Chinese and Western researchers will come together at the conference to discuss these issues.

Language and climate

There are clear indications that people’s attitudes towards the climate and climate change are heavily influenced by the way in which communication about the topic takes place. But how does language use influence action – or lack of action – on climate issues? This was the topic of an open international conference and workshop hosted by the University of Bergen and the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) on 25-26 October 2012.

http://www.uib.no/filearchive/programme_conference_workshop_25-26oct2012_oct-final_2.pdf

Prominent researchers in the natural sciences, humanities and social sciences explored the role of language in communication on climate change, with good help from representatives of political circles, trade and industry and NGOs.

Photo: Shutterstock

(Photo: Shutterstock)

 Divergent understandings of time

In May 2012, the University of Oslo organised the conference Tidsregimer i konflikt (“Conflicting time regimes”). The underlying assumption is that time regimes function as cultural prerequisites for understanding, decision-making and action in the both the scientific and political spheres. In the past few decades, the contrasts between various time regimes have become more pronounced. A good example here is how questions involving fifty-year perspectives on climate change should affect practical policy, which is reshaped from day to day or from election to election.

Understanding how the different time regimes work with – and against – one another is essential to understanding how science and policy can be used to solve societal challenges. At the conference researchers and societal actors discussed the time regimes on which various sciences and policies are based.

The conference programme is available on the University of Oslo’s website (in Norwegian only):

http://www.uio.no/forskning/tverrfak/kultrans/aktuelt/arrangementer/2012/tidsregimer/tidsregimer.html

More on the agenda

Events under the SAMKUL programme address a wide range of topics. In addition to the above-mentioned activities, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim organised a symposium in May on the ethical and ecological challenges relating to our steadily increasing technology consumption. Additionally, the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) has held a series of seminars on mobility, conflict and cultural change focusing on the situation in East Africa.

In December, the University of Oslo will hold a workshop on the ways in which geographical maps have influenced the changing perception of the natural environment from the 1700s up to the present day – transforming nature from an alien and threatening other to a subdued and exploitable resource.
Read more about the event on the University of Oslo’s website:

http://www.hf.uio.no/iakh/english/research/events/conferences/2012/mapping/index.html

 

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