Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - SOCANTH (European partnership for qualitative research training (social anthropology))

The Marie Curie SOCANTH was an international doctoral school funded by the early stage training programme of the European Union's Sixth Framework Programme that aimed to combine the strengths of a number of different Institutions and research traditions within European anthropology in order to contribute to and enable a process of institutionalising anthropological research and teaching in this region.

SOCANTH came into being to promote the development of anthropological research and teaching in the former communist regions of central and eastern Europe, bridging academic traditions between the great blocs into which our continent had been divided. More specifically, the programme built research training in anthropology by linking trainers in new member and associated states with western institutions.

Anthropology developed unevenly across Europe. Social anthropology was not taught in central and eastern Europe until 1989, with the partial exception of the Czech lands, and research training at postgraduate level remained patchy long after 1989. SOCANTH targeted students from new members and accession states, as well as others wishing to research in such countries. It enabled two intakes of doctoral fellows to move between two or more partner institutions in 30 month long training programmes. Some short term mobility was also available for doctoral students in Europe and beyond, whose research contributed to SOCANTH's goals.

The training strengths of the network provided fellows with a broad, international understanding of the discipline. The project built a remarkably cohesive network of European anthropologists who were anticipated to remain committed to researching and teaching in their countries while thinking in regional, continental and global terms.

SOCANTH fellows produced in-depth qualitative research on issues of profound public interest and academic debate, such as ethnic relations, democratic public culture, conflict prevention, the treatment of the aged and mentally sick, the nature of divided cities to name but just a few. While fellows came mostly from former communist states, in line with anthropology's global reach, the geographical range of research was unlimited. The SOCANTH consortium always believed that anthropology's concern for bringing local meaning and value into relation with global phenomena rendered the discipline well suited to fast-tracking the radical changes necessary for the reform of educational and research practice in the social sciences, and in a more general context, of the involved countries.

The SOCANTH network comprised five sites where anthropology was taught at doctoral level, in four different European Union, or associated, countries. The participants were University College London and Goldsmith's College, from the United Kingdom, Central European University from Hungary, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (MPISA), from Germany and Babes-Bolyai University (BBU) from Romania.

Nevertheless, the cooperating institutions did not just differ, they had also conjoined, each in a distinct way, in the project of rethinking ethnography and supporting a public anthropology. While they offered different strengths and theoretical and methodological emphases to doctoral fellow's and the short term visitors, they converged on a substantive project of offering a critical rethinking of conventional anthropology and ethnography.

Anthropology training is unique in the social sciences in imparting a collection of highly transferable skills which enable students to continue within the discipline or to move easily into careers in social policy, social planning, media and communications, or politics in its widest sense. A major aim of this programme was to avail gifted and promising students from eastern and central Europe of the training which would allow them to be as competent and competitive as their western counterparts. We trusted and hoped that their experience in this programme would provide them with the foundation on which truly productive and creative careers could be built.

Reported by

Central House Upper Woburn Place
United Kingdom
Síganos en: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Gestionado por la Oficina de Publicaciones de la UE Arriba