Emotional content of Bulgarian national identity: Historical origins and contemporary dimensions - a joint interdisciplinary project with the Institute of Sociology and the Institute for Balkan Studies.
Director of studies: Prof. Nikolay Aretov, DSc.
The goal of this project is to examine the emotional content of Bulgarian national identity from different perspectives - historical, socio-cultural and socio-psychological. We will investigate the importance of group emotion (e.g. admiration, pride, shame, fear, (in)security, etc.) as a product (and generator) of social identity and social context, and as a mediator of social action and political participation. We will apply an integration of social identity theory (together with its developments), and of intergroup emotion theory.
Our main objectives are:
- To identify the emotional components of the Bulgarian national identity and how they relate to other key identities (personal, gender, religious, etc.) as well as to the process of European integration.
- To explore how the international comparative context affects both the character of the collective emotions and the salience of the national identities.
- To investigate how the audience to which identity is being exposed affects both the character of the collective emotions and the salience of the national identities.
- To demonstrate whether it is possible to deliberately produce certain shifts in some of the emotional components of the (Bulgarian) national identity.
- To investigate the interdependence between the occurrence in the society of internal (semi)structural cleavages and the strength and emotional "colouring" of the national identity.
The defined objectives will be realized by two types of activities: A) Explorative work: text materials investigation (archives, text books, literature) and field studies; B) Seminars, workshops and international conference.
The project will address: scientific community; teachers and students; general public; policy makers and journalists. We will organize: a) an international conference "Sites of Memory: Emotions and Passions", b) four seminars with foreign scholars, c) two workshops led by a foreign scholar, d) workshop with teachers. We also plan to publish a book, a series of articles in academic journals and newspapers, and a policy paper.
Conceptualising Symbols and Metaphors from Everyday Life
(On the philosophy of Pragmatism, Semiotics, Neohistoricism and other contemporary methods)
Director of studies: Prof. Ivan Mladenov, DSc
We conceptualise the world of ideas in order to orient ourselves in it. But even at the most elementary level we do conceptualise. Any co-ordinated movement of our bodies means that a lightning-fast concept has been performed in our mind and we have acted according to this short scheme that we received from the mind. We conceptualise the symbols and the signs we constantly perceive, which means that we are permanently de-coding and de-ciphering the realm of signs, which comes towards us. That is, we try to make a successful leap between the two distant elements out of which each metaphor consists (the traditional view of the metaphor did not change too much from the ancient times: a distant comparison between two elements, where "as if" is missing).
Why "metaphor"? Simply, because most of our thinking flows as a permanent substituting process and we know something by comparing and relating it to something else, which is more familiar to us. Then we conceptualise the newly received knowledge, that is, we "store it" in our memory and it becomes a part of our previous experience.
I do believe that we wake up early in the morning and if we have a clear vision of what we are going to do today, this makes us happier. If we can ease the general ordering and hierarchy of our tasks, we might improve our lives. Peirce believed that he had found a clue to do that, we will try to explicit this clue of his philosophy.
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