Society and Lifestyles: Towards Enhancing Social Harmonisation through Knowledge of Subcultural Communities

Project Acronym: SAL
Contract No: STREP-CT-CIT5-029013
Start: January 1st, 2006
Duration: 36 months

Project Coordinator: Egidija Ramanauskaitė Kiškina (Vytautas Magnus University, Centre for Cultural Studies, Lithuania)

Project Management: Juras Ulbikas and Linas Eriksonas (Europarama, Lithuania)
e-mail: tel.:+37052745463

The project unites 15 partners from 10 countries:
Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania (VMU),
Europarama, Lithuania (EP)
Institute of Lithuanian Scientific Society, Lithuania (MSI)
University of Central Lancashire, United Kingdom (UCLAN)
University of SS. Cyril and Methodius in Trnava Slovakia (UCM)
Tallinn University, Estonia (TLU)
Daugavpils University, Latvia (DU)
University of Pécs, Hungary (UofPecs)
Warsaw Agricultural University, Poland (WAU)
Dunarea de Jos University of Galati, Romania, (UGAL)
University of Warwick, United Kingdon (UW)
University of Salford, United Kingdom (USAL)
Centre for Analytic Studies and Development, Russia (CASD)
Scientific Research Centre Region, Russia (SRC Region)
Centre of Sociological, Political and Psychological Analysis and Investigations, Moldova (CIVIS)

The project belongs to the field of Social Sciences and Humanities and aims to study communities which represent various world views, values and beliefs in Eastern Europe. Since the start of SAL project three main research fields have been established: “Taste” subcultures, New Religious Movements and different Ethnic/Religious groups which cover such groups as drug users, skinheads, euro indians, neo-punks, hip-hop, hippies, Anastasia, Visarionas, neo-pagans, krishnaits, Afgan minorities, Muslim minorities, Gypsy, etc. It is expected that project outcomes will be useful not only for development of Social Sciences and Humanities but to members of subcultural groups as well. It is presumed that SAL project will raise tolerance towards different attitudes and lifestyles and enhance social harmonization.

Project idea

The overall project aim is to extend knowledge about values and religions in Europe by the investigation of communities representing various values and religious beliefs in New Member States. The strategic objectives of this proposal are to

* assess the degree of subgroup differentiation in the post-communist societies,
* to study how the differentiation process is proceeding,
* to investigate the degree to which the subgroup structures and processes vary in several post-communist countries,
* to compare both the subgroup structure and the differentiation processes in the post-communist societies to those observed in Western Europe.

How groups arise, function and disappear is of interest both in terms of theory and practice. The scientific interest arises because the matter is topical for the social sciences (e.g. anthropology, sociology) and also because the dynamics of these groups is clearly nonlinear; and recent advances in computational tools make the study of such processes finally possible. These topics are of great practical concern and applicability because they have an impact on solving such crucial issues as social cohesion, inter-group tensions, discord and violence.

The project will take advantage of an interdisciplinary approach based on the methodology of cultural/social/political anthropology. This will be implemented through the fieldwork which will focus on an in-depth integration of researchers into the groups under analysis with the purpose of revealing meanings of the real life as well as understanding the meanings of values and religions as being derived from these groups and spread into the society-at-large.

For evaluation of research results and recommendations a novel approach of field-testing will be used, providing there will be a possibility to effectively exploit recommendations of the project in real field conditions with participation of the groups under analysis.

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