EAGLE St.- to Index


Since the last century, reformists from different strata of society have systematically conducted "Grand Tours" through the countries of Europe, exploring how things have been arranged in parallel sectors elsewhere. The nation-wide establishment of the elementary school system, the savings bank system and the prison system were all the products of the reformists’ combining different national models. The government usually paid the travellers’ expenses.

Finnish historians like Marjatta Hietala and Pauli Kettunen have made analyses of the adaptation of models by the reformers. In that they were studying models of specific parts of society, their travels were "Grand Tours" only in a lesser sense of the term. They were not accumulating experiences about life as such. The grandiose Grand Tours of previous generations had to be paid by somebody other than the Government.

A network such as that generated in the field of Political and Civil Culture has many of the functions of a "Grand Tour" in the diminutive sense as well as in the more proper sense of the word. By bringing together people from specific sections of society, from the field of social work, from the field of judiciary or the field of national registration, the Institute can help those concerned to learn from each others’ models.

But the Political and Civil Culture network also has the more ambitious aim of studying the whole political culture of society as a model, with its own codes and roles, and with a social and political vocabulary of its own. From this perspective, social work, judiciary and national registration are considered to be illustrative of differences in political and civil culture.

How does the network function? The first cornerstones were laid in April 1996 when the Institute organised a seminar on The Elusive Concept of Sovereignty. The Institute will facilitate the creation of a network by arranging a series of events in co- operation with other institutions and organisations. The institutional glue of the network is first of all a mailing list.

Does the government pay for these kinds of Grand Tour? Thanks to financial support from the Ministry of Education, the Institute can facilitate the network. The whole idea of networks, however, is that the quality of their content is dependent on the synergetic effects of collaborative, self-financing projects.

The next event was a seminar on Citizenship in Northern Europe in September 1996, organised in co-operation with the School of Slavonic and East European Studies. Later in the autumn there will be a seminar on Languages of Politics (November 2-5) organised together with a research project on conceptual history, sponsored by the Finnish Academy. During February 17-22, 1997 a course on parliamentary reforms, Vote and Voice, will be held. This course is sponsored by the Nordic Research Academy. There will also be public events connected with the course. Later in the Spring there will be a seminar on Taboos - the nature of forgetting and remembering in historiography. And in the autumn of 1997 events will include seminars on Borders and on Policy-Making and Europe.

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