FINAL REPORT on contract No. ERBFMMACT960165
Title of Contract: Summer Schools on Social Representations and Communication
Title of 3rd EVENT (Rome, Italy - 5th-11st June 1999): "Developing European Doctoral Training"
Name of the scientific co-ordinator: prof. Annamaria Silvana de Rosa
Address: Dipartimento di Psicologia dei processi di sviluppo e socializzazione
Facoltà di Psicologia - Università degli studi di Roma "La Sapienza"
via dei Marsi, 78 - 00185 ROMA ITALIA
Date of the Report: July 1999
The annual International Summer School on "Social Representations and Communication" is the most intensive didactic stage for participants in the European PhD on Social Representations and Communication. Its new advanced curriculum has been approved by DGXXII SOCRATES and formally recognised by the University of Rome "La Sapienza", Helsinki University and I.S.C.T.E. in Lisbon. It is supported by Erasmus-Socrates, the Maison des Sciences de l'Homme in Paris and the EuroPACE network, which deals with telematic applications for open distance learning.
In accordance with the main purposes of both the T.M.R. and SOCRATES programmes co-ordinated by the University of Rome "La Sapienza" - approved by the DGXII (contract no. ERBFMMACT 960165) and by DGXXII (IC 29415-IC-1-98-IT-ERASMUS-1) - the International Summer Schools were aimed to promote the European dimension of higher education by offering academic research training in an international setting. They have been characterised by intensive formal and informal exchanges between teachers from different European scientific laboratories and a small number of PhD students and young researchers from different countries, some from outside Europe.
The general aims of the summer schools on "Social Representations and Communication", which took place over a period of several years, were as follows:
a) to give participants the chance to deepen their knowledge of the theory, methodology and application of the Social Representations paradigm, working with people from other Universities in a multinational setting and availing themselves of the experiences of an international team of experts in their particular field of study
b) to involve participants in different learning sessions so that they are not merely "onlookers" but drawn in to the learning method, sharing what they have learned from training in their native land
c) to monitor the advanced training of the EU PhD students - principally by training through research and trans-national mobility and co-operation - and develop joint criteria of evaluation which can gradually set "European standards" for and beyond research
d) to take advantage of the meeting of invited experts to enrich teaching methods in the international arena; as teachers of a sort of "extended European Faculty" the teaching team will be encouraged to meet for a "joint didactic exchange" with a new generation of researchers from different nations
The 5th International Summer School on "Social Representations and Communication" has developed the successful intensive programmes of the 1995 summer school on "Everyday thinking, Social Representations and Communication" held in Finland (Lahti), the 1996 summer school on "Multiple strategies in the investigation of Social Representations" held in France (Aix-en-Provence), the 1997 summer school on "Social Representation Theory: historical roots, articulation and development" held in Portugal (Lisbon) and the 1998 summer school on "The theory towards applications" held in the Spain-Basque country (San Sebastian).
In line with the long term planning for these scientific events, the 5th International Summer School, entitled "Developing European Doctoral Training", has been dedicated to the presentation of research reports by Eu PhD students enrolled in the European doctoral programme on Social Representations and Communication, like an intermediate step in view of the final evaluation.
The opening plenary session entitled "Building European Post-graduate Curricula: scientific, administrative and institutional implications", was aimed to address the above issue in a practical way from several points of view (scientific, administrative and institutional) and with regard to several institutional scenarios (University, Ministry, European Union). The session, introduced by the Rector and representatives of the University of Rome "La Sapienza", included contributions by the Rectors of other European Universities participating in the European PhD on Social Representations and Communication, the Head of the Maison des Sciences de l'Homme de Paris and the President of EuroPACE 2000. The session has been concluded by representative members of the Italian Ministry for the University and Scientific Research and of the European Commission DGXII (T.M.R.) and DGXXII (Socrates).
Monday 7th June 1999 was a very special day. It began with the ceremony for the laurea ad honorem to be conferred on Serge Moscovici, programme director of the European PhD on Social Representations and Communication, by the University of Rome "La Sapienza".
In the afternoon — after the above mentioned opening plenary session - an interesting meeting reserved to all the teaching staff of the EUPh.D network - with the participation of the Rectors of the partner Universities and the representative members of the European Commission DGXII (T.M.R.) and DGXXII (Socrates) was the occasion for discussing some of the Key points in the agenda: future institutional developments, co-funding policy, new co-operative actions within the 5th EU framework programmes.
The scientific structure of the 5th International Summer School was maintained as announced and as follows:
EARLY MORNING SESSIONS
Parallel workshops focussed on three main areas relating to the current projects of researchers enrolled in the EU PhD programme :
- A Normative S.R., Society and Inter-Group Relations
- B Media, Communication and S.R.
- C. S.R., Organisations and professional socialisation
The workshops - introduced by the two tutors responsible for co-ordination alongside other EU PhD tutors — have been dedicated to illustrations of research projects by young researchers, those enrolled in the EU PhD programme and a limited number of other participants.
LATE MORNING SESSIONS
Open discussion within the parallel working groups of the research reports illustrated in the early morning sessions. Discussion has been led by the two tutors, who co-ordinated the workshops. Other EU PhD tutors belonging to the network and invited members of the teaching staff, who attended these sessions as external experts, also contributed to the discussion, together with the other summer school participants.
At the end of the session the tutors summarised the key points arising during the discussion in a list of questions to the EU PhD researchers aimed at improving their research reports.
EARLY AFTERNOON SESSIONS
Informal meetings between participants and teaching staff provided an opportunity for individual tutoring for EU Ph.D. young researchers and mutual knowledge-sharing.
LATE AFTERNOON SESSIONS
Round-table discussions focussed on one of the crucial issues relating to the three parallel thematic workshops:
- "Normative S.R., Society and Inter-Group Relations" (related to workshop A)
- "S.R. in a global/local symbolic social space" (related to workshop B)
- "How can you use S.R. paradigm in organisational and educational contexts?" (related to workshop C)
These round tables involved all the tutors from the EU PhD network plus external experts invited ad hoc and they have been followed by an open discussion among all the participants
Keynote lectures presented in plenary session by leading international experts focussed on crucial theoretical and methodological topics of general interest for the development of research on Social Representations. They were closely linked to the fields addressed in the workshops and round tables held during the previous session.
- S.R. in action: Jews and Palestinians in Israel and Palestinians in the Palestinian Autonomy, by Emda Orr, Israel
- S.R. and minority groups: a cross-national study of the gypsies, by Juan Antonio Perez, Spain
A dedicated meeting between EU PhD young researchers and their national and foreign tutors and the representative members of the European PhD executive Committee including the programme director and co-ordinator, was aimed at defining their E.C.T.S. profiles.
A special session was dedicated to further develop the didactic use of the internet site of the EU PhD on Social Representations and Communication, besides the section on the meta-theoretical analysis of the literature on social representations, already installed on the web site with regard to a co-operative project titled "S.R. around the world: A different scenario for S.R. paradigm", activated by A. S. de Rosa. Besides this scientific activity on line, the special session held during the 5th International Summer School was dedicated to activate a ‘forum discussion’ among the participants into the network (teaching staff and young researchers, besides invited experts and chief editors of the main international journals). The starting question for this forum discussion was "which are the criteria for defining a ‘good’ research", a question of particular relevance within the training context of the young researchers and for the editorial policy development. Other questions more specific of Social Representations paradigm and its relation with other theories and the discipline have been also addressed. The reading of the replies that the programme director Serge Moscovici provided to the list of the issues, arisen by the Indian colleague Jyoti Verna, played a very stimulating role as a starting point for animating the ‘forum discussion’.
Taking advantage by the extended publicity of the scientific event pursued by means of several strategies and addressed to several lists of potential audience, the process of selection of the candidates was very competitive.
Finally - among the accepted 38 young social psychologists - in total 31 doctoral young researchers or confirmed researchers coming from 16 countries not only in Europe - both from EU member States (Austria, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, U.K.) and not-EU member States (Hungary, Poland, Ukraine, Russia) - but also out of Europe (Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala) confirmed their participation. 9 of them were participants regularly enrolled into the European PhD on S.R; & C. and 20 of them (65%) were in the condition to be supported by T.M.R. on the basis of their age and nationality. Most of them were younger that 35, but it was also significant to accept contribution by older training researcher in a longer life span and continuous education perspective. The majority of the participants (71%) were female, reversing the dominance of the male among the teaching staff, where only 27% were female.
Twenty teachers - coming from several Universities and research-centres spread over eight European countries (Austria, Finland, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, U.K.) and out of Europe (Israel) - all of them very famous experts in the area, including the founder of the theory of Social Representation, Serge Moscovici and his leading scholars member of the EU PhD network, besides the invited experts out of the EU PhD network - represented an exclusive teaching staff and an exceptional didactic resource.
As testified by the very enthusiastic comments filled in the evaluation forms by the participants at the end of the event, the 5th International Summer School on Social Representations and Communication was very successful - as the previous ones - thanks to:
- the coherence between the preliminary scientific programme (already announced in a high detailed form) and the definitive high-level realised programme;
- the participation of twenty-one teachers coming from several Universities and research-centres spread over 9 countries (Austria, Finland, France, Israel, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, U.K.) chosen among the most leading European experts of the discipline, besides the invited international experts coming from out of the EuPhD network from other research Institutes;
- the particular formula , which articulated the plenary sessions (both for keynote and lectures and discussion) and the workshops (both for various thematic presentations by professors and discussion within the working small groups) with an excellent balance between lectures, presentations, discussions and informal exchanges among the participants;
- the pedagogic structure of the Summer School, which was aimed at promoting not only a passive attendance of the lectures and workshops, but also at engaging actively the participants in a public discussion and in presenting their own research activities in a multinational and multicultural setting and a particular multifaceted scientific scenario, comprised of their young colleagues working at different research-centres and the most respected international experts of the discipline;
- the special sessions of discussion reserved to the European PhD researchers with their national and foreign tutors and with the representative members of the European PhD Executive Committee, including the programme director and the co-ordinator;
- the special training session dedicated to the internet W.W.W. site of the EU PhD on S.R. & C. used also as didactic , aimed at promoting a ‘forum discussion’ on it , by extending the dialogue activated during the summer school;
- the extra lectures provided on the evening sessions by the invited experts working on wide reserach programmes about social issue of particular salience (political issues and inter-group relations, minorities)
- the excellent care dedicated by the organisers to all the details both on logistic and scientific point of views and the warm welcome by the all the members of the staff;
- the wonderful location, the suitable venue and the very attractive historical tour around Rome.
The unique critical remarks provided by some of the participants (mostly those not enrolled into the EU PhD programme) in their evaluation forms were related to the opening plenary session dedicated to the scientific, administrative and institutional implications in "Building European Post-graduate curricula". Some of these remarks underline the administrative character of the session and express the misperception of its value for diffusing actions of implemented European PhD curricula. The fact that some of young researchers are not yet sufficiently aware of the institutional constrains of the curricula to be developed and recognised both at European and national level will represent a factor for orienting specific future actions toward this young target, in order to make them more explicit the relationship between research training-activity, academic recognition and funding policy at European and national levels.
By looking at the last as the previous events the impact was extraordinary not only on the participants (both in the role of the young researchers and the teaching staff), but also on the institutions directly or indirectly involved . The very positive evaluation of the events by the participants played a role of exponential diffusion of interest for the European PhD on S.R. & C; and it worked as a ‘parabola effect’ for other disciplinary areas and fields.
This outcome encouraged our network to plan future developments and further concerted actions within the 5thframework programme. In particular:
- a new cycle of three International Summer School specifically focussed on Communication rather than on Social Representations (DGXII action) ;
- a project within "Marie Curie Training site"(DGXII action);
- Socrates action for diffusing CDA" (DGXXII action)
More detailed information about this cycle of the three related scientific events and their organisers are already available on the internet site dedicated to the EUROPEAN Ph.D on SOCIAL REPRESENTATIONS and COMMUNICATION:
Multi-media didactic materials based on video courses produced for the Summer School will soon be available on CD-rom and distributed to all the participants into the three scientific events.
A book, entitled "Social Representations in ‘the social arena’: the theory towards applications" will be published by ‘Servicio Editorial’ University of Basque Country, San Sebastian, Spain.