International Seminars with the British Council
N.B. Carolyn - the following text is taken from the old page "Identity and Representation" Charlie is writing new text and adding extra events for this.
A seminar series linking the Programme with the British Council's EU office in Brussels is in preparation. The series will take a critical look at some of the assumptions used to justify regional government. These assumptions are about identity and representation. Regional government is said to strengthen the state by integrating better differentiated territorial identities. And regional government is said to improve the quality of representation - the relationship and accountability of governers to the governed - by bringing government 'closer to the people'.
The series will bring together academics from the Programme together with researchers and policy practitioners from the UK, EU member states and applicant states in order to explore these assumptions. The intention is to provoke critical debate among participants, to open up new perspectives and to challenge received wisdom.
The following seminars, each drawing on one or more projects from the Programme, are in planning :
1) Regional Government and Accountability - TBC
o Key question: is government that is 'closer to the people' necessarily more accountable government or is it more open to 'capture' by lobbyists and other vested interests?
2) Regions and Political Leadership -TBC
o Key question: does regional politics promote particular characteristics in political leadership?
3) Constructing Identity in the 'Heritage Industry' -TBC
o Key question: are territorial identities atavistic, given, and with an inherent claim - or right - to representation?
4) Multilingualism and Language Policy in Decentralised States -TBC
o Key question: is regional government an effective safeguard for language rights in multilingual states?
5) Territory, Identity and Europe -TBC
o This final event will take the form of a major conference to pull together the ideas discussed and participants involved over the course of the series.
The first seminar, on the theme Whose History is it Anyway? Nations, Regions and School History, took place in Brussels on 26-27 November 2002. Taking examples from the UK, Belgium, Spain and Poland, it explored how far the way national/regional history is taught in school impacts on people's understandings of their identity. The programme is available here . The British Council report of the seminar is available here as a PDF file. The first seminar built on the work done by Dr Rob Phillips in his project in the ESRC Devolution and Constitutional Change Programme on British Island Stories: History, Identity, Nationhood (BRISHIN).
The second seminar in the series, on the theme Parties, Elections and Representation: Does Devolution Add Value?, took place in Barcelona on 18-20 June 2003. The seminar was co-hosted by the British Council Office in Spain and the European Institute of Public Administration-European Centre for the Regions, Barcelona. It asked whether devolution adds value to the representative process by giving voters additional opportunites to express their views and participate in the political process.
Click here for PDF file of the seminar programme