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After the Accession…The Socio-Economic Culture of Eastern Europe

Duration: 2002 – 2003

`After the Accession… The Socio-Economic Culture of Eastern Europe in the Enlarged Union: An Asset or a Liability?` was a joint international project carried out by the Centre for Advanced Study Sofia and the Institut fur die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM) in Vienna.The research activities of all national teams, which included researchers from 10 different countries and 3 different fields of research were co-ordinated by IWM. The work of the Bulgarian team was supervised, co-ordinated and administered by CAS Sofia. The CAS-hosted team was composed of 10 scholars from the following research fields: economy, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, political science and law.The project focuses on strategic problems of the post-accession period: the cohabitation of `Eastern` and `Western` socio-economic cultures in the enlarged European Union and the likelihood of their convergence. The project has four research objectives. First, to identify the types and estimate the frequency of cultural conflicts in economic and social matters in the enlarged European Union and to contribute to the resolution of those conflicts. Second, to predict the patterns of convergence and the extent of diversity within the `European Social Model`. Third, to map those fields in which the new entrants can contribute to the rejuvenation of socio-economic cultures in the European Union. Fourth, to bring the cultural problem back from populist rhetoric in the socio-economic discourse of Enlargement.The contribution of CAS to the project began with a workshop on `Understanding Socio-Economic Cultures in Central and Eastern Europe-Methodological Challenges`, held at CAS in Sofia on 28-29 April 2002.CAS scholars` research included: in-depth interviews with Western managers working in Bulgaria, Bulgarian entrepreneurs, high-ranking officials and NGO leaders dealing with Bulgaria`s European integration; field research and media analysis. The reporting and discussions on the work-in-progress took place at the regular bi-monthly meetings of the Bulgarian team, held at CAS. Each participant submitted the result of his or her research at the end of the research period. On that basis, the leaders of the individual national teams elaborated a final, encompassing analytical report on the research. The `After the Accession` project`s aim is to help re-assess the procedures of the current round of Eastern Enlargement and, by including Southeast European countries in the research programme, to also enable the European Commission to draw lessons for the next rounds.

The `After the Accession` transnational research project was supported by the Austrian Ministry for Foreign Affairs.