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DIOSCURI: Eastern Enlargement – Western Enlargement. Cultural Encounters in the European Economy and Society

Duration: 2004 – 2007

Invoking the mythological figures Castor and Pollux, the DIOSCURI project focuses on current encounters in Europe to predict the convergence between the twin economic cultures of the `East` and the `West`. The research fields – entre­preneurship, governance and economic knowledge – will be explored in four East-Central European countries (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia) and in four countries of Southeast Europe (Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Serbia/Montenegro). The selection of the fields is based on the conviction that among the producers of economic culture, businesspeople, civil servants and economists exert a vast influence on the economic performance of the Union and the social cohesion between the old and the new member states.

Instead of relying on a simplistic scheme, in which the `strong Western` culture devours the `weak Eastern` one, the Consortium expects to find a great variety of lasting cultural hybrids in economic and social behaviour. Thus, in an unprecedented way, Eastern Enlargement will be studied in conjunction with its neglected counterpart, Western Enlargement. East-West encounters will generate a complex dynamics that includes cultural gaps (tensions, frictions, conflicts), strategies to bridge the gaps, and compromises between cultures. In studying them, DIOSCURI will go beyond the world of the acquis to discover forms of cultural coexistence, which are hard to regulate ex ante by introducing new organisational/legal systems.

The project will bring together leading sociologists, political economists, historians, anthropologists and social policy experts in Central and Eastern/Southern Europe. It will result in a set of field reports, country studies, comparative analyses and policy recommendations for future accession rounds. The project co-ordination will be provided the Center for Policy Studies at the Central European University, in Budapest. The project will be supported by the Principal Researcher based at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, member of consortium, and assisted by the International Advisory Board.