Intensive Phase 2012

Working Group 6:
Symbolic Representations and Cultural Differences 

Dr. Salim Murad,
present in Oldenburg on Sept. 12-14; available online

Dr. Michal Šimůnek,
present in Oldenburg on Sept. 24-26; available online

The aim of the course is to introduce students to the symbolic dimension of identity construction and „self/other“, „we/them“ relations. Students will study how cultural differences and division between self and other are enunciated in a process of signification, how media and other symbolic vehicles reproduce general stereotypes about the „other“ and how individual and collective identities are symbolically constructed. To lay the ground for successful work, tutors provide a broad conceptual frame of the working group’s overall theme – multicultural education that pays special attention to social and symbolic constructions of individual and collective identities. In order to enable an understanding of symbolic representations of self and other, students are introduced to the basic concepts and principles of social constructivism, semiotics, cultural criticism, postmodern anthropology, multicultural epistemology etc. Furthermore, participants are encouraged to explore the context of social constructions, i.e. the process of signification and cultural differentiation in everyday life, popular culture, scientific practice, processes of migration.

Core reading:

Fahmy, S. (2004): Picturing Afghan Women. The International Journal for Communication Studies 66, Vol. 2, 91–112. [download]

Fürsich, E. (2002): How can global journalists represent the ‚Other‘? A critical assessment of the cultural studies concept for media practice. Journalism 3, 1, 57–84. [download]

Hall, S.: The Spectacle of the Other. In Hall, Stuart (ed.): Representations. Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices (pp. 225–279). London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi: Sage. [download]

Sturken, M., Cartwright, L. (2001): Practices of Looking. An Introduction to Visual Culture (pp. 10– 44). New York: Oxford University Press. [download]

Taylor R. Charles, Ju Yung Lee (1994): Not in Vogue. Portrayals of Asian Americans in Magazine Advertising. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing 13, 2, 239–245. [download]

Additional reading:

Ball, S., Gris G. (2010): Visualising Migration and Social Division. Insights from Social Sciences and the Visual Arts. FQS 11, 2, article 26. [download]

Becker, H. S. (2007): Telling About Society (pp. 2–14). Chicago, London: The University of Chicago Press. [download]

Fay, B. (1996): Contemporary Philosophy of Social Science. A Multicultural Approach (pp. 223–246). Malden, Oxford, Carlton: Blackwell Publishing. [download]

Jenkins, R. (2008): Social Identity (pp. 16–28, 132–148). London, New York: Routledge. [download]

Johnson, K. J. (2011): The Curious Tale of the Polish Plumber. Rebranding Nations for the Social and Political Situations. Advertising & Society Review 12, 1. [download]

Krase, J. (2009): A Visual Approach to Multiculturalism. In: Prato, B. Giuliana (ed.): Beyond Multiculturalism: Views from Anthropology (pp. 21–38). Surrey: Ashgate. [download]

Latour, B. (1990): Drawing Things Together. In: Lynch, Michael, Steve Woolgar (eds.): Representation in Scientific Practice (pp. 19–68). Cambridge, London. [download]

Surrenti, S. (2009): The Consumption of Experience and the Ethnic Market: Cosmopolitan Identity beyond Multiculturalism. In: Prato, B. Giuliana (ed.): Beyond Multiculturalism: Views from Anthropology (pp. 201–216). Surrey: Ashgate. [download]

USB Partner Day
Migration Studies in/from Czech Republic. The Mystery of Central Europe. Who cares?

Dr. Salim Murad, University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice

The Czech Republic is situated in the Centre of Europe and that makes it a permanent intersection of cultures and concepts of the West and East. Before the Second World War the Czech Republic was one of the most heterogeneous places in Europe but at the beginning of the 90´s appeared as one of the most homogeneous ones. At the moment thanks to migration, EU membership and globalization the Czech Republic is rapidly becoming diverse again.

1. Brief introduction into life and institutions of the Czech Republic and the region of Southern Bohemia and České Budějovice town
2. Presentation of the University of South Bohemia and the Faculty of Education
3. Debate on the obligatory literature – the mystery of Central Europe and the phenomenon of migration
4. Presentation of the USB module in 3rd semester
5. Discussion on the USB module, internship possibilities, possible research questions, living cost in České Budějovice and related issues


Kundera, M. ‘The Tragedy of Central Europe’ in: The New York Review of Books (pre-1986), Vol. 31, No. 007 (Apr. 26, 1984). ProQuest Central. (pp. 33–38); available on:

Paper by Salim Murad: Migration and a New Role of Central Europe in Enlarged European Union; available on:

General History of the Roma. History of the Roma in the Czech Lands. Situation of the Roma since 1989. All available on:

Additional materials (suggestions for those who wish to study in-depth the Czech situation):

Czech Statistical Office:

Number of foreigners in the CR

Asylum and asylum facilities

Acquisition of Czech citizenship


Illegal migration

(all on-line sources active on 5.7.2012)