EICAP is a no-profit independent research centre based on a broad network of researchers, academic and no-profit agencies from many European countries.
EICAP carries out studies and analysis, promotes public debate and dissemination, and offers suggestions and solutions for the cultural dynamics underpinning the European societies and their impact on policies.
The countries of the European Union are crossed by deep socio-political turbulence that undermines social cohesion as well as national and European institutions.
These socio-political dynamics are generalized and do not necessarily concern specific issues – they have to be considered as a global cultural phenomenon, namely a process concerning people’s worldviews, their systems of values and their identities.
Therefore, in order to comprehend and deal with the current socio-political dynamics in Europe, a deep understanding of the cultural milieu on which European societies are grounded is needed. Policies and methods of social intervention aimed at addressing the current socio-institutional crisis need to be designed according to the knowledge of what people feel, think and act. Indeed, people are different and react to policies in ways that reflect these differences.
The EICAP is aimed at providing institutions, policy makers, analysts, stakeholders and public opinion with scientific-based, deep understanding of the dynamic interplay between culture, policy and politics – namely, on the one hand, how culture shapes problems, purposes, content and instruments of policies, and, on the other hand, how political actions and interventions affect (trigger, change, orient, channel) cultural dynamics.
To this end, EICAP is engaged in:
- Empirical-based mapping and understanding of the cultural milieus of European societies, in their developmental trajectories as well as in their impact on policy and politics;
- Development and validation of methods and instruments of analysis of the cultural dynamics as well as of the interplay between the latter and policy-making;
- Elaboration, evaluation and dissemination of strategies, methods and operative criteria for culture-sensitive policies;
- Provision of advice, ad hoc analyses, and training aimed at supporting the policy makers’ effort to take culture into account in the design, implementation and evaluation of policies;
- Dissemination of innovative ideas for a deeper understanding of the cultural dynamics underpinning the European societies and the promotion of culture-sensitive policies, by means of publications – addressed both to scientific and public audiences, as well as the organization and participation in events (seminars, conferences, workshops).
The EICAP is grounded on the legacy of Re.Cri.Re. (Between the representation of the crisis and the crisis of the representation), an H2020 research project that focused on the analysis of cultural dynamics and their impact on policy-making.
Re.Cri.Re. was grounded on the contemporary social sciences’ recognition of the necessity that policy makers take the cultural, interpretative nature of human behaviour into account as a fundamental element to be considered both at the stage of design and of implementation of policies.
Re.Cri.Re. adopted a particular, innovative view of culture. Indeed, whereas culture in generally seen in terms of contents (i.e. norms, traditions, scripts, sets of ideas/representations, behavioural scripts), Re.Cri.Re. sees it in terms of process – as the on-going dynamics of sensemaking through which people interpret the world, in so doing shaping their way of feeling, thinking and acting. This on-going dynamics is channelled by generalized meanings (symbolic universes, according to the terminology adopted) embedded within the cultural milieu and working as affective-laden systems of assumptions.
In accordance with this view, the Re.Cri.Re. project carried out a systematic analysis of the cultural milieu of European societies, aimed at getting a better understanding of the current socio-political and institutional crisis scenario.
Based on the findings of this analysis, an interpretation of the cultural dynamics underpinning the contemporary socio-institutional phenomena (e.g. populism, radicalization, rise of far-right parties, Euroscepticism, distrust in institutions) was elaborated and a set of criteria guiding the design of policies that are both culture-sensitive and able to address the current socio-institutional crisis scenario were defined.
- Analysis of the cultural dynamics (and their evolution over time) underpinning European societies
- Analysis of socio-political and institutional phenomena and of the role played in them by cultural dynamics
- Analysis of the impact of policies on local cultures
- Analysis of the role played by cultural dynamics in innovation and policy transfer
- Analysis of the mechanisms of cultural stability and cultural change
- Analysis of the relation between culture and social, economic, and institutional factors
- Cultural analysis of media discourses
- Elaboration and validation of suggestions/solutions for culture-sensitive policies