Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 11: Myth and Identity


Prof. Dr. Hatice Cubukcu gave the lecture ‘The Myth of European Identity versus Social Identity as a Dynamic Construct’. She discussed the globalism and localism dichotomy, how stereotyped images of cultural, national and regional identities are reinforced and become stigmatized. She also investigated how cultural diversities tend to become a source of conflict rather than a source of positive development. Furthermore, relational identity and group identity were discussed, with a particular focus on how identity is negotiated and must be ratified by others, and how social identity must be perceived as dynamic and fluid.


Florence Berland gave the lecture ’Defining the Burgundian State – the Use of Myth, 1363-1477’, discussing the diffusion and efficiency of the myths that were used during this period in order to shape and strengthen the state. There was a clear aim to create a national consciousness; at first, this mythological dissemination was aimed at the elite groups, but later on it was also communicated to common people. It was a necessary development, as there was fierce political competition from neighbouring states and internal power struggles, threatening the political balance. Myths of origin and the use of history were important aspects in terms of strengthening the Burgundian state, and the founding of the Order of the Golden Fleece was one of the ‘mythological tools’ of the Burgundian state. It was formed in 1430, and was an order of chivalry, with the myth of Jason and the golden fleece used as an internal founding myth. The Order played an important role in the establishment and reinforcement of the ties between local nobility and the Duke of Burgundy, and the local chapters were highly influential in terms of spreading the mythological messages, which eventually led to the characterization of a Burgundian national identity of sorts.

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