Dissertation Abstracts

Europeanization of Western Culture: The Example of Arthurian Tradition

Author: Toczyski, Piotr , p.toczyski@gmail.com
Department: Institute of Philosophy and Sociology
University: Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
Supervisor: Professor Józef Niżnik, head of European Studies Unit
Year of completion: 2012
Language of dissertation: Polish

Keywords: tradition , memory , myth , protoutopia
Areas of Research: Communication, Knowledge and Culture , Historical and Comparative Sociology


A number of contemporary Arthurian content analyses illustrates the process of Europeanization of Western symbolic culture. Contents that concern the past are dividing Europeans. Different than conflicting interpretations of past facts are mythical contents, also concerning the imagined past, but are widely shared. They are a common background of the imagined community. Among European mythical contents, Arthurianism, or the traditions of Arthurian legends, is analyzed. Through an analysis of this example, the dissertation achieves three goals. First, it redefines Europeanization, restoring the notion to reflection of European culture and transmission of mythical contents. Second, it exposes the important place of cultural contents generated in Europe, despite the widespread belief about Europe's decreasing significance in the world. Finally, the dissertation discusses the possibility of shaping a common European memory, challenging the belief that different memories are obstacles to building a common European identity.

The results can be used in reference to local and European communication with citizens and within the area of European integration's public relations, as well as strategic reflection in the area of promotion and content marketing, within European studies, international cultural relations, and in European institutions' practices concerning European identity (European Union, Council of Europe, NATO). On a basic research level, the dissertation is worth taking into account to conceptualize research projects on imaginations, especially research about imagined associations of the present and the past.