EU-CAB at Congress for European Studies

A Polish-Portuguese colleague tandem at the 3rd Congress for European Studies in Wroclaw, Poland, taking place on 29 and 30 June: Edyta Pietrzak from Lodz University of Technology, and Cristina Tereza Rebelo from Instituto Universitário da Maia in Porto presented our project under the title "Unity and diversity of European identities". The congress is the largest European Studies event in 2021 in Poland, organized by the Polish Association of European Studies and the Chair of European Studies of the University of Wroclaw. Under the motto "multi-speed Europe", the conference highlighted the current transformations Europe is undergoing - both internally and in the context of a globalised world. Their presentation of the project’s ideas and preliminary results was very well received by the interested audience. Thank you, Edyta and Cristina! The conference programme can be found under https://kongres2020.uni.wroc.pl/en/

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EU-CAB students talk about the project

Please watch this interesting and beautiful video where two of your Finnish students - Eero and Eveliina - talk about the EU-CAB project. Both are participants right from the start and have won deep knowledge and experience with the goals, the scientific approach and, above all, the Europe-unifying effects of the project.

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EU-CAB at conference in Szeged/Hungary

Our Hungarian team members Eva Keresztes and Katalin Kollath from BBS Budapest presented our project at the conference "The European Union’s contention in the reshaping global economy", taking place 20-21 May 2021 in Szeged/Hungary. The audience especially liked its unifying approach and “well-grounded theory”. Here's the link to the conference http://eco.u-szeged.hu/english/reserach/conferences-workshops/2021/the-european-unions-contention-in-the-reshaping-global-economy/the-european-unions-contention-in-the-reshaping-global-economy

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Zoom Fatigue

By Péter Bajomi-Lázár, Budapest Business School. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, many of us have experienced the booming of video conference calls on Zoom, Skype, and a number of other digital platforms. Unlike during the Spanish flu a hundred years ago, technology has this time helped many to keep their jobs. But ‘Zooming’ has a variety of negative effects as well – warn us now the experts of the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab. The reasons why the excessive use of video platforms may cause the so-called ‘Zoom fatigue’ include too intense close eye contact (which causes social anxiety), seeing yourself permanently, as if in a mirror (which may turn you too critical of yourself), the limitation of our movements (being forced to stay put for endless hours), and exaggerated verbal and non-verbal communication (basically meaning that you cannot rely on your usual body language, and need to make up for it either verbally or using exaggerated mimes and gestures). To these, one can add a few more. I was born in the late 1960s and have recently hit…

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Should social media cut politicians’ accounts and if yes, when?

By Peter Bajomi-Lazar, Budapest Business School. When Facebook and some other social media outlets ‘de-platformed’ Donald Trump after his infamous speech which may have contributed to the attack launched on the Capitol, conservative and liberal opinion leaders protested alike—but for very different reasons. Conservatives voiced concerns about political censorship and the hegemony of ‘politically correct’ views, while liberals argued that a dangerous precedence had been created, as the line between hate speech and incitement on the one hand and free speech on the other is often diffuse and blurred, and hence nothing in the future will stop social media banning other forms of disturbing content. Well, I think both of these arguments are mistaken. It was right to de-platform President Trump. The conservative argument on censorship is gravely mistaken, because freedom of speech was not invented to defend the government; it was created as a defense against government. Historically, the free press was established to counter the powers of the government. As Edmund Burke put it in 1790, “There are three estates in Parliament, but in the Reporters’…

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How the net has de-stabilized knowledge

Peter Bajomi-Lazar, Budapest Business School The world wide web has eased access to information for all, and yet it has de- stabilised knowledge. How is this possible? A very brief overview of the history of knowledge tells us that the rise in the number of information sources has been coupled with a growth in the unreliability of information. Users of the net may rightly feel they live in an era of misinformation and disinformation, online propaganda and fake news, conspiracy theories and urban legends.  It was 75 years ago, in July 1945, that Vannevar Bush published his now famous paper in the Atlantic magazine, presenting the idea of the ‘memex.’ The inventor sug- gested to link distant computers in order to create a huge network where “wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear.” The new technology would make information accessible for all and serve the whole of society, he argued. The intelligence thus gathered and catalogued would stabilise human knowledge. The world wide web, created in 1990, is based on the principles outlined by Bush. But users of…

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The Algorithmic Mind

By Péter Bajomi-Lázár, Budapest Business School. Suppose your father gave you an Agatha Christie crime novel when you were young, and suppose you liked it. You read it in a day, and what you did next was, of course, you went to the bookshelf yourself, you picked another Christie novel, and you read it, too. When your household library was running out of the stories of Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, you went to the local bookstore to buy more of the same. This is how we all are. We do things that we enjoy. Our interests, our preferences are part of our identity. Whenever experts speak of the new, digital, social media platforms, one of the first things they express concerns about is the algorithmic nature thereof. Facebook and Instagram, they will say, deliver you content similar to what you have liked before. This is how their algorithms, based on artificial intelligence, work. But they are bad for you, they will add, because the use of algorithms will encage you in “filter bubbles” or “echo chambers,” offering…

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Why media have so little impact on us

By Péter Bajomi-Lázár, Budapest Business School. Media effects research and reception studies affirm that, contrary to popular belief, and even though we are permanently exposed to media content, legacy media have relatively little impact upon public opinion and voting behaviour in pluralist societies such as the United Kingdom and the United States. For example, Stuart Hall, of the Birmingham School, argues that media users are free to either subscribe to, or reject, or negotiate the dominant meaning encoded in media messages. But what explains the limited impact of media? Here are three explanations for your consideration. Early research refers to Leon Festinger’s influential cognitive dissonance theory. For example, Josepf Klapper argues that we use media selectively: we primarily read, listen to and watch outlets that reinforce our pre-existing attitudes and opinions so that we do not need to reconsider our position on issues that construct the very bases of our identity. The ritual theory of communication makes a similar argument. James Carey suggests that media establish a domain “for the creation, representation and celebration of shared … beliefs…

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Populism and Polarisation

by Péter Bajomi-Lázár, Budapest Business School “The fact that I have such power in terms of numbers with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., I think it helped me win all of these races where they’re spending much more money than I spent” – said Donald Trump after his electoral victory. Was he right? Has the rise of the internet and of social media really contributed to the renaissance of populism and to political polarisation?          It is widely held that media have little impact upon political views and voting behaviour, as such preferences are primarily shaped by personal experience and interpersonal communication. Further, the current consensus among academic researchers is that the ongoing polarisation of societies and the resulting renaissance of anti-elitist populism across the globe is a mirror of growing economic inequalities, rather than the direct impact of new, digital, media. Some of the most prominent scholars, however, think otherwise. Let us see why, using the example of the 2016 Trump campaign.          Andrew Chadwick describes the relationship between media and political systems in his academic bestseller on…

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