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The State of Three Social Science Disciplines in Central and Eastern Europe Research Project

The idea of a project entitled "The State of Three Social Science Disciplines in Central and Eastern Europe" emerged in 2000, and was carried out in 2000-01 at CB. Collegium Budapest invited Max Kaase (International University, Bremen) to lead the project, with the assistance of Mihály Csákó (Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest) and Vera Sparschuh (Informations Zentrum Sozialwissenschaften, Berlin). It was carried out in close cooperation with GESIS-Social Science Information Center (Branch Office Berlin) . The Institute for Human Sciences (IWM, Vienna), the Wissenschaftszentrum (WZB, Berlin), Centre Marc Bloch (Berlin) and Maison des Sciences de l'Homme (MSH, Paris) were further collaborators in this project.

The project's objective was to produce a comprehensive overview of the current state of three social science disciplines in Central and Eastern Europe: economics (including labour market research); political science (including administrative science as well as policy analysis); and sociology (including social policy). The project had to be limited to these three disciplines, because including a larger array of social science disciplines, desirable as it would have been, would have gone far beyond the opportunities offered by the resources available for the task. For the same reason, the project was also confied to the study of the ten CEE countries seeking entry to the European Union. It was envisaged to produce a compendium in the form of a handbook pinpointing the developments of the last decade in the three fields and also functioning as a map of orientation for future cooperation with scholars in this region.

The initiative has attracted the interest of social scientists in Western and Eastern European countries alike and finally obtained support from the EU's Fifth Framework Programme: 'Improving Human Research Potential and the Socio-Economic Knowledge Base' - Accompanying Measures. A group of more than 60 scholars from three social science disciplines -economics, political science, and sociology -was invited to report and comment, as it stands, on the actualities of their disciplines in their home countries. In early 2002, CB organized a large conference, opened by the Director General of the European Commission DG Research, Achilleas Mitsos, and attended by more than 100 social scientists.

The handbook itself was presented in October 2002 and can be ordered electronically from GESIS. A CD-ROM enclosed in the handbook presents an overview on Central and Eastern European institutions in the respective countries where research in economics, political sciences, and sociology is performed (about 700 institutions). This database is regularly updated and even allows direct access to the homepages of these institutions.
The idea to further develop the possibilities of the Internet for the sake of scientific communication fosters East-West bottom-up networking on a European level. A first Internet version of the handbook will come up under http://www.cee-socialscience.net.

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