**Important Update (19/03/14) - SEE BELOW **

Beyond Sacrifice: About the Rational and the Irrational in Political Anthropology.

^ 29th June to - 5 July, 2014. ^

IPA Summer School, Lago Bolsena, Italy.

Rationality, understood as the principle guiding individual conduct is not only the foundation of contemporary social and political theory, but is also a civilisational matrix. We consider rationality as the ultimate reference point from which everything originates, takes form, and develops for us. For modern thinking, and modern societies, this is taken as the anthropological foundation of both thinking and real life, in a presumably self-evident manner. However, there are two immediate problems with this position. The first concerns our own civilisation and its origins, whether it was rationally founded and developed at all. If rationality is cornerstone of our civilisation, how do we explain irrational forms of foundational conduct, from sacrifice up to other frenzies like wars and revolutions? The second is that by confronting rationality with irrationality we are evidently combining and thus conflating notions  – the separation of which, presumably, was the foundation of the modern thinking. If rationality is a norm, what is then its relationship with various forms of the non-rational? Posing such a question immediately renders problematic the self-evident primacy of “rational” as the guiding force of human, social and political conduct, given an inexhaustible round of hazards of force can rightly called irrational, as it destroys the conditions of possibility of rationality.

With our 2014 Summer School topic “Beyond Sacrifice” the IPA would like to shift the focus from the idea of sacrifice being the “anthropological foundations” of social life, problematic just as instrumental rationality is, and indeed connected to it, to the study of sacrifice as a historical fact.


The deadline for applications is the 15th May.

To apply, please send a letter of reccomendation from your academic supervisor and a separate statement of interest about why you find the theme interesting and how it might relate to your research.

There is no fee for the summer school and the accommodation is provided on a charitable basis. A donation of 10 euro a night would suffice for this and bring a sleepling bag! Other associated costs will be your own transport and food etc.

As for the themes and topics: The guest speakers and the IPA Editors will give seminars for five days between 9am and 8pm under the following headings:


Objectives: to provide students with a broad understanding of the most significant civilisational issue of sacrifice to analyse current challenges and risks of sacrifice

Methods: unterdisciplinary; multiple forms of learning (lectures, workshops, discussions, group works); student presentations

Extras: cultural, sport, social activities

Faculty Staff and Speakers include:

Prof. Manos Manangudakis (Aegean University) Agnes Horvath, Harald Wydra (Cambridge University), Arpad Szakolczai (University College Cork), Bjorn Thomassen (Roskilde University) Tom Boland, John O'Brien (Waterford Institute of Technology), Rosario Forlenza (New York University), and as special guests: Jozsef Lorincz, Szabo Tohotom and Tanczos Vilmos (University of Cluj)

Administrator: Diletta Tonatto