University of Malta

UOM Main Page
Campus Map button
Find a Course - Apply Online

The Conference is the yearly conference of the University Network of the European Capitals of Culture (UNeECC) which is held in one of the two cities which yearly gain the title of European Capital of Culture. In 2018 Valletta will be European Capital of Culture so the University of Malta will be hosting the conference at the Valletta Campus.


Photo of members attending board meeting held in Antwerp, Belgium on 21 February

Board meeting held in Antwerp, Belgium on 21 February 2018 

Culture: Invented or Inherited?

Culture is ‘the way-of-life in an ecosystem characteristic of a particular people’ (Keesing 1981:68). This is only one of the countless definitions given to this term which is ‘surprisingly’ and ‘notoriously’ difficult to define due to its dynamic nature (Smith and Riley 2011).  Underlying dimensions characterising early and modern Europe, such as the economic situation of specific countries and humanitarian crises may be determining factors by which its collectivist culture has been constantly in flux, particularly in its production and consumption. One would question the affects which these factors may have on the transmission of traditional and popular European cultures and if their core components are, in fact, inherited or invented.

The main objective of this conference is to develop critical arguments based on two concepts which can be non-homogenous and overlapping at the same time, namely (i) Culture inheritance and (ii) Cultural invention. Key questions relevant to this conference are: (i) ‘how does the concept of European Capitals of Culture consider the invention and inheritance of cultures?’;  (ii) ‘What avenues are being taken by ECoC programmers to strike a balance in the promotion of cultural components which are ‘invented’ and those based on grass-root identities?’; and (iii) ‘What are the core arguments surrounding the questions of whether a culture is invented or inherited?.  Established academics, early career scholars and research student are invited to submit proposals based on the following research questions:

 (i) Cultural Invention

i.1 How does the awarding of an ECOC title affect the behaviour of the different communities in the city? 

i.2 How does the impact of the ECOC process affect one or more of the following categories where cultural invention can take place:

• Languages

• Mythology 

• Legal systems

• Political systems

• Scientific method

• Sports and entertainment

• Social institutions

• Social and Belief systems

• Relationship with the others (neighbours, tourists, new residents, 

• Other


i.3 What are the implications generated by the ECOCs for the dilemma of cultural authenticity?

i.4 Would it be possible to detect specific ideas and patterns in the ECOCs history that became an evident cultural reality? 

i.5 What is the relationship between cultural invention and cultural innovation in the ECOC context?

(ii) Cultural Inheritance

ii.1 Is the ECOC only a cultural invention which has been imposed with a political decision in 1983 or is it the result of an inevitable process of cultural inheritance and its dynamics?

ii.2 Could the ECOC be represented as a model of storage and transmission of information intra- and inter-generation?

ii.3 What are the possible implications for the following categories of storage and transmission of information that can be affected mostly by a process like ECOC?

• Communication

• Imitation

• Teaching 

• Learning 

ii.4 Is the European dimension, as one of the most relevant ECOC values, an inherited or learned concept? 



The UNeECC will be publishing the conference proceedings, in collaboration with the University of Malta.


Keesing, R.M., 1981. Cultural anthropology: A contemporary perspective. Austin, Texas: Holt. Rinehart & Winston.

Smith, P. and Riley, A., 2009. Cultural theory: An introduction. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. 

Last Updated: 24 April 2018

Log In back to UoM Homepage