Centre and Periphery in Cosmopolitan Central European urban education: a comparative analysis of four capital cities in the late 19th and early 20th century


This research project aims to strengthen and further the previously established cooperation between educational research groups from the CENTRAL partner universities in Berlin, Budapest, Prague, Vienna and Warsaw.

The research groups held two CENTRAL workshops in 2017 („Cultural interactions among Central European capital cities: School systems in Berlin, Budapest, Prague, Vienna and Warsaw, 18th–21st century”) and two in 2018 („Cultivating Cosmopolitanism in the Nationalist Era: Central European Capital Cities, 1870–1940“), which serve as the foundation of further cooperation.

The current workshop will focus on continuing the research on the appearance of cosmopolitanism in the cultural and educational life of late modern Central European capital cities. The aim of this research project, however, is neither to promote nor criticise cosmopolitanism ideology but to observe and analyse its manifestations and effects on formal, non-formal and informal education in four capitals, namely Berlin, Budapest and Prague and Vienna.

The spatial scope – Central Europe –  allows to find common characteristics of the represented areas, but also the distinctive hallmarks of the analysed cities. We have chosen capitals from this region because of their multi-layered nature: on one hand, they represent the respective country and the national identity; on the other hand, they often appear on the horizon of international outlooks. In addition, with their usually multi-ethnic character, they provide a place for research on the parallel ideologies of cosmopolitism and nationalism, and their effects on education and cultural life.

While not without its criticism, in the recent decades, as a philosophical precursor to global citizenship, cosmopolitanism has enjoyed a political as well as an academic revival (cf. Cheah, 2006; Pisani, 2018). Cosmopolitanism, which can only be seen as the result of long processes of education and enlightenment, requires not only external cultivation but also an inner commitment to certain norms, values and insights. It requires continuous discussion and permanent (self-)reflection during its development, which also appear in the field of educational life.

  • Partners: Eötvös Loránd University – ELTE (Budapest), Charles University (Prague), Humboldt University Berlin, University of Vienna
  • Project Lead: Prof. Marcelo Caruso, Humboldt University Berlin
  • Year: 2020