Symbols of Contemporary Culture


Monika Banaś (ed)
Jagiellonian University in Kraków
Elżbieta Wiącek (ed)
Jagiellonian University in Kraków


cultural diversity, Siberian Tradition, Culture in Bulgaria


A discourse on symbol constituting the content of this book has been presented in various cultural and temporal contexts. In particular articles we find different axionormative dimensions, where objects, actions, pictrues, buildings, material and non-material artefacts get symbolic meanings. All the essays addressing different cultural traditions and historical backgrounds stress the immanent, everlasting feature of symbol, namely, "pointing beyond itself" to something that is unquantifable and mysterious.

By this transcendent process we may get closer or even touch spaces, times, thoughts and feelings of previous generations, which makes us conscious actors and agents of the human past, present and even future. This extraordinary competence, however, cannot be practiced when one remains ignorant to symbolic phenomena.

Reading these collected essays, we are provided with a relevant general notion that the postmodern human, depending so much on technology and science, still remains in need of symbols.


  • Introduction .......... 7
  • Old Symbol in Contemporary Culture. Turkish Evil Eye Bead – from Ancient Amulets to Commercial Gifts .......... 15
    Elżbieta Wiącek
  • Symbolic Space. From Narrative to Experience .......... 23
    Piotr Winskowski
  • Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in the High North .......... 51
    Ryszard M. Czarny
  • Symbolic Types – Journalism and Politics .......... 71
    Monika Banaś
  • Sufi Motives in Elif Shafak’s Writing Perceived as a Bridge between East and West .......... 85
    Filiz Sulejman
  • The Book as Polemic Symbol of Magic Powers in the Carpathian and in the Siberian Tradition .......... 95
    Olena Berezovska Picciocchi
  • The Legacy of John Paul Ii. Teachings on Work-Family Balance from the “Bard of the Civilization of Love” .......... 111
    Rita Cavallotti
  • Agnieszka Kuczkiewicz-Fraś, The Symbolism of Continuity and Change. Narendra Modi .......... 129
    Renata Czekalska
  • The Symbols of Protest Culture in Bulgaria 2013-2014. Performance, Artifacts and New Modes of Civil Activity .......... 151
    Desislava Damyanova
  • The Historical and Modern Architecture in Aesthetic and Symbolic Metamorphosis over Time .......... 175
    Anna Slatinská, Jana Pecníková
  • The Role of New Social Movements in the Shaping of Space .......... 185
    Monika Lichowska-Płonka
  • The Lego Brick. A Re-Construction of a Contemporary Culture .......... 201
    Marta Hoffmann

Author Biographies

Monika Banaś, Jagiellonian University in Kraków

Ph.D., Associate Professor at the Institute of Intercultural Studies, Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. She specializes in cultural studies with particular focus on migration and integration processes, political culture, intercultural relations, Nordic societies and Nordic cultures. In her latest research Monika undertakes issues connected with political activism of ethnic minorities in multiethnic societies. Main publications include inter alia single author books: Ethnicity for Sale (Etniczność na sprzedaż, published in Polish); Swedish integration policy towards immigrants (Szwedzka polityka integracyjna wobec imigrantów, published in Polish); book editing of Contemporary Transformations. Culture, Politics, Economy (published in English); and articles: Nordic Federation as a state – a challenge for European integration? [in:] European economic integration and convergence, (ed.) B. Jóźwik, T. Stępniewski, Rocznik Instytutu Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej, 2012/6; Anti-Immigrant Sentiment, Actions, and Policies in Europe. The Case of Three Scandinavian Countries [in:] Anti-Immigrant Sentiment, Actions, and Policies, ed. M. Verea, UNAM, CISAN, Mexico, 2012

Elżbieta Wiącek, Jagiellonian University in Kraków

Ph.D., is Associate Professor at the Institute of Intercultural Studies, Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. She specializes in cultural studies. Her interests cover inter alia topics like: cultural semiotics, audio-visual communication, art history, postmodernism, gender studies, Middle East cinema. Ela’s recent research projects are dedicated to Deaf Culture (iconographic analysis of Deaf Art), Iranian cinema in 1960s and 1970s (historical study), Galicia as a sign for sale and tourist attraction, culture of the Polish mountain region – the construction and functioning of the myth of Podhale, branding regional identity of Małopolska (semiotic analysis).

Piotr Winskowski, Tadeusz Kościuszko Cracow University of Technology

Ph.D., Eng. Architect, is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Architectural Design, University of Technology in Cracow. He is also a lecturer at the Faculty of Painting and Faculty of Sculpture, Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow. He specializes in theory of architecture, modern and postmodern architecture, relation between architecture and other spatial/visual arts. Author of books: Modernizm przebudowany. Inspiracje techniką w architekturze u progu XXI wieku, Kraków 2000; Uwarunkowania kulturowe architektury wobec przemian cywilizacyjnych końca XX wieku, co-author and ed., Kraków-Warszawa 2001; Miasto. Między przestrzenią a koncepcją przestrzeni, co-author, and coed., Kraków 2011; recent papers: Pełzająca (kontr)rewolucja. U progu postmodernizmu w architekturze polskiej [in:] Postmodernizm polski. Architektura i urbanistyka, L. Klein (ed.), Warszawa 2013; The Body, Senses and Architecture [in:] 19th International Congress of Aesthetics, „Aesthetics in Action”, Kraków 2013; Mit klarowności architektury nowoczesnej [in:] Mity modernizmu, „Autoportret” no. 3 (50) 2015.

Ryszard M. Czarny, Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce

Professor at the Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce, Poland, member of Social Working Group of International Arctic Science Committee, the Presidium member of Polar Research Committee – Polish Academy of Science, the member of Political Sciences Committee – Polish Academy of Science, expert of Polar Task Force at MFA. His interests focus on international relations and public diplomacy. Ryszard specializes in political and economic conditions of the High North and cooperation of the Northern European States. Author of many publications, including major works on the Scandinavian countries (inter alia: Regionalizm w stosunkach międzynarodowych po II wojnie światowej; Die Neutralitätspolitik als Sicherheitsproblem des Königreiches Schweden; Szwecja w Unii Europejskiej. Studium polityczno-prawne; Sweden – Poland – The European Union; W nowej Europie. Słownik terminologiczny; Energy Dilemmas of the Nordic Region Countries; Wymiar Północny Uni Europejskiej. Studium rozwoju (wraz z M. Tomalą); The Imperative High North: Opportunities and Challenges; Featuring Norden in Ten Episodes; The High North. Between Geography and Politics) and numerous articles and essays on contemporary international relations.

Filiz Sulejman, Jagiellonian University in Kraków

Is a Ph.D. candidate at the Institute of Intercultural Studies, Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. She specializes in cultural studies. Her research interests are vast and focus on the situation of minorities in Turkey, freedom of media and speech, influence of religion on daily life of the Turks, Turkish prospects of membership in EU as well as how Muslims are perceived in European societies and what stereotypes are attributed to them. Filiz’ latest research is dedicated to Polish women who moved to Turkey – their perception of the country, living conditions, culture, native citizens and religion.

Rita Cavallotti, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

Is a full-time lecturer at Universitat Internacional de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. She is also vice director of research of IESF, Institute of Advanced Family Studies, in Barcelona. Rita earned her Ph.D. in Humanities from Universitat Internacional de Catalunya. She also holds a degree in political science from Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy, and a master in marriage and family from Universidad de Navarra, Spain. Her recent research focuses on intergenerational family solidarity according to relational sociology.

Renata Czekalska, Jagiellonian University in Kraków

Ph.D., Associate Professor at the Institute of the Middle and Far East (Chair for East and South Asia), Jagiellonian University in Kraków. She specializes in Cultural Studies, with special focus on India and South Asia. Her research interests include cultural heritage of India and South Asia; contemporary Indian literature; modern history of the Indian Subcontinent; contemporary socio-political problems of South Asia; theory and practice of translation from and into South Asian languages; intercultural communication; cultural contacts between South Asia and Europe; reception of European culture in South Asia. Her recent publications include a monograph dedicated to the enriching phenomenon of mutual transfer of intrinsic values in symbolic cultures. Currently she is preparing a study on Indian motifs in Korean culture.

Agnieszka Kuczkiewicz-Fraś, Jagiellonian University in Kraków

Ph.D., Associate Professor at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. She specialises in modern South Asian Studies. Her main field of interest are the Islamicate traditions and culture in South Asia, history and contemporaneity of Muslims in the Indian subcontinent, sociolinguistics and intercultural communication. She also translates from Hindi and Urdu into Polish (she translated, among other things, M. H. Rusvā’s Umrā’o Jān Ādā into Polish). She has published vastly on various topics related to South Asia. Her main publications contain: Perso-Arabic Hybrids in Hindi. The Socio-linguistic and Structural Analysis; Perso-Arabic Loanwords in Hindustani. Part I: Dictionary, Part II: Linguistic Study; Islamicate Traditions in South Asia. Themes from Culture and History; Defining the Indefinable. Delimiting Hindi, etc. At present she is preparing a comprehensive study of Indo-Muslim courtesans (tawa’if) and the socio-cultural role they played in the Islamicate society of North India.

Desislava Damyanova, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridsky”

Ph.D., works at the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridsky”, Bulgaria. She specializes in Chinese philosophy and culture. Her interests focus on topics like: intercultural dialogue, cross-cultural studies, Eastern philosophy, Catholicism. Desislava in her recent research undertakes following issues: the concept of time – models of its conceptualization in the East and the West; symbols of protest culture in Eastern Europe; parallels of the concept of yin and yang in modern Western science.

Anna Slatinská, Univeristy of Mateja Bela in Banska Bystrica

Ph.D., works at the Univeristy of Mateja Bela in Banska Bystrica, in Slovakia. She specializes in European Cultural Studies, with particular focus on language and identity. Her interests cover topics like: cultural identity, national identity, language revitalization, status of contemporary Irish language. Anna’s resent research is dedicated to Irish language revitalization in the 21th century.

Jana Pecníková, Univeristy of Mateja Bela in Banska Bystrica

Ph.D., specializes in Foreign Languages and Cultures at the Univeristy of Mateja Bela in Banska Bystrica, in Slovakia. Her interests cover inter alia: cultural history, European contemporary culture, intercultural communication. Jana’s recent research has been dedicated to topics connected with culture and political activism. Her doctoral thesis Cultural concept of European active citizenship focused on connections between culture and politics on the local and regional level in Slovakia.

Monika Lichowska-Płonka, Momo Design Studio

Independent interior architect, based and working in France. In her professional work she focuses on the processes and factors that influence transformations of private and public spaces due to their cultural context. Monika’s recent projects are dedicated to: 1) adaptation of individuals to the existing physical space, in which they reside – how they adapt it and form it according to particular needs; 2) alternative design methods, including participatory design and the Design Thinking method as modes of creating innovative products and services, based on an in-depth understanding of consumer needs.

Marta Hoffmann, Jagiellonian University in Kraków

Ph.D. candidate at the Institute of Political Sciences and International Relations, Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. She specializes in political sciences. Marta’s main area of interest include theories of international relations, especially constructivism which combines sphere of international politics with a sphere of language, norms, values and symbols. In her recent project she analyses political discourse of the main Irish political parties in respect to the same-sex marriages referendum held in Ireland in 2015.


June 16, 2015

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