prof. PhDr. Petr Sommer, CSc., DSc.

Institute of Archaeology of the CAS, Prague
Institute of Philosophy of the CAS


  • To elucidate the organisation of society and its tools
  • To deepen the understanding of the civilisation process formation and destruction
  • To clarify the legal, philosophical, ethical and religious reflections of the state
  • To study the relations between culture, arts and the state
  • To extend the understanding of the European state in non-European contexts

Participating CAS Institutes
Institute of Archaeology, Brno
Institute of Archaeology, Prague
Institute of Ethnology
Institute of Philosophy
Institute of History
Library of CAS
Masaryk Institute and Archives
Oriental Institute
Institute of Slavonic Studies
Institute of Sociology
Institute of Art History
Institute of Czech Literature
Institute of the Czech Language
Institute of Contemporary History
Institute of State and Law

Cooperating partners
Parliament of the Czech Republic
Czech Television
Czech Radio
National Archives of the Czech Republic
National Museum
Moravian Museum
Czech and foreign universities and other institutes

The programme studies the transformations of both historical and present form of the (Central) European state as a phenomenon. The focus is not on its historical development from primitive to complex types but on the historical oscillation between the positive and negative forms of an organisation that sometimes tyrannises society (barbarism) and other times brings it to humanity and culture (civilisation). The analysis of the role of the state seems to be useful for the public, which needs enough information and arguments to make qualified decisions on its attitude towards the state.

The Research Programme thus includes primary analyses of the state as an organisational and functional principle as well as of our society’s perception of itself, its value systems, its own culture etc. A part of the research into the issues of the European state is to understand the complicated relations and conflicts introduced by the state – both in the present and in the course of history. Its aims are to study the tension between the European state and individuals, but also to analyse the normative concepts of the state as well as conflicts between the state and the culture of its society and to compare the European state with its non-European models. The expected outcomes should contribute to the social discussion on both positive and negative aspects of the state and on the issues of social morality and ethics, which are closely associated with the form, status and function of the state. Another objective is to draw attention to the role of the humanities in society in defining social phenomena and interpreting their origin and function. The research results of the programme are intended for the general and professional public, including those active in politics and the public sector. They will therefore be presented to the Czech parliament (in particular its specialist committees) for discussion, to which the researchers responsible for the individual themes will contribute. A broader discussion with the public will be stimulated by collaboration with Czech Television, Czech Radio and the media, since it belongs to the essential prerequisites for the functioning of contemporary society to explain and accept the role of the state and its positive as well as negative potential. The programme outcomes will be applicable to the area of education and schooling on various levels of social discussion and argumentation. Therefore, it will also be important to cooperate with museums and other memory institutions.


Website of the programme