Funding – 2012

Changing societies "Emergence and evolution of cultures and cultural phenomena"

The "Changing societies" programme

In an environment marked at the same time by new forms of exchange, of interdependence and of differentiation between cultures, and also by certain forms of globalisation of life styles and of thought, the study of societies and of cultures in their transformations and in their permanence is particularly relevant. Understanding the phenomena at stake, whether they concern political, social, economic or cultural aspects, requires an appreciation of the historical perspective, the study of procedures at different scales, the analysis of the plurality of contexts, as well as the perceptions that individuals, groups and societies might have.

The establishment of a multi-year thematic programme "Changing societies", covering all humanities and social sciences, should enable questioning of medium term as well as the reflection on one or more privileged themes, each year. This period of time should, more particularly, enable the accumulation of knowledge, the multiplication of points of view and theoretical questioning, favour cooperation between researchers and exchanges between various approaches.

For the year 2012, the programme proposes a first call for proposals on the theme "Emergence and evolution of cultures and cultural phenomena".

The call for proposals "Emergence and evolution of cultures and cultural phenomena" aims at improving the analysis and understanding of cultures and cultural phenomena as a whole or in their particular forms, through their history and their developments, as well as understanding the context of their emergence, their spreading, and even their obsolescence and disappearance.

In particular, the programme will allow to go deeper into the studies on humanisation, differentiation between men and primates, the emergence and evolution of symbolic systems, and to appreciate the cultural and social dimensions of human mind. Also, it seeks a better determination of existing interactions between biology, culture and environment throughout the evolution of humankind.

Favouring more specifically fundamental research, the programme encourages interdisciplinary synergies in all the fields of Social Sciences and Humanities; collaborations between evolutionary biologists and developmental biologists could also be relevant. Comparative perspectives are strongly encouraged, in order to give the studies the scope they deserve. Monodisciplinary projects will have to initiate dialogue between the different specialties within the same field.

Its main objectives are:

  • To develop approaches at different scales and period, comparative studies, spatial as well as temporal, synchronic or diachronic;
  • To favour multidimensional approaches and the confrontation of the results in different fields;
  • To renew questions and approaches, especially through dialogue between disciplines, critical and genealogical approaches of concepts and methodological tools.     
    To support experimentation of analytical tools, modelling and even the development of integrated scenarios, the sharing of multidisciplinary data;
    To contribute to the diffusion of knowledge toward society. The selected projects will be asked to highlight their results, not only in scientific publications, but also in the diffusion of knowledge, museography or pieces of art towards a more general public. 

Four major axes of work are suggested: they are not limitative and the projects can include different axes.

1. Origins and evolution of human diversities

2. Emergence and evolution of languages, representation patterns and symbolic systems

  • language
  • writing and graphic expression
  • religion and mythology

3. Plurality and variability of cultures:

  • invariants
  • differences between cultures and how they are approached

4. Dynamics of evolution:

  • conditions and modalities
  • spaces - centers - peripheries
  • cultural transfer



Opening : 2012-01-20 at 10h46 CET
Application Deadline : 2012-04-10 at 13h00 CEST

The complete submission file comprises two documents that must be filled out:

  • The "scientific document" is the scientific and technical description of the project. The document template is available in Word format (*.doc) in the downloads section. Once completed, this document is to be uploaded to the submission website.
  • The administrative and financial document is completed online on the submission website. For foreign partners, only names and contact details need to be provided. Once scanned in PDF format and signed by the partners, the coordinator must upload it to the submission website.


Scientific and financial questions:
Maëlle Sergheraert
+33 (0)1 73 54 82 46

Director of the call for proposals
Mireille Brangé

ANR Programme Director
Jean-Claude Rabier

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