HYPOTHESES AND AIMS
From the identification of the three major problems tackled under the previous heading, we formulated two hypotheses and derived three basic aims:
Our major hypothesis was that in a fast changing
social environment, which characterizes the building up of the new
Another important hypothetical conclusion drawn from our shared research projects and discussions pointed to the fact that a coherent and unitary concept of regional development would require the implementation of an integrated approach to the study of relevant economic, social, political and cultural phenomena. During recent years new social problems emerged, which, in a globalizing world, need to be analyzed in their mutual influence, rather than separately, if we are to achieve any significant success in dealing with them.
Taking into account the above considerations, we agreed that our most urgent common task would be to propose to our students a shared understanding of the concept of regionalism and an adequate theoretical and methodological framework of teaching and research in the field of regional studies. From this perspective, in developing a course on Regional Studies, we proposed to achieve the following aims:
A1. To assist students in adopting an interdisciplinary, region centered approach to the social reality, where borders are loosing their importance - both the state borders and the traditional borders between academic disciplines - taking into account that regional thinking, which presupposes an interdisciplinary, problem-centered world outlook, is central in the process of EU accession.
A2. To equip future specialists in the field of social sciences with the ability to analyze and interpret complex, contradictory and quickly changing social contexts related to the problems raised by regional development and to provide them with tools in order to be able to †effectively link theory, research and social practice, such as: the ability to analyze and interpret complex social situations; to define social problems and identify solutions; the capacity to draw up projects of social action/intervention, the ability to think in terms of policy alternatives and to asses those alternatives etc.
A3. To offer opportunities for students in Romania and Hungary for familiarizing with the theoretical and methodological approaches and the predominant perceptions of social reality from the neighbor country in order to achieve a diminishing of those differences as the result of teacher-student and student-student interactions and self-reflection. We aimed our students to better understand the roots of their diverse or contradictory perceptions, become aware of the social significance both of their own and of each otherís approaches, so as to be able to overcome the obstacles and identify viable solutions of acting together effectively and efficiently.