Inspired by the seminal anthropological and socio-cultural work of Riane Eisler (www.centerforpartnership.org), Antonella Riem and a group of researchers founded the Partnership Studies Group (PSG) in 1998. It is an active community of scholars based at the University of Udine, with a series of interconnected partners all over the world.
Eisler’s partnership (gylanic) model propounds a way of relating to others that is more equitable and caring and radically differs from a dominator (patriarchal) model in which rigid hierarchies, authoritarianism and violence tend to prevail. Moving from this partnership/dominator continuum, the Partnership Studies Group (PSG) has developed important multi- and inter-disciplinary research, investigating the presence and meaning of partnership/dominator configurations within World Literatures in English, Language, Education and Arts.
The aim of investigating the relationship between “dominator” and “partnership” models within textual phenomena of different natures is based on the awareness that it is primarily in the texts that all ideologies are institutionalized and re-produced in more or less explicit ways. The text is thus studied not as a faithful reflection of reality but as a privileged con-text through which changes of the status quo can be envisaged. Texts belonging to different genres (fiction, drama, poetry, journalism, advertising, politics, etc.) are selected and analyzed in order to examine the different gender relations (“traditional” hierarchies of male/female), discriminations (institutionalized social violence), social structures (hierarchical and authoritarian social organizations) and those semiotic codes which reinforce and strengthen them. What is central is the study of myths, archetypes and symbols as instruments for creating and reinforcing a cultural paradigm.
Initially, the research focused on the literatures of Australia, India and Canada, applied linguistics and education, and in recent years it has been expanded to include a more interdisciplinary range of intercultural studies, francophone literatures, social and educational fields. The group has been especially active with funded Projects, the international online journals Le Simplegadi and the Interdisciplinary Journal of Partnership Studies (IJPS), the All series Forum University Press, international publications and a number of Conferences and Seminar Series.
The aims of the Group are:
- to investigate partnership configurations in linguistic, literary, cultural, educational and artistic contexts;
- to disseminate the publication of research by writers, scholars and critics;
- to organize seminars, exchanges and conferences, encouraging an international perspective upon debates in partnership studies;
- to develop collaborative research projects with other research centres, universities, schools and cultural institutions;
- to promote partnership education principles at university, in schools, international institutions and research centres.