Budapest, Hungary

From Dragons to Transformers and the Olympics: Popular Culture and World Politics

when 23 July 2023 - 30 July 2023
language English
duration 1 week
credits 3 EC
fee EUR 470

The course explores the relationship between popular culture and world politics in three ways. First, it considers popular culture as a reflection of political and societal processes, as well as national identities in the context of global politics. Second, the course explores ways in which different actors (the State, domestic and transnational non-state actors) use popular culture for political purposes. In other words, the course treats popular culture as an important element in power relations among different actors in the domestic, international and transnational arenas. Third, the course will investigate the use of popular culture in analyzing and understanding international politics. Popcultural artefacts can namely help us imagine fictional scenarios that are analogous with real phenomena, while keeping a healthy distance from current politics, for instance zombie movies as an analogy for global pandemics. They can equally aid us in introducing abstract concepts of International Relations Theory, and use them to explore fictional worlds like that of Star Wars or Game of Thrones. Understanding the role of popular culture in the context of global politics invites a complex inter-disciplinary approach. Students will therefore also be exposed to insights from Social Psychology, Communication and Culture Studies, and first and foremost, International Relations Theory.

Course leader

ELTE Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of International Relations and European Studies

Target group

The course does not have any specific requirements; however, it assumes a general openness to world politics and popular culture.

Course aim

The goal of this course is to examine and understand the different roles that popular culture, mass consumption cultural products like movies, sports, music, literature, manga etc. can play in the practice and analysis of world politics.

Credits info

3 EC
The course offers ECTS points, which may be accepted for credit transfer by the participants' home universities.

Fee info

EUR 470: The course fee includes tuition fee, accommodation (student residence halls with shared rooms 2-3/ room), meals (breakfast and lunch/day), local transport and the cost of the leisure time programs.


Early bird registration until the 10th of February (380 EUR).