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Intercultural
Lexicon

Multiculturalism

The word began to be used at the end of the Eighties in the United States to indicate an ideal society in which various cultures could co-exist with reciprocal respect, but avoiding all domination and assimilation into the dominant culture..

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Anti-semitism

The use of the expression anti-Semitism to indicate hostility towards the Jews – only the Jews and not as generally thought towards all “Semitic” people – dates back to the second half of the 19th Century, when the word, a neologism derived from linguistics, was spread throughout...

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Ethnocentrism

While empathy breaks down the barriers of borders, ethnocentrism – the supposed superiority of one’s own cultural world – is addressed at strengthening them, and if possible, at raising new ones.

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Islamism

Islamism is a highly militant mobilizing ideology selectively developed out of Islam’s scriptures, texts, legends, historical precedents, organizational experiences and present-day grievances, all as a defensive reaction against the long-term erosion of Islam’s primacy over the public...

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Enlightenment

In the strictest sense Enlightenment means the cultural movement of philosophical origins that spread through Europe after the beginning of the 18th Century until the French revolution and that is characterised by trust in reason and its clarifying power.

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Reset
A month of ideas.
Giancarlo Bosetti Editor-in-chief
Association for dialogue and intercultural understanding
ARTICLES for JULY 15 - AUGUST 31, 2014

Intercultural Lexicon
What Does Toleration Mean?

Ever since the dawn of Enlightenment, toleration has been considered one of the most solid bastions of social peace in liberal and pluralist civilization. Acknowledging and protecting freedom of religion, ideas and speech, the modern rule of law can be considered as a political-institutional as well as juridical fulfillment of what previously was only a hoped-for virtue: toleration. What does tolerating those who are different, those who think or act differently, really mean? Is toleration a form of resignation and indifference regards to the mistakes of others? Or is it rather a synonym for respect for and interest in diversity? Who is called upon to be tolerant? Individuals or institutions?

The Changing Face of Toleration Susan Mendus, University of York
Discussing Toleration After Susan Mendus Roberta Sala, University of Milan San Raffaele
In depth

Internet and Public Sphere
What the Web Can't Do

Jürgen Habermas interviewed by Markus Schwering

"After the inventions of writing and printing, digital communication represents the third great innovation on the media plane. With their introduction, these three media forms have enabled an ever growing number of people to access an ever growing mass of information. These are made to be increasingly lasting, more easily. With the last step represented by Internet we are confronted with a sort of “activation” in which readers themselves become authors. Yet, this in itself does not automatically result in progress on the level of the public sphere. [...] The classical public sphere stemmed from the fact that the attention of an anonymous public was “concentrated” on a few politically important questions that had to be regulated. This is what the web does not know how to produce. On the contrary, the web actually distracts and dispels." This is how, among many more subjects, Jürgen Habermas comments the evolution of democratic participation in the internet era. Reset-DoC is pleased to republish the translated version of a long interview published last June on the "Frankfurter Rundschau" for the philosopher's eighty-fifth birthday.

Inclusive Citizenship - Essays

The Pragmatic Roots of Cultural Pluralism

Richard J. Bernstein, The New School

This essay by Richard Bernstein, the Vera List Professor of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York, is drawn from a lecture held during the series of conferences "For an inclusive citizenship" organized by Reset-DoC. The conferences were held in Milan at the Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli between autumn 2013 and spring 2014. Among other speakers, the conferences have hosted Giuliano Amato, Rainer Bauböck, Michael Walzer, Anna Elisabetta Galeotti, Nilüfer Göle, Susan Mendus and Alain Touraine.

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

Iraq, Why Islam Cannot Accept Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s “Caliphate”

Massimo Campanini, University of Trento

Iraq no longer exists as a unified state. The Kurdish north is moving towards increasingly greater autonomy that sooner or later will become outright independence; the Shiite south increasingly gravitate towards Iran, and the Sunni central region is home to the new-born, so-called caliphate proclaimed by ISIS, the jihadist-qaedist organisation that aims to redefine the Levant’s political framework. An otherwise little-known character, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has proclaimed himself “caliph” of this supposed new Sunni state.

Meister Eckhart Prize Lecture

Human Rights and the Critique of “Humanitarian Reason”

Seyla Benhabib, Yale University

On February 16, 2014 The New York Times Magazine ran an article called “Container City.” “Container City” refers to the Kilis camp in southern Turkey housing 14, 000 refugees from Syria. Protected by high gates and surrounded by barbed wire, Kilis from the outside shares features with many refugee camps all over the world that make them indistinguishable from prisons or criminal detention centers. Kilis houses its population in 2,053 identical containers, spread in neat rows. The pictures that accompany the article remind one of shipping containers at a harbor. Each container is a 23 by 10 foot trailer with 3 rooms; and a color TV with close to 1000 channels, probably picking up programs from all the surrounding countries of the Mediterranean.

Inclusive Citizenship - Essays

Citizenship, Pluralism and Political Action

Michael Walzer, Princeton University

Reset-Dialogues is pleased to publish this essay by Michael Walzer, Professor Emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, drawn from a lecture held during the series of conferences "For an inclusive citizenship", held in Milan at the Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli between autumn 2013 and spring 2014. Among other speakers, the conferences have hosted Giuliano Amato, Rainer Bauböck, Richard Bernstein, Anna Elisabetta Galeotti, Nilüfer Göle, Susan Mendus and Alain Touraine.

Intercultural dialogues

Foreigners in my class. On “cultural” pluralism in Italian (and other) schools

Davide Zoletto, University of Udine

This paper is an elaborated version of the contribution that David Zoletto, a Researcher at the Department of Human Sciences, University of Udine, presented on December 12, 2013 in Milan, for the last meeting of the series of conferences "Words and ideas for a plural world. An intercultural lexicon" sponsored by Reset-DoC and Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Foundation. The 2014 edition of our Milan-dialogues, this year dedicated to the theme of "inclusive citizenship", begins April 17 with a lecture by Constitutional Court Judge Giuliano Amato on "A new season for citizenship in Europe."

In depth

Turkey: forget Erdoğan for one minute, this is primitive capitalism

Nilüfer Göle interviewed by Cansu Çamlibel

A sociologist and an internationally known professor known for her studies on the relations between Islam, the public sphere and modernity, Nilüfer Göle visited Turkey shortly after the tragic events happened in Soma[1]. Professor and Directrice d’études at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, she coordinated a panel on the subject of “the resources and limitations of pluralism in today’s Turkey,” as part of the Istanbul Seminars that Reset-DoC organises every year in May at Bilgi University in Istanbul.

From Dissent magazine

A Foreign Policy for the Left

Michael Walzer

Is there such a thing as a leftist foreign policy? What are the characteristic views of the left about the world abroad? When have leftists, rightly or wrongly, defended the use of force? The arguments about what to do in Syria have led me to ask these questions, but I am after a more general answer, looking not only at the left as it is today but also at the historical left. The questions aren’t easy—first, because there have been, and there are, many lefts; and second, because left views about foreign policy change more often than left views about domestic society. Relative consistency is the mark of leftism at home, but that’s definitely not true abroad.

Egypt 2014 Presidential Election

Sabahi Challenges the Egyptian Regime: Spring Will Return

Resetdoc

On May 26th, 27th and 28th Egyptians have voted to elect a successor to Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s president elected in 2012 and deposed by the army in July 2013. There are only two candidates; the now well-known general Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, and Hamdeen Sabahi, leader of the progressive Egyptian Popular Current, a pro-Nasser activist who opposed  Sadat and Mubarak, who had him imprisoned 17 times. In 2012, with 21.5 per cent of the votes, Sabahi came third behind Morsi and Ahmed Shafiq. He did not hesitate to criticise Morsi’s authoritarian shift, describing him as “a new Mubarak.” He has also expressed his disapproval of abuses of power by the transition government imposed by the army. Today, with the slogan “one of us” and a ‘left-wing’ election campaign, he is supported by important personalities in the world of culture such as Alaa Al Aswany and Khaled Youssef. The secular and ‘socialist’ Sabahi aims to obtain the votes of working class citizens and the young revolutionaries. However, few believe his liberal appeal has any chance at all of overcoming the electoral machine fielded by former general Al Sisi. Sabahi, however, is not giving up. He explains why in Azzurra Meringolo’s interview for Resetdoc.

Hamdeen Sabahi: My Long March Against Al Sisi

Interview by Azzurra Meringolo

Egypt: Al Sisi will certainly win, but then?
Azzurra Meringolo

In depth

The boundaries of culture

Gaetano Pentassuglia, University of Liverpool

How should cultural or religious factors affect the way in which we work within and across societies? This is too big a question for anyone to be able to provide anything other than models, empirical evidence or pointers that are tailored to time and space. But a stream of recent media headlines raises the issue in ways that expose at least specific cross-cutting tensions between cultural claims and the rights of individuals or entire groups.

World Cup

Brazil 2014, When The Roots of Discontent Run Deep

Luigi Spera

Rio de Janeiro - “The giant has awoken.”  This was the mantra that, one year ago, accompanied the beginning of the phase of upheaval of the Brazilian people against their own ruling class and social injustice in a country of fierce inequalities. Never before had hundreds of thousands of people paraded down the streets of Rio de Janeiro and of other cities. Never, since the time former president Collor was impeached in the 90’s. Never, to cry out to the world the suffocating reality of the country, so victimized by its own preconceptions and by a shiny and unreal image, that it cannot show itself in its deepest aspect of tragedy. Certainly not from abroad, where the “myth” of the ever-happy Brazilian has finally had to stand face to face with the images of the enormous protests.

Viewpoint

Russia and the inflated minority card in Ukraine

Gaetano Pentassuglia, University of Liverpool

As widely reported by the media, the key justification for Russian intervention in Crimea has been the need to protect ethnic Russians. Indeed, President Putin obtained the backing from Russia’s upper house of parliament on that basis. The argument, built around a vaguely construed notion of humanitarian intervention or protection of nationals abroad has proved wholly unpersuasive.

Culture and society in the United States

American Civic Republicanism: What Went Wrong?

Jim Sleeper, Yale University

A somewhat bleak survey of American democratic prospects for this year’s American Independence Day begins by reminding us what America was meant to be all about.
“By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard ‘round the world.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Concord Hymn,” 1837  

Opinion

Can European Islam Be Inspiring to the Arab World?

Mohammed Hashas, Luiss University

The question “can European Islam be inspiring to the Arab world?” may smell of pejorative Orientalism: Europe thinks for the Arab world even when it comes to religion! Yet, the intent (anniya in Arabic) is not that. The question aims at questioning the established dichotomy of “Islam vs. the West.” Comparing two geographies or two versions of religion in two different political entities is the aim here, though the title seems to compare a religious interpretation in a political geography “European Islam” with a another political geography “the Arab world.” By the Arab world here is meant “Arab Islam” – to avoid repeating “Islam” twice. Both Western Europe and the Arab world are heterogeneous and have different histories with religion and politics, and it is not acceptable to put them all in one basket through entities as the title above suggests. However, it is the links between these two geographies, polities, and histories that have encouraged posing the question for further reflections.

In depth

Between hegemony and distrust
Representative democracy in the Internet era

Nadia Urbinati, Columbia University

Iceland's crowd-sourced constitution and the impact of Beppe Grillo's blog on Italian politics reveal how "Internet democracy" has opened a new phase of democratic innovation. The relationship between citizens and politicians may never be the same again.

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