C
  • Generally speaking, “Christianity” means the ensemble of churches, communities, sects, groups, but also the ideas and concepts following the preaching of he who is generally considered the founder of this religion, Jesus of Nazareth, a travelling preacher from Galilee, born between 4 B.C. and the year 6 A.D. and who died in about the year 30, sentenced to crucifixion by the Roman authority because of political rebellion.
  • Citizenship means the shared political belonging of those living in the same state and all this belonging involves in terms of rights and duties. One cannot however say that all members of a state are necessarily citizens: in and absolute monarchy one speaks of subjects, in a dictatorship one would speak of the people or fellow countrymen, but not precisely citizens.
  • The city is an artefact. Like a hammer, but with some added qualities. The hammer is a relatively simple and small product, while the city is large and complex. To be sure, even a hammer is no mean object, although it could be used for mean purposes. It is a piece of very mature technology, marvellous in its simplicity: in its shape, weight, and balanced structure, it embodies the stratified experience of millennial practice and compounds the strength and adroitness of the human arm.
  • From the mid-1980s to the present, civil society has been a key category of democratic politics, increasingly in a genuinely international setting. Its still undiminished importance is a product of learning experiences first and foremost within the tradition of left politics and social movements, one that certainly involved an opening to liberal democratic and sometimes classical conservative concepts. As all really important political terms, civil society is a highly contested one. There are today many versions, liberal, radical democratic, communitarian and even neo-liberal variants, staunchly secular and “accomodationst” versions along with different ways of drawing on alternative national and religious traditions. But all versions, with the exception of extreme libertarianism and authoritarian communitarianism do have an essential assumption in common. They break with a political theology based on the revolutionary, or populist reoccupation of the symbolic center of society [1], whether by the state, a party or a movement,[2] as well as the rejection of a Freund-Feind definition of the political that would entail dealing with internal opponents as enemies.[3]
  • Constitution is a key category, one of the most important, of modern political and legal theory. The fact that all countries with very few exceptions have written, documentary almost always entrenched constitutions should not be overemphasized, but it is still a testimony to the importance of the concept.[1] Constitutions have been considered the only normatively justifiable outcomes of revolutions.[2] That may overburden the concept of revolution. But constitutionalist constitutions whether written or “unwritten” have been rightly considered since the great revolutions in England, America and France to be preconditions of liberal societies based on rights and “popular sovereignty”.[3] Today the debate is less about this assumption, than concerning the making and the interpretation of constitutions.
  • It is the philosophical and political concept that extends the ideas of citizenship and homeland to the whole world and to all humankind, opposing the particularity of nations and national states. Those sharing a cosmopolitan idea of relations between persons and peoples, refuse to identify with one particular vision of the world or with one particular civilisation.
  • “Cultural pluralism” is a recent concept in Europe to the extent that many do not know what it means. While political pluralism and freedom of thought are deeply rooted in our continent, and everyone is capable of distinguishing a democratic regime from one that is not, there are some extremely extravagant and vague opinions concerning pluralism of cultures and the relationship between the various religious, linguistic and ethnic cultures. The concept of “multiculturalism” is used even by men and women in government to exorcise problems experienced in integrating millions of immigrants and to conceal political failures. We effectively live in multi-ethnic cities which conflicts with a nostalgic, identity-based and homogeneous vision of our communities.
  • The concept of culture has changed in the course of time. In the Greek world there was the concept of paideia, used to indicate the process involving the formation of the human personality achieved through learning. This use of the idea of culture survives in the link the Latin world established between culture and colere. In this sense the concept of culture continued to exist also during the Middle Ages and in early modern times, until the 18th century.