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Intercultural
Lexicon

Fundamentalism

Fundamentalism means the literal and dogmatic interpretation of holy texts (but these may also be secular texts), the prescriptive indications of which are considered the foundations of all action.

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Democracy

In the Greek polis the meaning of the term “democracy” implied the government of a vast majority of the people, the “plebs”, as opposed to the aristocracy.

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Relativism

Few concepts are both so controversial and recurrent within the philosophical and cultural debate as the concept of relativism.

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Nationalism

The 20th Century was par excellence the century of nationalisms. It is sufficient to remember that the causes of the two world wars were directly linked to the consequences of nationalist doctrine exalting all that belongs to one’s own nation..

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Citizenship

Citizenship means the shared political belonging of those living in the same state and all this belonging involves in terms of rights and duties.

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Reset
A month of ideas.
Giancarlo Bosetti Editor-in-chief
Association for dialogue and intercultural understanding

Dialogue of Cultures

Sartori, the theoretician of democracy who brought logic to politics

Alessandro Lanni

“Political science must be relevant, it does not involve studying butterflies.” Attempting to discover the theory of reality is what the Florentine political analyst Giovanni Sartori, who died on April 1st at the age of almost 93, had tried to do for his entire life. This amusing comment was made by Gianfranco Pasquino, a political scientist, a former senator.


Analysis

The Legacy of Tony Atkinson
Great Analyst of Inequality

Mattia Baglieri

Tony Atkinson died in Oxford, England where he taught political economy and served as chairman of the International Economic Association. An acclaimed economist, Atkinson had been previously shortlisted for the Nobel Prize for his pioneering work in the field of income inequality.


Analysis

Zygmund Bauman, the narrative
of the second modernity

Giancarlo Bosetti

He was the narrative voice of the “second modernity”, the one unmoored from its “solid” foundations and no longer tethered to mass heavy industry, a voice that was always in search of a revenge against extreme inequity and blind consumerism. Zygmunt Bauman, one of the most prominent European sociologists of recent decades, has died. The Polish-born thinker passed away at his home in Leeds, England at the age of 91.


Storia e Presente

Con Roman Herzog la grande perdita di un uomo di dialogo

MP

Roman Herzog, ex Presidente della Repubblica Federale Tedesca, è morto il 10 gennaio 2017. Membro del partito dell’Unione Cristiano-Democratica di Germania (CDU), Herzog è stato il primo presidente eletto dopo la riunificazione della Germania.


History and Politics

Roman Herzog's death: the big loss of a man of dialogue

MP

Roman Herzog, former President of the Federal Republic of Germany, died on January 10th, 2017. A member of the Christian-Democratic Union party (CDU), Herzog was the first president elected after German reunification in 1990. He was also a member and president of the Federal Constitutional Court as well as minister for Culture and Education. During his mandate at the Constitutional Court, he intensely devoted his work to immigration and integration policies for minorities.


Philosophy and Religion

Does diversity need secularism?

Shaikh Mujibur Rehman

The expansion and consolidation of the Hindu Right’s political power has raised legitimate concerns about the future of India’s secularism. While criticism of secularism could be found in the public debate during the anti-colonial struggle, the sustained assault on it became particularly apparent during the Ayodhya movement. During the late 1980s and 1990s, the public campaign led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) advocated that the practice of secularism has led to the appeasement of Muslims. The BJP further argued that it has been quite harmful to India’s democratic polity because it has been institutionalising vote-bank politics, and that what is needed is in fact an attempt for a ‘positive’ secularism as opposed to ‘negative’ secularism. While these distinctions were widely used during those days, surprisingly it has vanished from the political lexicon of the Hindu Right in recent years.


Life and Society

A new cosmopolitan sociology to match unity and diversity

Vincenzo Cicchelli interviewed by Lorenzo Kihlgren Grandi

Italian-French sociologist Vincenzo Cicchelli describes in his newest book (Pluriel et Commun. Sociologie d'un monde cosmopolite, Presses de Sciences Po, 2016) a world featuring both unifying and separating processes, mastered by a new generation of cosmopolites bearing in them such a duality. How is human experience shaped in such a world? How do individuals socialize today in Rome, Bombay, Lagos and Tokyo? In an attempt to answer these questions, the author has carried out an investigation using an innovative approach, matching the analysis of the cosmopolitan world and its global cultural dynamics with their impact on everyday life and ordinary socialization to the otherness.


Philosophy and Religion

Ashis Nandy: Why Nationalism and Secularism Failed Together

An interview by Giancarlo Bosetti

October 2016, New Delhi – MilanAshis Nandy sees vendors of nationalism inflicting damage all over the world, including in his own country, India. In India, the modern ideologies dominant during the liberation struggle against British rule were anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism. These then gave way to secular nationalism after Independence in 1947, under the first Prime Minister of free India, Jawaharlal Nehru (d. 1964). But less than seven decades later, what dominates Indian politics today is Hindu nationalism or “Hindutva”, and this is now being aggressively promoted by the 'strongman' currently leading the government in Delhi, Narendra Modi. Nandy, 79, a clinical psychologist by training, an analyst of culture and society, an astute political commentator and today India's most significant living public intellectual, has embraced the view of one of India’s founding fathers, Rabindranath Tagore, who thought that the idea of Indian nationalism was as absurd as Switzerland having a navy. In this interview below, Nandy will explain why.


Philosophy and Religion

The paradox of the Holy texts
where violent people look for legitimation

Prince El Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan and Ed Kessler

Christianity has been part of the essential fabric of the Middle East for two thousand years. Far from being a Western import as some, incredibly, now seem to suggest, it was born here and exported as a gift to the rest of the world. Christian communities have been intrinsic to the development of Arab culture and civilisation.


Politics and Religion

Part II: Context and Features of Trust State in Fifteen Arguments

Mohammed Hashas

Below, we outline fifteen arguments in support of this call for a new reform and form of the State in the Arab political domain.


Philosophy and religion

Part I: A Treatise on Trust State for a New Arab World: Overcoming Dichotomous Thought

Mohammed Hashas

The reader might ask from the very beginning: why searching for new names for the State while there are other real priorities? This question is legitimate but can easily be refuted for many reasons the main of which this treatise outlines. We had tackled in previous scientific and unscientific articles the condition of contemporary Arab-Islamic thought and the possibilities of its contributions to modern thinking. Here, we propose a concept and name for what occupies our mind more than we can describe, seeing the ongoing turmoil in a region that has contributed so much to human history and civilization, a region which every hegemon wants to conquer, a region that is exhausted but can still give a lot for its richness on various levels. 


Essays

The Quest for Legitimacy in Muslim Contexts:
A Four-Act Tragedy?

Abdou Filali-Ansary

According to many recent studies, Muslims’ political history reveals certain particular processes and ideas, which is obvious since all historical processes differ, but at the end of the day result in one and the same universe encompassing them all and one that has ended up creating the practices, schools of thought and symbols adopted by Muslims. While, for example, this concerns Islam’s political language, or kingdom of God, or oriental despotism, etc., it appears to evoke a universe that is totally extraneous to everything that Europe has practiced and believed. As one will see, in observing the events rocking the Muslim world, a contemporary researcher has even suggested that there has been a fall and resurrection of the Islamic State (overturning the words of the famous book, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire).


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