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Intercultural
Lexicon

Revolution

Though its semantic origins are pre-modern, revolution has been a fundamental category of the interpretation of modern times.

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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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Christianity

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.

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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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Other

The process resulting in the definition of one’s own identity – hence an “us” – in an oppositional manner by, explicitly or implicitly comparing ourselves with “others”, is considered a universal movement in every society.

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

Multimedia

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The Specter of Statelessness

Patrick Weil

Stateless people neither have rights nor a home. "Home is more important than rights", claimed Emma Goldman and than Hanna Arendt nearly a century ago. Why is this becoming an issue today? Patrick Weil, researcher at CNRS at Sorbonne University points out that the increase of refugees and the idea of revoking citizenship to terrorists and foreign fighters make this issue again important. Watch Part 1 of the video  


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Which Terrorist Would Be Afraid of Loosing Citizenship When Ready to Lose One's Life?

Patrick Weil

After the Terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015 President F. Hollande proposed a constitutional amendment: revocation of French citizenship to native born French terrorists. Patrick Weil, from Sorbonne and adviser to the French government for immigration considers this a NON SENSE, such a law would punish the wrong people, create division amongst citizens without any efficiency against terrorism. A negative reaction from a large part of the French parliament followed against Holland's proposals. A second version followed, proposing revocation of citizenship for people with dual citizenship. Weil tells us why he defended the actual French Constitution. The amendment never passed as the Parliament opposed it and the Senate claimed that the existing laws were sufficient.Watch Part 2 of this video 


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Is European Unity just an Ideology?

Manuel Castells

For the last 1000 years the main joined activity of Europeans had been killing each other. Then came the European Union.  The recent economic crisis and refugee crisis showed a lack of unity and solidarity once again.  All people, not only the elite need to come together, says Spanish sociologist Manuel Castells and actively share practice and solidarity and not just an idea of a united Europe. Otherwise Europe will remain just an ideology.


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The Illusion: Dictatorship as Guarantor
for a Functioning State

Amr Hamzawy

In Egypt liberal and left elites had missed out to organize and compete with right wing groups during and after the revolution. Amr Hamzawy, former Egyptian parliamentarian and human right activist explains that human rights abuse and economic and social crisis are threatening today’s Egypt and corroding the trust of the citizens. The illusion that an autocratic regime would guarantee stability is constantly disintegrating.


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Theology, Representation and Integration of Western Muslim Communities

Nadia Marzouki

How should the western countries deal with the threat of internal religious radicalization and Islamic fundamentalism? The search for an interlocutor who should represent religious communities and the emphasis on theological questions are as wrong, says Nadia Marzouki, as the linking of radicalisation with religious practices. Religious practices, even if fervent, do not automatically create dangerous and disloyal citizens.


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Searching for Comparative Political Theory Across Borders

Diego von Vacano

How to develop democracy in Latin America or Africa, not just applying Western ideas but adapting local culture? Asks von Vacano: “if we understand theories across cultures we might be able to develop more permanent conceptions and constitutions that are democratic. Example: all inclusion of minorities - where already the ancient Athenian democracy model failed – Bolivia today has incorporated the indigenous groups, applying its cultural roots into democratic theory and constitution.”


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Liberal Tradition(s) Today Overlap More than they Contrast

Stephen Macedo

Our classical liberal tradition in the United States is stronger than in Europe, says Macedo. The interesting ideas of contemporary republicans, deliberative democrats and the ideas of progressive liberals are highly convergent and mutually complementary and not in opposition to one another. This other tradition, we tend to call libertarian, is much more free market oriented, but progressive liberalism and European moderate, left ideas to overlap.


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The Difficulty of Claiming Rights

Nadia Marzouki

Muslim in Europe and US are increasingly visible in the public sphere and ask for their rights. This has become source of controversies and fear for people in the west. But the language of emotions and fear tends to deny Muslim the possibility of talking about politics, or using the vocabulary of liberal rights to claim their needs, criticises Nadia Marzouki from EHESS in Paris. This hinders integration.


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Self-restraint and Respect for Minorities: a Comparison US-Europe

Stephen Macedo

How to deal with social controversies in the case of Charlie Hebdo in France? Ask Stephen Macedo from Princeton. In Europe, there are more laws that are protective of particular groups against hateful speech. In the US we tend not to have those laws, but we have self-restraint which results from living in society of immigrants. Not offending one another has become a normal way of behaving in society.


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France and Religion

Manlio Graziano

The Nation State is challenged by declining institutions, says Manlio Graziano from Sorbonne, Paris and the void is often filled by religion. But political actors are not prepared. In France the law from 1905 – still in force – can’t regulate today’s challenges with Islam or other religions. The relationship between the State and religions and, among others, the relationship between State and religious institutions needs to be reconsidered today.


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The Gap between Democracy and Popular Protest

Ivan Krastev

People that organize protests in the streets, the “Square People”, seem to create a re-legitimation of the status quo rather than positive change, says Ivan Krastev: today’s street protests are not necessarily a sign of more democratisation but signalise political mistrust and a disconnection between protest and representation. On the other hand, it feeds populism on a global scale by leaving aside the traditional political parties.


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No Healthy Democracies without Democratic Passion

Ramin Jahanbegloo

Cultures need to learn from each other and so does democratic theory. We need new tools, democratic tools to tame violence, says Ramin Jahanbegloo from York University, Toronto and it is Gandhi who can inspire us once again. And we need democratic passion, civic education and cross cultural, non-violent ideas.


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