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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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The concept of modernity can be analysed from various points of view. A sociological perspective sees modernity as the historical era arising from feudal society’s profound transformation processes and that, starting with the Protestant Reformation, sees the emergence of the new bourgeoisie..

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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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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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Ethnic Violence

Many of the conflicts or mass violence of recent decades have been characterised by the adjective “ethnic”. This means that the leading players were groups opposing one another on the basis of identitarian, religious, linguistic or more generally cultural assertions..

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

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Stato Islamico, una minaccia per la libertà (e per l’Islam)

Adnane Mokrani

Quale è l’identità dello “Stato Islamico”? Può esistere una religiosità senza libertà? Ci risponde, Mokrani con una sua analisi politico storica della realtà dell’Islam, che ci mostra la strada verso una vera laicità.  

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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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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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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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The Difference of Sunni and Shia in Confronting Modernity

Saïd Amid Arjomand

Making revolutions and facing modernity was easier for Shia Muslims then for Sunnis, says Prof. Arjomand from N.Y. State University. The Shia attendance for the Madhi helped in mobilizing people and create the Iranian constitution. Instead Sunni Islam is more conservative and hostile against change, with religious reactions against state building, constitutionalism and modernity. And what about comparing the religious differences to those of the religious wars in medieval Europe?

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The Tunisian Spring and Civil Society

Yadh Ben Achour

In Tunisia, civil society’s intervention following the 2011 revolution was decisive, explains Yadh Ben Achour, who played a crucial role in leading the country’s democratic transition process during these years. The former President of the Haute Instance pour la Réalisation des Objectifs de la Révolution and now member of the UN Human Rights Committee emphasises that « it was precisely thanks to civil society that we adopted one of the most democratic constitutions in the world as far as the protection of rights and freedom is concerned. » Interviewed before the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, Ben Achour spoke to Reset-DoC about the courage to compromise that made Tunisia’s democratic experience a unique example among Arab Spring countries.

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Pluralism: The Nation State Facing the Challenge of Diversity

Ulrich Preuss, Hertie School of Governance

According to Ulrich Preuss, Professor of Theories of the State at the Hertie School of Governance in Germany, Protestantism and the Reformation helped define the European nation state in terms of an ideal of unity in a territorial entity, which became the standard of modernity. But, today, this notion of the nation state is being challenged by immigration, globalization, and technological changes that demand more pluralism. Interviewed during Resetdoc’s Istanbul Seminars, Professor Preuss distinguishes between plurality as a fact and pluralism as a normative, contested idea. - Watch Part 2

Lessons on Pluralism 3

The Limits of Toleration

Rajeev Bhargava (3/4)

According to Rajeev Bhargava, interviewed during the Istanbul Seminars 2014, Ashoka’s 7th edict is a lesson about public political morality in deeply diverse societies. It encourages people to evolve in their own respective religious-philosophical perspectives towards a mutual moral growth, by which the Other can be enriched. Today, we call this notion pluralism. Toleration, on the other hand, encourages living back to back with a lack of mutual interaction.

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Origins of Pluralism II - The Ethos of Diversity

Richard J. Bernstein (2/2)

Part 2 - Since World War I, every major political event has created masses of refugees and immigrant. As entire populations move, strong reactions are often triggered amongst native people. Cultural pluralism developed out of the need for an ethos that could meet differences and recognize how other cultures enrich society. “Recognition of cultures enriches society,” says Richard Bernstein, interviewed during the Istanbul Seminars 2014. “It is not a threat to society.” - Watch Part 1 of this video

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The Militant Revival of Religion

Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study

“Many from my generation believed that religion would disappear,” notes Michael Walzer, editor emeritus of Dissent magazine and Professor at the Institue for Advanced Study in Princeton. “Instead, it came back: politicized, modern, militant and anti-liberal.” In secular nations such as Algeria, India and Israel, we can observe a violent return to religion. What happened? Michael Walzer, interviewed by Reset-DoC, asks: “Was it a mistake not to engage critically with religious culture?”

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Islamism and Political Power

Jonathan Laurence, Boston College

Part 2 - Republics, kingdoms, and semi-authoritarian presidential systems all enforce state oversight over religious affairs. But “why do even Islamist governments reinforce control over religion?” asks Jonathan Laurence, political scientist at Boston College. “To keep politics out of the mosques? To seek a neutral public space in order to gain more political influence?” Interviewed during our Istanbul Seminars 2014, Laurence contends that while these aspects may be true, Islamists also fear that the rule of law is threatened by their more radical counterparts. Watch Part 1 of this video

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