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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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“Pan-Arabism” is a movement the objective of which is the unification of Arab peoples and nations. This is a modern cultural trend with political finalities, arising as an answer to colonialism and the West’s involvement in the Arab world..

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

Resetdoc Videos

Resetdoc Videos

Democracy's Malaise with Religious Claims

Jonathan Laurence, Boston College

Part 1 - In the 1950’s, many states in the Muslim world denied religious realities as they concentrated on modernization. According to Jonathan Laurence, interviewed during the Istanbul Seminars 2014, a secular population was forced into existence, in turn triggering a religious and traditionalist backlash. Political participation has opened the way for religious parties but democratic discomfort is still strong. Laurence advocates patience: this is a world still under assessment. Let’s not forget how long it took to judge the French Revolution. Watch Part 2 of this Video

IT Resetdoc Video

The Ambiance of Uncertainty (video)

Zygmunt Bauman

Modernity has two powerful characteristics that constantly produce redundant people, who can’t be accommodated—the people that don’t fit. The first is the order-building characteristic: modernity is obsessively ordering a chaotic reality. Inevitably this produces conflicting loyalties, diasporas and migration, since there are redundant people, who don’t fit the image of order prescribed by modernity. The second characteristic is economic progress, which makes human labor less and less valuable, so that people lose their skills and personal capital and need to move elsewhere. The great sociologist Zygmunt Bauman talks to ResetDoc about Europe, migrations and modernity.

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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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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.  

Lessons on Pluralism 4

Testing Time For India's Pluralist Ethos

Rajeev Bhargava (4/4)

“Is the legendary Indian pluralistic ethos once again under challenge by attempts to homogenize and radicalize society around dogmas and creeds?” asks Rajeev Bhargava, interviewed during the Istanbul Seminars 2014. He contends that the threat is real, but an entrenched pluralist ethos and a democratic tradition of checks and balances should be able to contend with it. If channeled correctly, these forces may be able to be contained within reasonable limits and even serve to strengthen Indian democracy.

Lessons on Pluralism 2

Ashoka's Seventh Edict

Rajeev Bhargava (2/4)

“We are all incomplete in some ways,” says Rajeev Bhargava. “In order to enrich ourselves and to complete ourselves, we need to mutually communicate with each other all the time.” Bhargava references the work of the Maurya Dynasty emperor Ashoka. In Ashoka’s ideal world people should mix and practice dhamma: listening to a plurality of voices, controlling the tongue, being critical – but with moderation. In the 3rd century BCE, Ashoka wrote the 7th edict, an ethical guide to pluralism, which is still valuable today. For Bhargava, interviewed during the Istanbul Seminars 2014, the edict was not about living back to back, but face to face in search for a common ground.

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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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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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Turkey, The Trap of Power

Mustafa Akyol - Part 1

“Is Turkey trapped in the cyclical history of Ibn Khaldoun, the medieval thinker who said that new elites conquer, change things, but gradually imitate the old elites? After the Kemalist oppression came a phase of liberalization by the AKP. Now, a new (religious) ideal society might be, once more, imposed with power.” Mustafa Akyol, a Turkish writer and the author of Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty, warns of the danger of authoritarianism in the name of religion in an interview from the Istanbul Seminars 2014. Watch Part 2: "About the Gezi Movement"  - Watch Part 3: "Pluralism and Liberal Democracy"

ResetDoc Videos

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.

ResetDoc Videos

Neo-populism and the Italian Case

Mauro Calise

Western political systems are moving from party politics to “the” personal party, with emphasis on strong leadership. The Italian case with Silvio Berlusconi’s personal party, Beppe Grillo and now Matteo Renzi’s “best of” populist interpretation, is an interesting case for this new kind of neo-populism within Democracies, says Mauro Calise and it differs from  former populist models, defined by their strong communal roots.

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