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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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The United Nations

The Organization of the United Nations is the largest international organisation and in fact includes almost all the states existing on the planet. There are currently 192 member states. The seat of the UN is in New York and the current Secretary General is the South Korean Ban Ki-Moon..

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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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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.

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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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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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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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Dalits in India: Balancing minority rights and caste claims in Law

Rowena Robinson

The Dalits, once the caste of the untouchables, are still denied the fundamental rights to education and medical reservation. This applies in particular to the more then 21 million Christian Dalits in India, says Rowena Robinson from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay, stressing that the denial of these fundamental human rights could become an even worse problem in the future by recreating generations of uneducated young, poor Christian Indians.

IT Resetdoc videos

Multiple Secularisms: The Concept of Twin Tolerations

Alfred Stepan, Columbia University (1/2)

“What does democracy need and require from religious institutions and people? And, on the other side, what is the minimum religious people can legitimately expect from democracy?” asks Professor Alfred Stepan from Columbia University. “For democracy to function, he explains, religious individuals and institutions have to respect and tolerate the results of democratic processes, as well as the right, indeed the sovereignty of democratic institutions to write laws. And on the other hand – and this has often undertheorized by secularists – we are talking about citizens, about individuals: what if these individuals are deeply religious? What rights should they expect from democracy?” The solution to these questions could be found in what Professor Stepan defines as “Twin tolerations”.

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Cultural Pluralism: An American Achievement

Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study (Part 1)

Michael Walzer, Professor Emeritus at Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study, explains why anti-immigrant populism is more a European problem than an American one. “There is one decisive moment in American history – he says – which is not much written about, but which is very important and it sets up a contrast with Europe. That moment is the moment when the Anglo-American settlers, who thought that they were establishing an Anglo-American State, allowed themselves to become a minority in what they thought was their country. That happened in the course of the Nineteenth century, with a lot of resistance, resentment, nativist movements, hostility to immigrants, but it happened. And, instead of America becoming an Anglo-American nation-state, America became what Horace Kallen called ‘nation of nationalities’ without a majority nation and with an ongoing immigration. That moment is not going to be repeated in Europe.”Watch Part 2 of this video

IT Resetdoc Video (Part 1)

The new markets of religion

Olivier Roy

«We have now a global religious market. People convert to any kind of religion, whatever their own cultural background – says Olivier Roy, French scholar of Islam, in this Resetdoc interview – It works, because these religions are now deculturalized religions, they have explicitily have cut the links with specific cultures. We can speak of McDonald's religions: they sell the same product anywhere in the world, they don't care to adapt to local cultures.»

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Tunisia’s Democratic Transition: Open Challenges

Four years after the “Jasmin Revolution” in Tunisia and in the wake of the Nobel Peace Prize 2015 awarded to the Tunisian civil society, there is still the need to understand the deep causes and challenges of this exceptional success story in the Arab world. Tunisian scholars and activists interviewed by Reset-Doc analyze the key events and features of their country democratic transition, trying to provide answers to the many questions and problems still open today with regards to economy, youth, social justice and inequalities. 

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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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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Cultural Pluralism: Why the Congregational Model Works

Michael Walzer, Institute for Advanced Study (Part 2)

Michael Walzer, from Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, explains why cultural pluralism and the congregational model have helped integration and accommodation of religious differences in the USA. Italian or Irish Christians, Jews or Black Baptists are those who have built institutions, hospitals and who join in culture. Professor Walzer explains that according to sociologists “that process has begun with American Islam. That is the ‘protestantization’ of the mosque, or the turning of the mosque into an American congregation, with the men’s club, the ladies auxiliary and all the paraphernalia of an American protestant congregation. That hasn’t happened in Europe. The congregational model – even if each one has his own adaptation of that model – has been enormously helpful in the accommodation of religious difference in the United States and I think that is perhaps the biggest reason why Islam in America is very different from Islam in Europe.”Watch Part 1 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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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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