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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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It is possible to participate in a brutal event – such as gang rape, lynching, an ethnic cleansing operation – or in a humanitarian event – fund raising, collective adoption, sacrificing oneself in an exchange of prisoners..

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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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The word began to be used at the end of the Eighties in the United States to indicate an ideal society in which various cultures could co-exist with reciprocal respect, but avoiding all domination and assimilation into the dominant culture..

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A month of ideas.
Giancarlo Bosetti Editor-in-chief
Association for dialogue and intercultural understanding
Resetdoc Videos
IT Monday, 4 February 2013

Middle Eastern Turmoil: Between Spontaneity and Organization

Avishai Margalit

Many are now wondering whether organized forces in Cairo will take over the revolution, as happened a century ago when the Bolshevik fringe of Russian revolutionaries took hostage the spontaneous and plural movements, imposing its own purposes and ideology. Is this fear justified? Does this comparison with the October Revolution make sense? What instead remains of the wave of protests that swept across Israel in the summer of 2011? There too the better organised and conservative forces seem to have got the better of the spontaneity of those movements. Is it after all possible to envisage serious change without organisation? At the Istanbul Seminars held by Reset-Dialogues, in May 2012, we posed these questions to Israeli philosopher Avishai Margalit.

An interview by Nina zu Fürstenberg

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