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

Living Together: Pluralism, Freedom of Expression and Offence

Peter Ronald deSouza, IC4HD

“I think that scholars, both in India and in Europe, need to map the trajectory from irreverence to offence. There is a culture of irreverence, and this culture emerges from skepticism, from play, from a little bit of mischief..and gradually, as it develops, we find groups responding to that culture. Some accept it, some enjoy it, some are offended by it. Therefore, I think it is important – as a first exercise for both societies, the Indian and the European, which are in transformation, learning to live with diversity and pluralism – to map these different forms: irreverence, iconoclasm and then offence. Once you map that, you understand what are the elements of irreverence and iconoclasm which produce the offence. The production of this offence has two sides: it can emerge from the contents of what is said, from a film, a cartoon or a painting…and in can emerge from the perception of a group, so it is both content and perception. Very often the perception is produced by political groups, and here politics enters the production of perception. The production of that perception often produces an experience or an expression of offence, although the offence may not be intended and although it may be a very creative act,” explains professor Peter Ronald deSouza, now serving as the interim Director of the International Centre for Human Development in Delhi, India. We have interviewed professor de Souza during our Venice-Delhi Seminars 2012 held at the Giorgio Cini Foundation in Venice and the topic of this interview has inspired the subject of our 2013 Seminar held in New Delhi: “Religious Pluralism: Freedom and Diversity, Blasphemy and Respect.”

More about the Venice-Delhi Seminars 2013

Read the proceedings of our 2012 Seminar


Interview: Nicola Missaglia
Filmmaker: Ruben Lagattolla


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