Rethinking Cultural Diversity in Europe: Beyond Universalism and Particularism

Kuvaus

“Rethinking the Cultural Diversity in Europe: Beyond Universalism and Particularism” is a research project in political theory and philosophy aiming at a thorough theoretical critique of the prevailing opposition of universalism and multiculturalism and at a new articulation of the contemporary community. We are a group of political theorists and philosophers, and we combine expertise in history of ideas and philosophy, modern and contemporary political theory, and contemporary philosophy.

Europe has always been an amalgam of different cultures. Today, however, this cultural diversity has come increasingly to the fore. There have been many reasons for this. Christianity has lost its hegemonic power as the unifying element of European diversity, not only because of secularization but also because of the increasing visibility of Islam in Europe. In the meantime the enlargement of the European Union has entailed and will entail in future a growing diversification of the European culture. It seems to us, however, that the theoretical debate on the cultural diversity of Europe has made few advances in recent years: the respective positions are fixed in immobile oppositions (universalism-multiculturalism) and the same diagnostics circulate without leading to any new articulations. Therefore, we propose to critically re-engage with the fundamental presuppositions of the debate on cultural diversity in the contemporary Europe and its relation to the heritage of European universalism. The point of departure of our project is our shared conception that the dichotomy between multiculturalism and universalism is increasingly obsolete. It has not only prevented new theoretical innovations to emerge but has also paved the way for paralysis of the political construction of the European Union. Each of us has different ways of addressing and approaching this question, but the task is common: to develop a theory of political community that would surpass the deadlocks of contemporary theoretical debate revolving around universalism and multiculturalism, that is to say, a theory of community that would not exclude differences in the name of homogenous One but that would not glorify difference between cultures and identities as such either. We believe, especially, that there is urgent necessity to re-examine the category of universality: instead of thinking universality as a category that surpasses particular cultures and identities, it should be understood as a process or an event in which these cultures and identities are exposed to each other in the way that renders the exclusive function of identity inoperative: hospitality (Lindberg), becoming “whosoever” (Ojakangas), and community of singularities (Prozorov). The theoretical approach of the project relies especially on continental political theory as it has been recently developed by such authors as Giorgio Agamben, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jacques Derrida, Jacques Rancière, Alain Badiou, and others. The aim of the project is not just to develop new interpretations of these authors but first and foremost to develop a theory that would meet the challenges of contemporary multicultural European society by drawing on the basic conceptual constellations that these authors have established in their work.

The research project is strongly linked to the previous research carried out by the members of the group during the last ten years. The project will cooperate with various partners and research groups both in Finland and abroad. Research results will be disseminated through papers presented in international conferences and proposed to high-quality international peer-reviewed journals. Each member of the group also projects to publish a book. We also intend to organize three international conferences and two conference sections. During the project period 2010 to 2012 research results will be disseminated through papers presented in international conferences and proposed to high-quality international peer-reviewed journals. Each member of the group also projects to publish a book. We also intend to organize three international conferences and two conference sections.
TilaKäynnissä
Todellinen alku/loppupvm01/01/2010 → …