By M. Sassatelli
During this major intervention into the tutorial and institutional debate on ecu cultural identification, Monica Sassatelli examines the identity-building intentions and results of the ecu Capital of tradition programme, and in addition seems on the paintings of the Council of Europe and the recent ecu panorama conference.
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Extra resources for Becoming Europeans: Cultural Identity and Cultural Policies
Rejecting both Eurocentrism and anti-Eurocentrism, monopolistic uniﬁcation as well as dispersion, Derrida (building on Karl Marx, Edmund Husserl and Paul Valéry) sees Europe’s speciﬁcity in being constituted by its other (Derrida, 1991; see also Ricoeur, 1990; Habermas and Derrida, 2003). Or, to put it differently, Europe can ﬁnd itself not in a given cultural content, but in its ‘eccentricity’, in its transformative ability, the ability to transform both itself and what it encounters to produce an always dynamic cultural form that is not challenged, but nurtured by its containing of alterity and derivativeness (Brague, 2002).
Continuing an older philosophical tradition, this position evokes Gadamer’s claim that it is the dialectic of several dimensions and expressions of human creativity that characterizes Europe and its predisposition to harbour diversity within itself (Gadamer, 1985). In considering these alternative views it is important to note that among the founding fathers of sociology possibly the most relevant approach may be that of Georg Simmel, until the 1980s much neglected and since then progressively rediscovered.
3 Unity in diversity As we have seen, approaches presented thus far – stressing their contrasts for the sake of analysis – soon face theoretical as well as empirical contradictions, both as models of cultural identity and as support for theories of integration. This is true both for the older, purer versions and for the attempts to renew them, considering the contemporary challenges to collective identities, applying respectively theories of cultural globalization – where the unity of European culture would be part of a more global process – or those, on the contrary, stressing phenomena of re-emergent nationalisms.
Becoming Europeans: Cultural Identity and Cultural Policies by M. Sassatelli