Towards a Cosmopolitan Culture? (2003)

The Engelsberg Seminar 2003

June 13th to 15th, 2003 at Avesta Manor, Sweden

Europe in recent decades has been increasingly characterised by an ethnic and cultural diversity with a growing non-European element. The conflicts and problems arising in this connection are perhaps to be viewed as a species of teething trouble on the road to a fruitful hybrid culture. Coupled with a growth of socio-economic stratification, they can also mark the beginning of a profound fragmentation whereby ethnic subcultures, instead of being integrated with European societies, reject the values and norms of the dominant culture. There are fears of such a society becoming characterised by strong suspicion and hostility, a “conflict of civilisations” in the everyday context. The trend towards even greater ethnic and cultural diversity in Europe seems inevitable in the century that lies ahead of us. The European population is ageing steadily, and all the indications are that its low nativity will have to be made up for by means of large-scale immigration. What will it take for this kind of Europe to become a smoothrunning society? What demands will be made on European societies and on people migrating to them? On what philosophical and political foundations is such a society to rest? What, for example, will be the role of religion? Will a cosmopolitan culture arise as a consequence of generation changes, with new generations becoming less and less tied to their ethnic identity and adopting a global culture and lifestyle? Or will separate identities flourish but prove less of a problem than expected; perhaps the fear of them is just a legacy from the homogenisation ideals of modernism? There are perhaps important lessons to be learned for the future by studying the situation in present-day Europe. Different countries – France, Britain and Germany, to take just a few examples – have adopted different standpoints on immigration, and comparisons between them could provide important clues for what a future policy might bring, and what can Europe learn from the United States, with its long tradition of being a melting pot?


Cosmopolitan Cultures in a Comparative Perspective

Philip Bobbitt
Professor, Texas University, School of Law
Lecture: Sovereignty and Identity in a Historical Perspective

Ingvild Saelid Gilhus
Professor, University of Bergen, Dept. of Religious Studies
Lecture: The Role of Religion in Cosmopolitan Culture

Richard Swartz
Author and Journalist
Lecture: Historical Experience of European Cosmopolitanism – The Habsburg Empire and the Fall of Yugoslavia

Zygmunt Bauman
Professor, University of Leeds and Warsaw, Dept. of Sociology
Lecture: When Strangers Meet Strangers – The Challenges of Cosmopolitanism


Europe vs. America – Diversity within Unity?

Nathan Glazer
Professor, Harvard University, Dept. of Sociology
Lecture: The Reality of Multiculturalism in America

Russell Jacoby
Professor, UCLA, Dept. of History
Lecture: The Myth of Multiculturalism

David Goodhart
Editor-in-Chief, Prospect Magazine
Lecture: Solidarity and Diversity: The Progressive Dilemma

Norman Birnbaum
Professor, Georgetown University Law Center
Lecture: USA and Europe – The Identity Divide


The Pressures of Pluralism

Catherine Audard
Doctor, London School of Economics, Forum of European Philosophy
Lecture: Multicultural Citizenship and the Politics of Recognition – The Case of France

Michael Bommes
Professor, University of Osnabrück, Institute of Migration Research and Intercultural Studies
Lecture: German Identity and Ethnic Diversity

Jytte Klausen
Professor, Brandeis University, Dept. of Politics
Lecture: Euro-Muslims: Rejection and Belonging

Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Member of Parliament, Volkspartij Voor Vrijheid en Democratie, Holland
Lecture: The Case of Holland


Cosmopolitan Culture

Elazar Barkan
Professor, Claremont Graduate University, Dept. of History and Cultural Studies
Lecture: Historical Crimes and National Identity

Adam Kuper
Professor, Brunel University, Dept. of Human Sciences
Lecture: The Culture of Discrimination: Reflections on Multiculturalism

Kenan Malik
Author and Journalist
Lecture: Multiculturalism and Individual Freedom

Christopher Hitchens
Author and Journalist
Lecture: Should the World Become American?